CCFG will be hosting their next webinar – How can silvicultural systems help adapt forests to climate change? 

with Gary Kerr, Thursday 23rd November 2023 4-5pm

This online event is hosted by CCFG featuring Gary Kerr who will deliver a 30 minute presentation on this topic. This will be followed by a question and answer session for participants. 

The talk will describe the main silvicultural systems we can use to manage forests and give a personal view about their application in Britain. In addition, the talk will give a summary of a the main risks to forests from climate change, the possible impacts and the evidence base for how the use of continuous cover can help mitigate these risks. Finally, the talk will consider how best to communicate ‘how to do continuous cover’ to new audiences. Along the way Gary will be asking the audience some questions, so have a paper and pen handy and be honest with yourself when the answers are revealed!


Gary was the Principal Silviculturist for Forest Research until September 23. The main thrust of his work has been applied silvicultural research and this has led to over 50 papers in peer reviewed journals, 16 Forestry Commission publications and over 50 articles in professional publications communicating the results of research. For the last ten years his work has focussed on alternative approaches to management and continuous cover silviculture. He was the Editor-in-Chief of Forestry: An International Journal of Forest Research, published by Oxford University Press for 20 years. After retiring from Forest Research he divides his time between working as the Commissioning Editor for the Quarterly Journal of Forestry, Chairing the Scientific Advisory Board of the European Forest Institute and continuing his association with FR as a Research Fellow.


Following the first webinar of the 2023-24 season, which was well attended on 26th October with up to 140 people participating, a recording has now been made available on YouTube which you can view using this link. 

For more information you may also want to visit Arne’s website which includes details of his published books including a recent textbook on CCF. The chat from the webinar and questions included discussion of a recent paper published in Nature on the use of recycled wood:: 

CCFG will be hosting their next webinar – Coppice, Carbon and Catastrophes: The Joy and Pain of Managing for CCF in Our Times

with Arne Pommerening, Thursday 26th October 2023 4-5pm

This online event is hosted by CCFG featuring Arne Pommerening who will deliver a 30 minute presentation on this topic. This will be followed by a question and answer session for participants. 

Continuous Cover Forestry (CCF), i.e. forest management based on ecological principles, has been introduced to Ireland and the UK more than twenty years ago. Whilst in the early days identifying simple and robust methods of transforming plantations to woodlands with more complex structures were the primary concern, ongoing climate change and the recent energy crisis have added new challenges of managing for CCF. Many policymakers including the authors of the recent EU forest strategy and of associated recommendations proposed by the European Forest Institute see CCF as a major instrument for mitigating adverse effects of climate change. In this context, carbon forestry has become a major buzzword and a research field in its own right, however, it is still largely unknown how exactly existing woodlands should be managed for optimising carbon sequestration. Questions like “Is carbon forestry part of or a concept separate from CCF?” or “Can carbon forestry be carried out along with other management objectives or is a special focus required?” are hotly debated. Ongoing climate change and all its localised realisations such as spontaneous gales, droughts, floods and insect calamities can always bring the sudden end to any CCF woodland that we have transformed for many years with great effort. In that situation we may be left with little more than bare ground and methods are needed to establish new CCF woodlands from scratch. CCF from scratch may also include the use of coppice systems, particularly the use of coppice with standards and coppice selection systems. Such system can contribute to satisfying the current demand for sustainable energy whilst creating diverse habitats and providing high-quality timber at the same time.

Arne Pommerening is a professor at the Department of Forest Ecology and Management of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) at Umeå in Northern Sweden. For more than 20 years he has taught CCF to university classes in the UK, Switzerland and Sweden. Whilst working at Bangor University in Wales between 2000 and 2011, he contributed to the introduction of CCF in the UK and offered seminars in Ireland. Arne has recently published a textbook entitled “Continuous Cover Forestry – Theories, Concepts and Implementation” and he is currently involved in the introduction of CCF to Sweden.



