Author Archive

Speaker:

Bill Mason

Bill Mason
CCFG Chairman
And Senior Silviculturist (Emeritus)
Forest Research
NRS, Roslin
Midlothian, EH25 9SY
Website: www.forestry.gov.uk/fr/billmason

Biography:

After four years as a forest manager, since 1982 I have been a silvicultural researcher based at the Northern Research Station near Edinburgh. After a period working on nursery production systems, my interests widened to cover many aspects of the silviculture of conifer forests in upland Britain, including transformation to more diverse and irregular structures. Current activity includes analysis of the evidence for the wider use of mixed species stands in British forests. I have been a member of CCFG since the early 1990s and attempt to put CCF into practice in family woodlands in central England.


Synopsis of Presentation:

The conference included site visits to 2 local forests: Thirlmere Forest which is owned by United Utilities plc, and Wythop Wood, managed by the Forestry Commission. At each location delegates followed a circuit which included 4 stops where presentations were given (see programme).

In the final plenary session Bill Mason presented a summary of the key points raised at each stop.


Conference Resource:

  • Download/View Bill Mason’s Presentation  [PDF, 800 KB]

Appendix:

  1. The AFI Network and Protocol: developing an International Framework to monitor CCF in Great Britain and Ireland. Notes from the presentation given by Phil Morgan (President, Pro Silva) and Mark and Sharon Rodhouse (Sylvatic Ltd) at Stop 3, Thirlmere Forest. Link to PDF  [PDF, 5.1 MB]

      Thirlmere

  2. Thirlmere Forest – Continuous Cover Demonstration Site Guide. Link to PDF  [PDF, 3.3 MB]
  3. Wythop Forest – Continuous Cover Demonstration Site Guide. Link to PDF  [PDF, 3.8 MB]


Speaker:

Phil Morgan

Phil Morgan
President of Pro Silva
Plas y Wenalt
Llanafan
Aberystwyth, SY23 4AX
Website: www.selectfor.com

Biography:

Philippe Morgan is President of Pro Silva and Vice-president of the Association Futaie Irrégulière. He has a wide range of work and travelling experience from South East Asia to Europe and North America. He manages forests in Wales for a living and also works as a consultant in France and in Ireland. He is a Director of SelectFor, specialists in continuous cover forest management, developing an international network of CCF research stands and training plots across Britain and Ireland.


Conference Resource:



Dr. Scott McG Wilson’s recent report ‘An Independent Review of Adpotion of Alternative Silvicultural Systems (ATC) in Britain’ can be viewed on the CCFG website. The report was funded by the Scottish Forest Trust and the Forestry Commission, but it is an independent study and the views expressed are those of the author. This comprehensive report includes a register of examples of CCF (called ATC in the report) throughout Britain, 30 of which have been worked up into case studies. It also investigates the challenges and issues which are hampering the wider adoption of CCF/ATC in British forests. It concludes with recommendations which cover: 1. More vigorous promotoion of CCF by FC, universities, voluntary groups and professional advisers so that forest managers are more aware of the benefits, and are encouraged to adopt CCF. 2. A need for more demonstration sites and from a wide range of contexts (location, forest composition, ownership), and the development and use of more consistent inventory and monitoring methods. 3. Grant schemes which enable and encourage the adoption of CCF. 4. Continued R & D support at both the national and regional scale with a greater emphasis on the operational and economic aspects. 5. Support and encouragement for providers of more suitable, lighter machinery, e.g. machinery rings. Also, a concerted effort to develop markets and processes which make use of timber of mixed sizes and species. 6. More CPD and in-service training courses that are relevant to CCF.

We are pleased to announce that Bill Mason was elected Chairman of the Continuous Cover Forestry Group at the AGM on 2nd May, 2012. He takes over from Phil Morgan who resigned to take up the prestigious position of President of ProSilva Europe.

