Blackstock P. and P. Binggeli (2000) A needs survey for support for farm
forestry. Report to UAOS Ltd, Portadown.
The full report
can be downloaded as a Word (.rtf) file.
farm woodland survey was instigated to determine the management status
of woodlands and farmers’ woodland knowledge in three distinct regions
of Northern Ireland. A literature review of farm forestry practices and
attitudes in other temperate regions was also carried out. Using both
sets of information suggestions are made to enhance the Northern Irish
farm woodland resource.
species composition of woodlands was varied and differed between
regions. In Mid Tyrone Sitka spruce was the dominant species, reflecting
the fact that most woods in that region have been planted since 1970. In
Fermanagh, on the other hand, ash and birch predominated, forming an
important environmental and landscape resource. In the Lower Bann
Valley, farm woods consisted of a mixture of relict hazel and oak woods,
naturally regenerated birch and old plantation woods, creating a locally
diverse woodland landscape with a relatively high amenity value.
majority of woodlands required some degree of thinning and pruning in
order to achieve a harvestable timber crop. Timber production, sporting,
conservation, landscape and shelter were an aim of between 63 and 85% of
farmers for their woodlands whereas public recreation represented a
purpose for only 24% of the woods. With the exception of timber
production and public recreation the farmers' aims were satisfactorily
of most wood was above 70% and for Sitka spruce wood as high as 95%. 85%
of the woods contained good or fair stems. Yield classes mainly fell in
the range of 5 to 15. Both in terms of potential stem quality and yield
class Sitka spruce faired better, mostly because many of the spruce
woods had recently been established.
Forest Service and the farming press were considered to be the main
sources of advice, but farmers also gained information from the press,
neighbours, contractors, forest co-operatives and agricultural advisors.
The vast majority of farmers had not carried out any maintenance work to
their woodlands. Only in Mid Tyrone, with a substantial area of
commercial plantations, had the majority of farmers carried out forestry
works and, even here, most of these tree works were associated with
report concludes that
The present, different, management approaches adopted for
'commercial' and 'semi-natural' woods should be amalgamated.
A coherent woodland management methodology for all farm woodland
types should be developed to ensure that they all provide some timber,
enhance the landscape and bring environmental benefits. The farming
community should be educated about these woodland management methods.
The use of Sitka spruce as a preferred species for farm woodland
establishment should be re-assessed.
Farm forestry support organisations should be assessed.
The farm forestry co-operatives should be supported and
encouraged to assist in the management and marketing of farm grown