This trail contains seven marked stops and has been designed for forest managers, owners, students and decision-makers to see the area and engage in a discussion about the adaptation actions being undertaken and insights from historical trials.

For more information on the trail please follow this link. 

CCFG is organising this visit in the south-east of England to provide members the opportunity to observe and discuss the methods used and species mixtures in each stop, for example, forest structure changes after tending operations. Also due to the time of the visit Autumn – a winterish forest view which is very different than visiting the site during summer. The differences in weather conditions should assist our understanding of climate change in the area, and its impact on the management of trees of varied sizes and ages. Which is highly relevant under the current climate change situation; for example, in the area there is evidence that species like Oak now comes into leaf nearly a month earlier than it did in the 1950s (

CCFG visit to Forest of Dean. We will be hosted by James Williams, the Forest of Dean Forester responsible for the areas visited. The day will be spent looking at a number of stands of Douglas fir being managed under various continuous cover systems and some underplanting of Corsican pine. Particular subjects for interest will be: changing contractor mindsets, dealing with deer and wild boar, and excessive Western hemlock regeneration. This day will be the opportunity for discussion on a wide range of sites managed under CCF in parts of one of England’s largest and oldest state forests.

We will meet at Beechenhurst, where there is a café and toilets. We’ll assemble by the café building and then drive in convoy in the least number of vehicles possible to the first site. Please note that there may be a charge for parking (TBC). Also, the postcode may take you to the Speech House Hotel. The what3words reference for the site is enchanted.groomed.sharper and the grid reference is SO614120. 

Please meet us at 9.30, ready to leave at 10.00. We will probably finish around 15.30-16.00. 

Please ensure you bring wet weather clothing suitable for the time of year, and a packed lunch/ drinks for the day. 

CCFG members last had a formal visit to Kielder in 2004 and a lot has happened since then in England’s largest forest This visit will be hosted by James Clark the forester responsible for all CCF and thinning operations in Kielder. We will be visiting a number of sites in the North Tyne valley where recent thinning has taken place for both visual reasons and to encourage natural regeneration. We will also be able to discuss the impacts of storm Arwen in 2021 on many of the previous areas where CCF management was being undertaken within the valley.

Meeting place: Kielder castle : Post code NE48 1ER (car park and toilet available here before the visit and at lunch time).

Meeting time: 09.30 (depart at 10.00 prompt in shared vehicles)

Expected finish 15.30-16.00

Lunch: Bring your own food and drink

Suitable all weather clothing and PPE (High vis top and helmet) essential (and the famous Kielder midge may still be joining us!)

If you have booked a place and later find you are unable to attend please contact Polly ( in case someone else is able to fill your place. 

To book your place, please use this link 

This year’s Scottish CCFG visit is to Trees for Life’s Dundreggan Rewilding Centre to look at the ideas and practices behind the work the organisation’s rewilding project. The 4,000ha estate comprises a mix of remnant Caledonian pine woodland and other native woodland including a significant amount of juniper, a new native woodland and open hill land. Trees for Life also have a native woodland nursery specialising in growing higher altitude species.

The visitor services team have arranged a day visit for us which will look at the nursery and the existing woodland. The challenges of establishing successful native species regeneration with deer pressures and competing vegetation will be a theme common to all foresters. We will be able to see over the native woodland planting but there will not be time to go into it. We will also have a chance to find out more about the approach of Trees for Life, discuss their approach to public engagement and awareness and not forgetting the lessons from the cultural landscape round about.

Trees for Life do make a charge for tours. CCFG will meet part of the cost for members.

To make a booking please use this link 



10.00am – 4.00pm

Please be ready to start at 10am. We will finish by 4pm at the latest.

If you need to be away before 4pm please let Polly know so that you can be on the nursery tour in the afternoon as this is close to the car park.

Meeting point is in the foyer inside the Centre


There will be a change for this visit which CCFG will partially cover leaving a charge of £15 for members (£5 for students) to be paid in advance. Non-members will be asked to pay the full per head cost of £27. 