Bill has been the chair of the Scottish committee of CCFG for the last four years and has extensive experience of continuous cover silviculture through his work as a silvicultural researcher with the Forestry Commission. In addition, he has gained practical experience of implementing continuous cover forestry over several decades of managing the family woodlands in Nottinghamshire.

This new book, first published in France in 2010, is now available in English. The book presents the approach to irregular silviculture developed by a group of leading French foresters and the network of research stands they have developed to monitor this type of silviculture. The network was established twenty years ago and has now collected data over fifteen years that detail the biological, economic and environmental development of stands spanning the range of species mixtures and regions across France. The network has expanded further with research stands in England, Belgium, Luxemburg and Ireland. Five new research stands in Ireland will be set up before the next growing season and plans for further espansion in Wales are underway. Download brochure or Place an Order

The Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development with responsibility for forestry in Wales, John Griffiths AM, planted a Welsh oak last Thursday to illustrate the principle of carbon sequestration and the benefit in planting new trees in Wales to capture atmospheric carbon and turn it into useful material for substitution; all this being done simply by photosynthesis using the sun’s energy.

The occasion was one of the three annual meetings of the Woodland Strategy Advisory Panel (WSAP) where our chairman, Phil Morgan, represents the group.

Water, another important ingredient required to oil the wheels of sequestration, was in such overabundance on the day that the photo opportunities pointed to reasons why our new thirst for sequestration in Wales has taken so much urgency.

What we do with our forests when we have planted the 100,000 hectares we plan to establish over the next 20 years is in question. And even more importantly what do we do with the ones we already have? We already have 303,500 hectares of woods and forests or about 14.3% of the land in Wales. Tree planting has very definite limits; additionality cannot be toped when we have reached the point of optimal land-use potential or equilibrium. There is only a very limited amount of land still to be planted with trees in Wales for additional sequestration so there may be more value in concentrating on improving the established resource. This drive for new planting may be a convenient distraction being promoted by a profession struggling to wean itself from a culture of controlling species and production cycles. Very encouragingly there were real signs during the visit to a move towards integrated systems where we gain benefits from using natural processes. There is definitely a desire to explore ways to adopt close to nature forest principles so that we grow better timber more cost effectively and provide the sort of environmental safeguards that will mitigate the effects of the rains that nearly washed the Minister away, while also increasing niche spaces for wildlife to develop greater complexity and increasing our carbon storage capacities.

Convincing a profession such as foresters that change is a good thing is hard enough. It is a different issue when convincing the public because they are the owners of the forest and are not concerned with the technical arguments their managers can argue endlessly about. Conveying the right image is all important, and if that message is wrong, it can undo the best of plans. So, if we want to make an argument for forests being guardians of carbon, we have to be clear about what we are saying and to convey the idea in the best possible way. Somehow “come and see our carbon clearfell” or “come, let me show you how we clearfell the carbon” does not go down too well at all. However, “come walk with me in our forest which is here for ever and see how the trees produce the wood to build and heat your homes and are homes for wildlife and how they keep our rivers clean” is much better but much too long and sounds like a cracked record… “Come to the Carbon Forest” has the right ring to it.

CCFG Cymru held a very successful field meeting at Coed Bryn Arau Duon in Wales attended by over 20 people from all over Britain. Phil Morgan and Huw Denman have managed the forest for 10 years and have gradually changed the even-aged plantation into a stable forest with developing irregular stands. By concentrating their efforts on continuous quality improvement to the infrastructure and to the growing stock they have shown that transformation is an economically viable option which will lead to increasing benefits as the forest matures. Very useful and constructive discussion took place; some devil’s advocates provided a contrast between toilet-paper plantations, to satisfy large scale markets, and quality woodlands managed for integrated multiple benefits. The rationale for cost effective support for transformation from public funds was demonstrated through the work to the forest during the course of the visit. The meeting was attended by woodland owners, managers, timber buyers, students, The Woodland Trust, The Forestry Commission in Wales and Forest Research.