Afforestation of industrial cutaway peatlands in the Irish midlands: site selection and species performance.
Keywords: Afforestation, cutaway peatlands, species selection, species performance, tree establishment, tree nutrition, nurse crops.
AbstractIn Ireland, industrial cutaway peatlands account for about 80,000 ha, of which 58,000 ha are currently in production, mainly in the midlands. It is estimated that only 16,000 to 20,000 ha of this area is suitable for commercial forestry. The BOGFOR research programme was initiated in 1998 in an attempt to develop new techniques to successfully establish forests on cutaway peatlands. It established that with good planning and the application of site-specific establishment procedures, satisfactory results could be obtained. It recognised however, the heterogeneity of cutaway peatlands and thus, the difficulties associated with site selection necessitate the use of intensive site evaluation procedures in advance of any decision to plant an area. Norway spruce may be the most suitable commercial forest species for planting on cutaways. Survival and growth results from several field trials, however, show that a range of conifer and broadleaved species can be established successfully. While there is still little information on the long-term performance of most species on such sites, the relatively wide range of suitable species affords the forester the opportunity to create interesting landscapes and the potential for providing other options (e.g. a more diverse range of products for market) at a later stage. The variation in site conditions encountered in any given cutaway peatland means that, not one, but several species might flourish within a given area, thus enhancing the sustainability of these new forests.
How to Cite
Renou-Wilson, F., Keane, M. and Farrell, E. (2009) “Afforestation of industrial cutaway peatlands in the Irish midlands: site selection and species performance.”, Irish Forestry. Available at: https://journal.societyofirishforesters.ie/index.php/forestry/article/view/10025 (Accessed: 22September2023).