An excellent CCFG Technical Meeting was held on Thurs 23 June in spectacular Wythop, Winlatter Forest Park and Dodd Wood, all around Bassenthwaite Lake in North Cumbria. The Forestry Commission hosted a meeting attended by 45 people to look at the technical and silvicultural issues of transformation to multifunctional, close to nature forestry, in an area of Britain that exemplifies the multiple demands placed upon forestry. The impressive turnout demonstrated the thirst for knowledge for practical solutions and for a greater understanding of the benefits of integrating multiple objectives of management. The vision of massive high quality trees, harvested with minimal impact to the environment, sequestrating carbon while providing the greatest multiplicity of habitats for wildlife, on a cycle track overlooking one of the great iconic landscapes of Britain will stay with all those who attended. We left thinking that all British forests should aspire to this new vision.

CCFG visit to Romania

During July 12 members of the CCFG and 2 students who were funded by Woodland Heritage visited the Timisoara district of Romania where they were guests of Romanian colleagues from ProSilva Europe. By all accounts the visit was very stimulating and equally enjoyable, and we are looking forward to reading more about it in the next issue of the CCFG newsletter which is due out in the late autumn.

We are pleased to announce that Claire Wightman, who is studying for her HND in forestry at Inverness College, and Saskia Wischnewski, who is studying for a BSc in Marine Biology at Aberdeen University, have each been awarded £500 bursaries to enable them to go on the CCFG study visit to Romania this July. We are looking forward to hearing more about their trip in the next edition of the CCFG Newsleter.

During May CCFG ran a 2 day workshop on Timber Harvesting with Professor Hanns Höefle of Göttingen University. The course, which was held in the beautiful Stourhead Estate, included both seminars and visits to local estates for field demonstrations. Articles and downloads from the course will be available in the ‘Resources’ secion of this website shortly.

This year 2 special events have been arranged: a 2 day workshop on timber harvesting which will take place in Wiltshire in May, and a visit to Romania in July. In addition we shall have our 3 technical site visits: one in Norfolk, looking at transformation of even aged ash/oak stands to irregular stands; one in the Central Lowlands of Scotland exploring the issues of managing CCF woodlands in semi-urban environments, and there will be a site visit in Wales in October, details to be released. For more information go to the events page.

Transcripts of all the talks given at the Scientific Meeting, ‘Understanding Daylight in the Context of Continuous Cover Forestry’, which was held on 29th September at Westonbirt Arboretum, are now available on our ‘Resources‘ page.

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.

CCFG Conference – 2009

CCFG held a very successful conference attended by over 40 delegates who were presented with valuable information about the properties of light and how light interacts with the other factors affecting the growth of trees; new modelling and surveying techniques point the way ahead with the use of modern technology. The field demonstrations provided a clear demonstration of the variability of light conditions under changing skies due to weather patterns and seasonality and how variation can be contrived and manipulated within different stand structures in forest conditions. The summing-up and conclusions provided the opportunity to identify the need and direction for further research. Phil Morgan, chairman of CCFG said: Science provides us with the necessary arguments to support our assertions that continuous cover forestry is an effective means of managing woodlands in Britain; putting science into practice is our challenge for the future. CCFG gratefully acknowledge the help of Woodland Heritage in supporting the event.

Pro Silva Europe Conference

The chairman of CCFG, Philippe Morgan, attended the Pro Silva Europe conference in Logarska Dolina, Slovenia, along with Rik Pakenham and Jim Ralph, held in commemoration of the signing of the declaration of Robanov Kot 20 years ago, marking the founding of the organisation that promotes greater understanding of Close to Nature forest management in Europe. Pro Silva now has 24 national member organisations adhering to the group; Rodney Helliwell is one of the original signatories to the declaration and CCFG one of the original national groups. CCFG gratefully acknowledge the help of Woodland Heritage in attending this important event.

Scottish Visit to Glenmore

Despite torrential rain the Scottish visit to Glenmore was very well attended, and provoked much interest in the issues of converting older stands of Scots Pine to CCF, and managing a Forest Park to satisfy the conflicting demands of commercial use, biodiversity and recreation.