Frequently Asked Questions
What is a harvest operation?
A harvest operation is when the thinning of a forest or clearfell is carried out. There are many variables that deem a forest eligible for an operation to be carried out. Staff at Euroforest Ireland can advise forest owners on the most suitable operation for their forest.
Why carry out a thinning?
The main purpose of carrying out a thinning is to remove the weaker trees, by doing this it will give the stronger trees more room to grow. In carrying out a thinning you are increasing the forests likelihood of producing pallet and sawlog at clearfell, which traditionally have provided the most value at market.
The first thinning operation in conifer crops normally involves removing lines of trees to get access into the crop. Normally one line in seven is completely removed and inferior trees are selected for cutting out of the remaining lines.
When should I carry out a thinning?
The time to thin a forest can vary greatly on age, ground conditions, location, exposure and tree height. These can only be assessed by a forester during a site visit.
Typically, in Ireland, a forest operation would generally be when the forest is between 12 and 15 years old, however this can vary from forest to forest.
It is advisable to plan at least two years in advance of first thinning, this will allow time for the appropriate paperwork to go through the necessary channels.
What will I need to carry out a thinning or clearfell?
There are several moving parts during a thinning or clearfell operation, however listed below are the essential licences and infrastructure the forest owner will need to carry out a harvest operation
What is a felling licence?
A felling licence is the proof of permission granted by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine and provides authority under the Forestry Act 2014 to fell or otherwise remove a tree or trees and to thin or clearfell a forest for silvicultural reasons.
Without a felling licence it is illegal to cut trees. The licence is granted at the Forest Service’s discretion.
There are two types of felling licences
Useful link: https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/forestservice/treefelling/treefelling/
Are Euroforest Ireland and their contractors insured?
All Euroforest employees are insured as well as the contractors we use. Our contractors also have undertaken the relevant courses related to their harvest operations, such as, chainsaw certificates, First Aid and safe pass.
Where does my timber go? And what is it used for?
There are a range of outlets for the different categories of timber that are cut during a harvest operation. As Euroforest has no affiliation to any of the timber processors, we can market the timber for the best price and sell to the highest bidder. The categories command different prices at market, with pulpwood, traditionally being the lowest value category. Shown below are the different grades of timber cut during harvesting operations and what each category is used for:-
Value of timber?
Each timber grade will command a different price at market with pulpwood, traditionally being the lowest value category.
Usually the greatest outgoing cost to a forest owner are typically the costs of harvesting and haulage. Haulage rates can account from 25% to 40% of a harvest operation
Should I carry out a thinning on my hardwoods?
If eligible a forest owner should try to carry out a thinning on both hard and softwoods.
When carrying out a hardwood thinning the forest owner is eligible for a grant called the woodland improvement scheme, the aim of the scheme is to stimulate investment in the improvement, protection and development of young broadleaf forests for a range of functions, including:
Further information of the scheme can be found in the following link: https://www.teagasc.ie/media/website/crops/forestry/grants/WoodlandImprovementSchemeEd2190315.pdf
Is my forest suitable for thinning?
Not every forest is suitable for a thinning operation, certain forests may be deemed unsuitable for thinning due to the following:
Useful link: https://www.teagasc.ie/media/website/crops/forestry/advice/teagasc_thinning_10.pdf
Am I entitled for a forest road?
The forest service has seen the importance of timber mobilization and are offering a forest road grant for forests that are suitable for a harvesting operation within 5 years. The Forest Service provides grant aid up to 20 metres per ha at a rate of €40 per linear metre.
The Forest Service provide payment in full after the forest roads form two has been submitted. After the forest service inspector has deemed the forest road acceptable, the Forest Service will reimburse the forest owner with the cost of the road.