We manage these woodlands by using contemporary systems where possible to increase the productive life span of the woodlands and their surroundings. We run a sizable cutting crew thinning the vast areas of post 1987 ‘hurricane’ re-planted woodland and numerous harvesters/forwarders allowing us to cut and sell more than 30,000 cubic metres of wood per year to various markets. Aside from sustainable forestry and complete woodland management, we provide many local wood markets including quality chestnut fencing and of course various local firewood businesses (approx. 15,000 tonnes is sold to local firewood businesses per year). The aim for any forester is to grow bigger trees. All of the species are different and should be managed differently but they all need thinning at regular intervals to retain the increase in volume and to remove the suppressed, damaged and diseased trees.
It all starts with the landowner gaining a felling licence for the thinning of his/her woodland. Depending on the species and the age of the crop we may decide to use one of the timber harvesters or our very talented cutting crew to fell and convert the timber. Ultimately, about 30% of the crop is removed as thinning’s and we always look to cut the supressed and damaged trees first to leave the bigger, straighter, stronger trees to continue growing to their full potential. Once finished one of our forwarders will remove the timber from the woodland floor and stack it in a prearranged loading area ready for road haulage to various clients.
Hardwoods typically need to be at least 30 years old before any thinning can take place. Once at thinning age a regular plan can be put in place based on the yield class of the various species. We typically thin the same compartment every 5 years removing 15-45 tonnes per hectare (depending on the species) We aim to harvest 70% of the annual increment meaning that every successive thinning operation removes less trees from the crop but the yield stays the same. All remaining trees are given a small amount of crown space in which to grow. Basically the larger the crown the bigger the butt!
Thinning and the biofuel it produces is a bi-product of timber production. Ultimately the aim is to produce big straight trees for the various timber markets whether it be Oak for furniture, Spruce for fencing, Red Cedar for roofing shingles, Larch for cladding or Ash for things like paint brush handles!!