Presentation – The Role of Continuous Cover Forestry in the Forests of Northern England


Graham Gill
Forest Management Director
North England Forest District
Forestry Commission England


Graham gained a degree in Ecological Science from Edinburgh University in 1975 and joined the Forestry Commission in the same year. He has managed forests around Inverness, worked as a conifer tree breeder, and headed up the Commission’s Environment Branch at a time when the environmental guidelines were being introduced. He is a founder member of the Continuous Cover Forestry Group and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Foresters. For the past two years, he has been Forest Manager for FC forests across the north of England, and for the previous 17 years, manager for FC forests in the north east, including Kielder Forest. He has a keen interest in developing techniques for introducing continuous cover silviculture on the margins of upland spruce forests.

Synopsis of Presentation:

Continuous cover forestry (CCF) is an approach to forest management that results in the development of diverse forests with a range of different structures and often a variety of species. A range of silvicultural systems is included under the broad heading of CCF, a key feature being that, unlike clearfelling systems, tree canopy cover is never totally removed.

CCF is not an end in itself but a means of delivering management objectives where site and species are suitable for its use. Some of the advantages and disadvantages of CCF compared to clearfelling will be discussed illustrated by examples from north of England forests.

Many claims are made for the sustainability and resilience of CCF systems, yet we have relatively little experience of their use in the UK. Much of our information comes from continental Europe where species, soils, climate and light regime are different. It is important that claims are tested and that our understanding of the benefits is based on sound science. We need to build on the experience we have, gain more experience and learn from it. This conference is an excellent opportunity for separating fact from fiction, for finding out what is known about CCF systems in the UK and what we have yet to learn.

Conference Resource:

  • Download/View Graham Gill’s Presentation   [PDF, 8.5 MB]

Websites and References:

  1. Matthews, J D (1989) Silvicultural Systems, Clarendon Press, Oxford