Northern Forest | Images of Silviculture

Maturing fir cones, 2013 | Photo: E. R. Wilson

This page contains a selection of images from research projects, field trips and explorations in temperate and boreal (northern) forests. The aim is to present impressions of the structure and dynamic processes in forest ecosystems. Trees and natural woodlands often make fantastic subjects for photography. The gallery also showcases well-managed woodlands that, in their own way, can be quite beautiful. 

Image use: Requests to use photographs for educational and non-commercial purposes are welcome. For further information and permission to use images, please make contact here. Unless otherwise stated, all images are copyright Edward R. Wilson/Silviculture Research International. Where images are used in presentations or publications, please include the citation “Photo: E. R. Wilson/Silviculture Research International“.

Technical note: Most of the images here, and on this website, were taken with the following cameras: Nikon F80 (SLR), Nikon F100 (SLR), Nikon D3100 (DSLR). Lenses include a range of fixed focal length and zoom models by Nikon and Sigma. As a back-up, I also use a now-dated Canon Digital Ixus 70, which still gives good results.

My favourite kit is the F100 with a “standard” Nikon 50 mm lens. For many years, I almost exclusively used a range of slide (colour positive) films, favouring Agfa RSX 100 (Agfa Precisa 100/200 as a fall-back). More recently, since the demise of Agfa, I have switched to Kodak print (colour negative) film. I especially enjoy the budget Color Plus 200 film, which produces a slightly grainy and “retro” image. Films are processed and scanned to compact disk, and from there the images are transferred to desktop computer for editing. 

GALLERIES: Gallery 01: Baronscourt | Gallery 02: Clora | Gallery 03: Devil’s Glen | Gallery 04: Penrith Area | Gallery 05: Loch Vaa Area | Gallery 06: Vale of Clara | Gallery 07: Darnaway | Gallery 08: Carrigshouk



Baronscourt Estate, Northern Ireland | 03 06 2019

Baronscourt Estate is a recognised leader in Continuous Cover Forestry in the UK and Ireland, having adopted this approach in 2001. The estate includes approximately 1400 ha of woodland. From 1921, the majority of the woodland was on long-term lease to the Northern Ireland Forest Service. The Forest Service established large areas of Sitka spruce plantations to be managed on the clear-fell system. In recent years, the estate has been taking back control of the woodland as the leasing arrangement expires. By 2024, following felling of the final stands established by the Forest Service, all the of woodland will return to control and management by the estate. The CCF policy is being extended as the leased woodland comes back in hand.

Skill and experience in all aspects of CCF has been developed over the years. Some areas that have been clear-felled are demonstrating significant natural regeneration; this will form the basis of the transformation process, once the stands reach the point where thinning can be initiated. Other, more advanced areas are already developing an irregular structure, with significant natural regeneration now evident in the understorey. Production continues across the estate on a 4-year thinning cycle, ensuring a continuous output of timber. Conservation, habitat and amenity values are significantly enhanced due to the emerging structural diversity of the forest. Photos: Digital. 

Top of Page


Clora, County Wicklow | 28 05 2019

This fine woodland in Wicklow is being managed on CCF principles. There are many vegetation types and stands from low to higher elevations, and on a range of soils. As thinning and small-coupe felling progresses, there is a proliferation of regeneration in the understorey. Among the species present are Scots pine, western hemlock, Douglas fir, noble fir, grand fir, European silver fir, western red cedar, larch and a full suite of native broadleaf tree species. Photos: Digital. 

Top of Page


Devil’s Glen Woods, County Wicklow | 28 05 2019

This beautiful woodland covers the slopes of the Vantry valley near the village of Ashford, County Wicklow. This is one of the most wooded valleys in Ireland and contains a range of ecosystems and vegetation types, including an important native oak woodland. The woods to the west of the river (left of the photos) are owned by Coillte; to the east (right) by the Tottenham Estate. More information is here. Photos: Digital. 

Top of Page


Penrith, Cumbria | 09 2015

These pictures were taken in two woodlands near Penrith, Cumbria during summer 2015. They show natural regeneration of different species in a range of canopy gaps. At the Beacon Wood, the dominant species is Scots pine. At Lowther Wood, the dominant species is western hemlock. Photos: Agfa Precisa 100 slide film, scanned, edited.  

Top of Page


Loch Vaa, Cairngorms, Scotland | 08 2014

This pinewood is situated close to Loch Vaa, near the villages of Aviemore and Boat of Garten, Inverness-shire, Scotland. This stand is in the heart of Strathspey, where there are extensive areas of natural and planted pinewood, including the forests of Glenmore, Rothiemurchus, Abernethy and others. The pictures here demonstrate the silvicultural possibilities for managing Scots pine on an irregular shelterwood system, with profuse natural regeneration occurring in response to large canopy gap creation, mineral soil exposure for seed germination and the maintenance of good seed trees. Several interventions have taken place at intervals over 10-20 years leading to areas of more or less advanced regeneration, giving the forest a more natural appearance and diverse structure. In wet areas and hollows a range of other species are present, including birch, alder and associated understorey plants. Standing deadwood and coarse woody debris have been maintained for biodiversity conservation and habitat. Photos: Agfa RSX 100 slide film, scanned, edited.  

Top of Page 


Vale of Clara, County Wicklow | 18 05 2019

The Vale of Clara, in County Wicklow, is among the more densely wooded valleys in Ireland. There are many fine examples of Continuous Cover Forestry (CCF). The images here are from one of the most advanced woodlands, with a history of active CCF management over the past 15 years. The transformation to irregular structure is well underway. The dominant species is Douglas fir, but in the understorey there is a mix of at least 12 conifer and broadleaf species. Photos: Digital.

Top of Page 


Darnaway Forest, Morayshire, Scotland | 01 2019

Darnaway Forest is one of the best-known private woodlands in Scotland. It has been part of the Moray Estates for many centuries and has a management history stretching back to the dawn of scientific forestry. Many innovations in Scottish forestry practice were trialed and tested here. The legacy of careful past management is an expansive and diverse forest that generates a range of outputs, including high quality Douglas fir for local sawmills. The images here were taken in just one stand, close to the Darnaway estate sawmill, where continuous cover forestry is being applied to effect a transformation to irregular structure; stand management makes full use of the ecological properties and potential of this important species. There are some very good individual stems, now reaching optimum size for harvest, and also some very healthy patches of advanced natural regeneration. Although Douglas fir is the primary species within the stand, a number of other species make up the mix and are advancing into the future stand canopy. More on Moray Estates Woodlands here. Photos: Kodak ColorPlus 200 film, scanned, edited.

Top of Page 


Carrigshouk Hill, County Wicklow, Ireland | 02 08 2019

This remarkable stand of trees is located high in the Wicklow Mountains, near Sally Gap. The stand is mostly composed of Scots pine and European larch. The trees are of a considerable age; the management history is unclear but it is certainly a plantation that has extended far beyond its intended rotation length. The varied form and condition of the trees is beneficial for wildlife. There is a well-developed understorey, complete with regenerating seedlings and saplings, and coarse woody debris. Photos: Digital.

 Top of Page

GALLERIES: Gallery 01: Baronscourt | Gallery 02: Clora | Gallery 03: Devil’s Glen | Gallery 04: Penrith Area | Gallery 05: Loch Vaa Area | Gallery 06: Vale of Clara | Gallery 07: Darnaway | Gallery 08: Carrigshouk

Silviculture Research International - HOME