Site conditions

The walk through the woodland is on a narrow, rough hill path rising to c300m, wet in places. Please wear suitable footwear and clothing. There are alternative lower level surface paths around the Centre if you are unable to do the hill walk which would be self guided.


As usual please ensure footwear is clean before coming on the visit. This is particularly important because of the nursery element.


There is plenty of parking at the Centre

There are also toilets at the centre


There is a café at the centre but bringing your own lunch is advised as the café is unlikely to be able to cope with a large demand at lunch time within the time we have allocated. However, it is open between 9.30 and 4.30 so if you arrive early or can stay on then coffee and cake can be purchased.

Booking arrangements

The numbers will be strictly capped to 40 as the tours can only accommodate a maximum of 20 people. We will split into 2 groups for 2 half day tours swapping over at lunch time. One tour looking at the Centre and the Nursery and the other walking in the woods. Places should be booked in advance and are allocated on a first come first serve basis.

If you book and are then unable to come please let Polly ( know so that the place can be reallocated.

Following the last webinar of the 2022-23 season, which was well attended on 29th June with up to 80 people participating, a recording has now been made available on YouTube which you can view using this link. 

Dr Andrew Cameron, who presented it, has also made available the references he used at the end of the presentation, which you can view here.

For those wishing to go into full detail, the chat file from the Zoom meeting is also available here. As a note, Charlie Taylor was a forester on the Tay District for many years and was involved in the management, while Andrew Cameron and Aberdeen University were carrying out the experiment. 

Pro Silva Annual Meeting – Ireland 2023 – press release

Transforming European forests and forest cultures in a changing world”

Foresters from across Europe will convene in Ireland this week for the 2023 Annual Meeting of Pro Silva, the organisation which promotes close-to-nature-forest management (CTNF).

Starting on 14th June, this year’s conference will be hosted by Pro Silva Ireland with support from the Government of Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. The three-day conference will focus on the theme of transforming forests and forest cultures in the rapidly changing world, highlighting the multiple benefits of CTNF for timber production and forest products, biodiversity conservation, climate adaptation, recreation and the provision of ecosystem services.

A range of forest types in County Wicklow will be visited as part of the conference, including native woodlands in Wicklow Mountains National Park, a young Sitka spruce plantation in Ballycullen undergoing transformation to a more diverse forest type, and mixed conifer forests in Cloragh and Knockrath that have been managed through CTNF for nearly 20 years. Ticknock Forest in County Dublin, a popular amenity which is being transformed to enhance its value for recreation and biodiversity will also be visited.

We’re at a crucial point in the evolution of sustainable forest management in Europe. Our forests are being subjected to multiple threats and challenges from the changing climate, the biodiversity crisis, increasing pests and diseases, lack of forest governance, forest abandonment, urban expansion to name just a few! Pro Silva members from 22 countries are looking forward to joining Pro Silva Ireland and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, as we strengthen our networks and share ideas on how to transform European forests in the changing world. In our 33 years of establishment, Pro Silva members are now busier than they’ve ever been! As the primary knowledge exchange hub for close-to-nature forest management, Pro Silva is now a key stakeholder in the development of forest policy in Europe, regularly working with the European Forest Institute, Forest Europe and the European Commission to help guide research, training and best practice in irregular silviculture. The increasing demands on our resources mean that we need to find ways to professionalise our organisation and maintain Pro Silva’s independent position on the promotion of close-to-nature forest management in Europe.’ Eckart Senitza, Chairman of Pro Silva.

Topics such as forest culture, research, education, training and practice will be explored by a range of speakers from UCD, Teagasc, Coillte, the Dublin Mountain Partnership and private sector foresters and ecologists with an interest in close-to-nature forest management. The conference will also host an in-forest panel discussion on the question “Can CCF serve industry, environment and people equally?”.

