MANAGING IRISH FORESTS

Sustainable Development

Pine Martin
Most forests need to be managed to some extent. This ranges from protection against threatening developments, invasive plants or animals in Native and semi natural woodlands to quality control of forest operations and felling practices in commercial forests.

Forest Management
With increasing environmental awareness came the concept of sustainable forest management. This has gained international recognition through two important environmental conferences, that of the UN in RIO in 1992 and a follow up conference for Europe in LISBON in 1998.In Lisbon a number of
important forest criteria were recognized as central to sustainable management. (Go to Lisbon Crieria). These have resulted in Standards for European Forests (Go to Standards)

Lisbon Criteria for sustainable Management

- Forest resources including contribution to carbon storing
- Ecosystem vitality
- Wood productivity
- Biological Diversity
- Protective Functions
- Socio Economic and Cultural functions

Standards and Best Practice

Codes of practice and national standards to ensure best management are now in place in most developed countries, Ireland included. Also there is a growing use of forest environmental certification schemes. Two such schemes applied here are FSC (The Forest Stewardship Council) and PEFC (Pan European Forest Certification) Of course there is still a long way to go in controlling the exploitation of forests in developing or transitional societies.

Tree Planting
A typical regulated management cycle in Irish commercial woodland involves the selection of appropriate species for planting or replanting from authorized seed sources. Documentation is required by the EU.Environmental aspects must be taken into account for ground preparation and planting. The young forest must be protected against predators and vegetation managed in an environmentally friendly way. Access and roads are needed.

Harvesting
When trees are removed as thinnings or in final fellings. Harvesting operations must take into account the right machinery to be used, the protection of waterways and special habitats, the safe handling of fuels and chemicals and the application of statutory health and safety regulations. Licences are required for all felling and in most cases felled areas have to be restocked.

In protected woodlands these operations may be forbidden altogether or controlled very stringently.



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