The practice of continuous cover forestry in Ireland.

  • Lucie Vitkova UCD Forestry, UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science, Belfield, Dublin 4.
  • Áine Ní Dhubháin UCD Forestry, UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science, Belfield, Dublin 4.
  • Padraig O'Tuama Coillte, Forest Productivity Team Leader, Technical Services, Hartnetts Cross, Macroom, Co. Cork.
  • Paddy Purser Purser Tarleton Russell Ltd., Forest Sector Management, Consultancy and Research, Croghan Lodge, Woodenbridge, Avoca, Co. Wicklow.
Keywords: Silvicultural systems, transformation, thinning.


There is increasing interest in continuous cover forestry (CCF) in Ireland, however little is known about the extent to which CCF is currently practiced. To this end, a survey of forest owners/managers was conducted in 201 2 to determine the extent to which, and on what site types, CCF is being practiced in Irish forests. The survey revealed that there are 271 forests managed under CCF in Ireland, 235 public (Coillte and the National Parks and Wildlife Service) and 36 private, with a total area of 10,603 ha (8,292 ha and 2,311 ha, public and private respectively). The survey further indicated that the average size of a CCF forest property is 50 ha and that most of the forest area being managed under CCF comprises mixed-species stands. The survey further revealed that 66% of the properties have been managed under CCF for less than 15 years. A 10% random sample of the properties for which questionnaires were completed were visited. This showed that there was little evidence yet of management specifically directed at transforming stands to CCF – suggesting that CCF management was more likely to be an “aspiration” rather than a “reality” to date. Nevertheless it was shown that over two-thirds of the surveyed forest properties appeared suitable for CCF management. Although some initiatives have been taken to increase the awareness of CCF in Ireland, and to expose foresters to aspects of CCF management, more needs to be done if those aspirations are to be realised.
How to Cite
Vitkova, L., Ní Dhubháin, Áine, O’Tuama, P. and Purser, P. (2013) “The practice of continuous cover forestry in Ireland.”, Irish Forestry, pp. 141-156. Available at: (Accessed: 29May2024).