Permanent forest management

Initial survey conducted in 2021 by forester/ecologist Manus Crowley

Manus Crowley tree-marking

As requested, a site survey and woodland evaluation was carried out on Drummin Bog, Co. Carlow. Furthermore, I have reviewed the Habitat and Ecotype survey and report document as prepared by the ecologist Fiona McGowan.

As the site is being leased it is necessary to get approval from the local Coillte forester and
ecologists. I have engaged with both in relation to the future management of the site.

Following this assessment, I am proposing the following forest management plan for the woodlands adjacent to Drummin bog:

Continuous Cover Forestry

Much of the mixed woodland and bog woodland will be managed under a continuous cover forestry system. This system allows the retention of forest cover while developing the woodland and enhancing the biodiversity within. Through a combination of crown thinning, halo thinning and small coupe clearance (with enrichment planting of native species) the structural and species diversity of the woodlands will continue to develop.

Due to the sensitivities of the site it is envisaged that much of this work will be carried out by skilled chainsaw operatives. And all operations will be limited to suitable periods of weather to reduce impacts to the ground and reduce sedimentation/siltation of watercourses throughout.

Prior to any felling works a forester will carry out a walkover of the woodlands and mark which trees are to be removed. Trees of importance (for biodiversity or future timber trees) will be marked out appropriately for retention. In the initial operations there may be an opportunity to harvest some of the timber produced for firewood but equally important will be the creation of deadwood and standing deadwood that is vital to a functioning woodland system. Over the longer term some selection of trees will focus on developing high quality timber trees particularly of oak where present.

Conifer Conversion

A slightly different approach will be adopted in the areas of old coniferous woodland to the west of the site. Continuous cover forestry (CCF) techniques will be difficult in these areas. There can be significant issues with windblow when attempting to convert older stands of woodland.

As a result, it will be necessary to fell these areas and reinstate a more appropriate native woodland type. These areas will be reinstated as mixture of native species of oak, birch, hazel, Scots pine and associated minor species of whitethorn, rowan, spindle, holly, guelder rose and crab apple.

Felling Licence

The first stage in this process is to apply to the Forest Service for a felling licence. This document will be prepared by myself and submitted along with the associated maps and harvest and reforestation plans for the site. The application may be referred to the ecology unit of the Forest Service due to the sensitivities of the site and potential impacts to European/Natura sites such as the River Barrow and River Nore SAC (ca.1.2km downstream). I have already initiated the felling licence preparation process (following consultation with Coillte).

Native Woodland Conservation Scheme

The second stage will be to make an application to the Forest Service under the Native Woodland Conservation Scheme. This is a grant scheme for forestry works that develop and enhance native woodland sites. The application must be prepared by both a native woodland forester and native woodland ecologist. The application will be reviewed by the local Forest Service inspector and also the ecology unit of the Forest Service. Once the application is approved we will have support funding in place to assist with implementing the works as described.