Mr Lar Behan, None-So-Hardy Nurseries Lar is a Sales Manager with None So Hardy Forestry and has been with the company since 1987. None so Hardy are the largest supplier of trees to the private afforestation schemes which would include the Native Woodland Scheme. The company have also initiated there own collection of native seed to facilitate the growing of quality plants for NWS.
Talk Abstract: The Native Woodland Scheme is of increasing importance to the future of the national afforestation programme and is an important component of our nursery stock programme at None-So-Hardy Nurseries (Forestry) Ltd. We collect and supply native trees and shrubs, including oak, birch, Scots pine, hazel, guelder rose, rowan, hawthorn and spindle. A very important species of this scheme is oak (Quercus petraea and Q. robur). A major obstacle to the continuity of supply is the paucity of native oak seed stands coupled with the infrequency of good mast years. Therefore, we decided to collect our own acorns, and to ensure continuity of Oak plant supplies we compensate by managing crops for one and two-year plants when we gather a significant acorn crop during good mast years. Tomnafinnogue Wood is the last surviving remnant of the famous Shillelagh woods in southern county Wicklow. In September 2006, we surveyed, located and marked 100+ potentially good seed producing trees based on crown spread and area and observe them every August to project the likely acorn crop for the autumn. Collecting native acorns is now a very important part of the nursery’s annual programme and forms the basis of our native Oak plant supply that we need to maximise each year to ensure continuity of supply.
Dr Tim Burkitt Tim is a deer biologist with over forty years of experience in the field of deer ecology and management. he previously worked for the National Parks & Wildlife Service and now runs his own deer management company. Tim holds a PhD in deer biology (Manchester Metropolitan University) and a Diploma in Field Ecology (UCC).
Talk Abstract: The management of deer in native woodlands is a critical issue and depends on the overriding management objectives of the woodland (conservation, wood production, hunting, recreation) but also on woodland type, deer species and deer ecology. To be successful and effective, the management of deer requires an intimate knowledge and understanding of their ecology. There are specific aspects of deer ecology (density, population dynamics, diet and habitat use) that can be skillfully managed as these are most likely to affect their role as keystone species within native woodland ecosystems. Other aspects of deer ecology such as migration and range size, disturbance, weather and seasonality, can also completely alter the way in which deer exploit and therefore have a potential impact on woodland habitats on a daily, seasonal and annual basis. These are less easily managed and are entirely dependent on a comprehensive, well-informed and collaborative deer management strategy being developed and implemented. Deer management however, is technically complex and not only requires a thorough knowledge of deer ecology but also a clear understanding of the interacting dynamics between deer and their habitat. Specifically it demands the skills, knowledge and technical expertise required to ensure that deer presence is compatible with the overall strategic objectives of woodland conservation management. Therefore, the three main species of deer (red, fallow and sika) each require specific management approaches that are inherently different from each other.
Mr Kevin Collins, Forestry Inspector, Department of Agriculture, Food & Forestry Kevin, Dublin born and raised, graduated with a M.Agr.Sc. (Forestry) from University College Dublin in 1995, based on a thesis on urban forestry. He spent several years working with the eNGOs ECO UNESCO and the Tree Council of Ireland on urban and community forestry projects and various educational initiatives, and with the Society of Irish Foresters as Editor of the Irish Forestry journal. Kevin joined the Forest Service in 2000 and worked on various initiatives, schemes and publications in the area of forestry and the environment, including amenity and native woodland development, sustainable forest management, biodiversity and water. During this time, he also acted as District Inspector for Wicklow and later, as Regional Inspector. Currently, Kevin is Head of Environment within the Forestry Inspectorate, with responsibilities relating to Hen Harrier, Freshwater Pearl Mussel (including KerryLIFE), Curlew and other protected species, the Native Woodland Scheme (in partnership with Woodlands of Ireland, NPWS, and others) and the NeighbourWood Scheme, the Environmental Requirements for Afforestation, and the Water Framework Directive. He co-authored and edited Amenity Trees & Woodlands: A Guide to their Management in Ireland (2010), published by the Tree Council of Ireland, the Arboricultural Association (Irish Branch) and the Society of Irish Foresters, and is co-author, alongside John Cross, of the joint NPWS/Forest Service publication Management Guidelines for Ireland’s Native Woodlands (2017).