CTNF or continuous cover forestry (CCF) aims to retain a permanent forest cover while harvesting timber through regular thinning interventions, thus protecting forest soils, water and biodiversity. CCF aims to be both ecologically and economically sustainable as well as creating beautiful forests for people to enjoy.

Who we are

Pro Silva is a European organisation which promotes close to nature forestry and continuous cover forest systems. It was established in 1989 in Slovenia. At present there are 22 full members of the organisation and there are also several other countries with associate membership. Since 2018 we have associated members from the United States (Forest Stewards Guild, New England Forestry Foundation), from India (ForEco India), from Brazil (ACEF St. Catarina), from Kosovo (CNVP), New Zealand (Tane’s Tree Trust) and IFSA International Forest Students Association and hopefully this marks the beginning of the formation of a global network. More than 6.100 professionals and forest owners are involved in Pro Silva.

Pro Silva promotes its principles and concepts through a Europe wide program of silvicultural education involving seminars and excursions. Increasingly the members are also involved as partners in national or international research and networking projects. A European network of best practice demonstration forests is being developed.

Pro Silva Ireland is a registered charity with almost 200 members, made up of foresters, landowners, ecologists and other interested individuals. The organization regularly runs field days and training events for those interested in learning more about close to nature forestry practices.

Twitter @ProSilvaIreland

Facebook @ProSilvaIreland

For interviews contact:

Olive Leavy: +353-83-8855070

Jonathan Hulson (Continuous Cover Forestry Group, UK):  +44 7501657913

Images can be downloaded here:

CCFG will be hosting their next webinar – Developing permanent irregular forest structures: Lessons from Faskally Forest

with Andrew Cameron, Thursday 29th June 2023 4-5pm

This online event is hosted by CCFG featuring Andrew Cameron who will deliver a 30 minute presentation on this topic. This will be followed by a question and answer session for participants.

The Faskally Forest transformation was established in 1953 by Prof Mark Anderson of Edinburgh University with the aim of creating a permanent irregular forest based on European plenter stands. The original forest dates back to the early part of the twentieth century as a planted mixture of Norway spruce, Scots pine, European larch, Douglas fir, and European beech. At the start of the transformation in the 1950s, gaps created in the canopy were established using a combination of natural regeneration and planting of predominately shade/semi-shade-tolerant Douglas fir, Norway spruce, western hemlock, and European beech, and smaller proportions of shade-intolerant Scots pine, European larch, and silver birch. The study at this time was primarily viewed as a learning process to determine what does and does not work.

Records of the study from the early 1960s to the late 1980s are sparse, although some input into the area had taken place over this period. Increased interest in irregular forestry from the late 1980s saw a return to more intensive management of the site, and by the early 1990s the area was managed under the selection system.

A one hectare permanent sample plot was established in 1997 by the University of Aberdeen to study the latter stages of the transformation. Complete inventories of the sample plot were carried out at six year intervals starting in 1997 and subsequently in 2003, 2009, 2015, and 2021. In this seminar, Andrew will present an overview of the study spanning a period of almost 25 years. It will describe the development of stand structure and species composition and contrast a range of stand metrics with data from established Continental plenter forests.

Andrew Cameron is a senior lecturer in the Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Aberdeen. His career has spanned practical forest management, research, and education. His forest management experience started with the Forestry Commission at Cowal Forest District in Argyll before moving to North York Moors Forest District in North Yorkshire.

He returned to the University of Aberdeen in 1989 to lecture in silviculture and forest planning. His research interests include how wood properties are influenced by silviculture and genetic selection, transformations of even-aged stands into irregular structures, use of alternative productive species, and the impact of climate change on forests.

He has advised governments in Holyrood and Westminster on various aspects of forest policy. He produced a report for the COP26 conference in Glasgow in 2021 on the importance of productive forests in climate change mitigation and in reducing natural and semi-natural forest loss. He has recently made presentations at three Westminster Parliamentary committees on forest expansion and climate change. He has over 80 peer reviewed publications.