Talk Abstract: The story of Ireland's native woodlands up to the late 1990s is not a particularly happy tale, despite their status as a key part of Ireland's natural, historical and cultural heritage. Apart from the creation of protected areas, pioneering research work and the efforts of Crann and other voices such as Éamon de Buitléar and Freda Rountree, native woodlands remained very much as a niche interest. However, sparked by key visionaries and the convenient sense of occasion afforded by the turn of the century, a host of initiatives took place in the late 1990s and early 2000s. These included the establishment of Woodlands of Ireland (WofI), the People's Millennium Forests Project, Coillte's Old Woodland Survey, woodland restoration by the National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS), and the Forest Service Native Woodland Scheme (NWS), developed and implemented in partnership with WofI, NPWS, Heritage Council, Inland Fisheries Ireland and others. This strong focus on native woodlands has carried through to the present day. This is primarily due to the work of WofI and the ongoing implementation of the NWS, currently under the 2014-2020 Forestry Programme, which together support – and are supported by – a dense and intricate 'mycorrhiza' of stakeholders, initiatives and applications. This collective effort is driving native woodland expansion in Ireland and is pioneering new opportunities, particularly in the areas of water and natural capital. However, has Ireland's native woodland sector reached a critical mass? Various critical factors still need to be addressed to ensure this, including the following: Shift the perception of landowners and foresters regarding the value of native woodlands. Realise the potential of native woodlands to contribute to farm income. Continue to link in with wider environmental, social and economic priorities, such as water, landscape, tourism, and health and wellbeing, to widen the stance of the native woodland sector. Boost research exploring the values of native woodland. Ensure that professional capacity and know-how match the intricacies of native woodland management. Address existing legislative, policy and support pinch-points. Ensure that supports are broadened out to include other sources, and are effectively targeted at creating and expanding opportunities. Expand the availability of native planting material, and increase resilience to climate change, pests and diseases. Will future observers see the current focus on native woodlands as the first half of a boom-bust cycle, or as the initial phase of a sustainable arc towards achieving the targets set out in the National Strategy for Native Woodland in Ireland, for 2020 and beyond? Given the highly nuanced and increasingly multi-facetted nature of the Ireland's native woodland sector, the latter outcome is well within our reach.
Dr John Cross, ex NPWS Formerly a member of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, John is an ecologist with over 40 years' experience in Ireland and abroad and an extensive bibliography. He has been responsible, among other things, for major surveys of native woodlands, the establishment of woodland nature reserves and woodland management guidelines.
Talk Abstract: Surveys and research over the past 20 years have greatly improved our knowledge of the diversity, character and distribution of our native woodlands, at both a national and international level. Four major woodland types - sessile oak, ash, alder and birch - and several minor types are recognised. Each major type has several sub-types which have a different structure and species composition. This presentation briefly examines these different woodland types and looks at the various factors responsible for the variation, including the climate, soil, hydrology, topography, age of the woodland, past management and land use history. This information provides valuable background and serves as guidance for current and future woodland management.
Ms Maria Cullen, Independent Ecologist Maria is a research scientist who examines woodlands from diverse angles: geology, soils, mycology and botany. Love for woodlands began with childhood play in the Barrow-Nore valley of Wexford and Kilkenny. Early awareness of the beauty of, and threats to, trees and woodlands has inspired Maria's work.
Talk Abstract: When you go down to the woods today, do you notice the Teddy Bear Moss (Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus)? Can you recognise many of the species from among cryptogamic (lower) plants: the algae, fungi (lichenised and non-lichenised), mosses, liverworts and ferns present as epiphytes and part of the ground flora of our woodlands? We elucidate the current state of knowledge in Ireland of this vast section of botany, but appreciation of it is not usually taught well in schools or colleges. Studying these species informs our understanding of the longevity of woodland cover, regional air and water quality, local hydrology, woodland health and relative species richness as well as conveying an appreciation of the uniqueness of each wood. This talk will explore what can be done to protect and enhance cryptogamic species in our woods through education, training, legislation, herbarium supports, phytosanitary measures and further research. It will also outline current threats to cryptogams and what we can do as scientists, advisors, policy-makers, managers and woodland owners.
Dr Janice Fuller, Consultant Ecologist Janice is an ecologist with a particular interest in woodland ecology. She started her career in academia as a palaeoecologist studying long-term forest dynamics in north America and Ireland but now works as an independent ecologist specialising in botanical survey and ecological assessment. Janice has produced several publications on woodlands and hedgerows.
Talk Abstract: Native woodlands do not exist in isolation; part of their ecological function is dependent on how they connect with the wider environment. Farm hedgerows are a natural extension of native woodlands and allow them to interface with the wider countryside. Hedgerows themselves can be seen as mini-strips of native woodland. Hedgerows, Scrub and Non-Forest Trees cover 6.4% of the country; this is significantly more than that covered by native woodland. Most of this network is over 100 years old and some of it considerably older. But what do we know about the qualitative value and condition of our hedgerows? With this question in mind, in 2013 Woodlands of Ireland, in conjunction with the Hedge Laying Association of Ireland, published the Hedgerow Appraisal System (HAS). The System has three elements; a standard survey methodology, a national open-source database and an appraisal method that determines hedgerow significance (historical, species diversity, structural, habitat connectivity and landscape) including condition scoring. The standard survey methodology ensures consistency of recording of hedgerow data. The national database, maintained by the National Biodiversity Data Centre (NBDC), has correlated and standardised the data from 17 county and regional hedgerow surveys and provides a baseline for those areas. In addition, further hedgerow surveys will be added to this database in time. The appraisal element is a tool that can be used in planning, research, monitoring and ultimately to inform policy development. The Hedgerow Appraisal System has huge potential for use in Agri-Environment Schemes but to date has been under-utilised. With increased use, further refinements and developments could be adopted to suit the various potential applications.
Ms Debbie Gillies, True Harvest Seeds Debbie is CEO and project manager for True Harvest Seeds. Originally a computer scientist she retrained as an organic vegetable grower, becoming increasingly interested in vegetable seed breeding. Upon creating the THS Irish Seed Bank, she trained and worked with Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership, where she learned seed conservation and banking techniques.
Talk Abstract: Ireland's unique set of plants has been separated from the rest of the world by c. 14,000 years of isolated evolution. True Harvest Seeds (THS) has created and is populating a seed bank with orthodox seed species native to the island of Ireland to protect this important resource. Like all banks, there are deposits and withdrawals: the deposits are highly scientific collections, comprising seeds, data, photographs, DNA material and herbarium specimens. The withdrawals may be seeds for restoration projects or information or plant material for research and study and can be applied for by suitable individuals or organisations. Making accessions into the seed bank to represent species and habitats in all counties will require around 45,000 collections. Because of increasing plant and seed imports, there is some urgency to carry out this work. To achieve this goal, THS is engaging with public and private landowners and providing training to enable local landowners, staff or volunteers to make collections suitable for long term storage, thus safeguarding the long term survival of these species. Seeds held in this way can retain viability for centuries.
Mr Nathy Gilligan, OPW Nathy has worked in the environmental management of flood relief and river works for the last 15 years and is currently Head of Environment for OPW, where he guides implementation for a wide range of environmental requirements across OPW’s flood risk management activities. With OPW being the lead statutory authority for flood risk management in Ireland, Nathy has completed a placement with the European Commission and assists with the development of relevant environmental policy through multiple national environmental working groups. Nathy has also worked in the academic sector, with a further 10 years' experience in the Local Authority sector, and is a chartered engineer with a Masters in environmental protection.
Talk Abstract: Flooding has become a major issue in Ireland, with flood events predicted to become more frequent and greater in intensity. Public expenditure is being ramped up and a substantial programme of work will be implemented in the coming years to respond to this increased flood risk. The freshwater ecosystem is one of the most negatively impacted by humans in terms of both biodiversity and water quality, with many protected species and wetland habitats showing trends of ongoing decline. In this context, the OPW implements a series of flood risk management activities such as ongoing river maintenance operations, infrastructural flood relief projects, and strategic Flood Risk Management Plans. This approach to water sector activities is evolving in the direction of more integrated catchment management, guided by requirements from the European Commission. This talk will discuss the role of forestry in Natural Flood Management (NFM), an approach that works by storing water in the environment, allowing it to be released slowly - either as run-off to rivers and streams, or by soakage to the water-table. NFM measures provide multiple benefits, including flood control, improved water quality, and habitat creation. However, while NFM can be effective for frequent, lower peak floods, the approach is less effective for more severe floods. Its potential role in the future of flood management is evolving as the concept of integrated catchment management becomes more established in Ireland. Soft engineering solutions such as aquatic buffers and soakage areas will be discussed in terms of their potential for building resilience to extreme flooding events and reducing the need for more traditional hard engineering approaches.
Dr Daniel Kelly, University of Dublin, Trinity College Daniel's research focus is in woodland ecology. After four years in the West Indies, he returned to Ireland in 1979. His research is divided between Europe and the New World Tropics. It investigates the patterns and dynamics in plant communities, and has explored biodiversity in both plantations and native woodlands.
Keynote Abstract: Economic assets, hotspots of biodiversity, relics of history, embellishments of the landscape or places of recreation: what and who are native woodlands for? Ireland’s native woodlands provide a link with the wildwood that once covered much of the island. Ancient woodland has survived, here and there, and in it we still find evidence of traditional management practices. Native woodlands are an economic resource. As well as timber, they may yield a range of non-timber forest products. A woodland canopy may increase soil fertility; it regulates water flow and influences water quality. Trees sequester carbon and may mitigate the effects of climate change. Woods have complex cultural and aesthetic associations. A few existing woods still have historical links to the Ireland of Gaelic rulers. A more widespread association is with the old estates of the Anglo-Irish gentry. Differences in history and ecology combine to make each old wood a unique place. Ancient woodlands ultimately derive from spontaneous seeding, and animals may play a symbiotic role in pollination and/or seed dispersal. However, in many places, the ecological balance has been lost, and seed predation and overgrazing are preventing tree regeneration. Native woodland is a storehouse of indigenous biodiversity. Our woodland communities are poor in higher plants and animals compared to the European continent, but relatively rich in mosses, liverworts & lichens. Native biotic communities are composed of species that have co-evolved over millennia. The impact of non-native invasive species is particularly acute in islands, and Irish woods are suffering invasions on a massive scale. On top of these, new tree pests and diseases continue to reach our shores. Our native woodlands have unique intrinsic value; they can also satisfy a multiplicity of human needs. The current state of many of these woods is precarious. May this conference prove a clarion call for action to protect, conserve and restore them, for the benefit of both present and future generations.
Associate Professor Mary Kelly-Quinn, University College Dublin Mary is a lecturer in University College Dublin where her research is focussed on assessment of land-use and other anthropogenic activities on the hydrochemical and ecological quality of freshwaters. She has completed studies on the aquatic habitats of agricultural, urban and forested catchments. Further details here.
Talk Abstract: Nutrient and sediment pollution of freshwaters remains a key water quality concern globally. In Ireland 47% of the river channel and 57% of lakes monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency in the 2007-2009 period failed to meet good status. Diffuse pollution from agricultural land and farmyards was a key contributor to the problems identified. There is growing interest in the use of strategically planted deciduous woodland to intercept and help reduce diffuse pollution input but also to contribute other ecosystem services that protect water quality and the aquatic ecosystem. These range from flood risk reduction to energy inputs to aquatic food webs. This paper will present the potential range of ecosystem services delivered by protective native riparian woodland and where challenges remain in capitalising on those benefits. It will present details of the EU Cost Action project, launched in October 2016, on payment for ecosystem services associated with planting of woodlands to deliver water quality targets.
Dr Declan Little, Woodlands of Ireland For the past 25 years, Declan has worked in the in native woodland sector, initially in UCD as a researcher of woodland development, soil processes and land use history and latterly in Woodlands of Ireland, in native woodland management and policy development. He graduated in 1988 with a degree in Commercial Horticulture and a Ph.D in 1994 from the Agriculture Faculty, UCD. The project title was 'Podzols under Semi-natural Oak Woodland in Ireland'.
Dr Maria Long, Independent Ecologist Maria has experience working on woodlands for 15 years. Her PhD thesis (under Dr Daniel Kelly) focused on the dynamics of scrub/woodland in the Burren, and the effects of landuse changes on biodiversity. She also worked on the National Survey of Native Woodlands and monitoring sites with Annex II woodlands.
Talk Abstract: Two of the biggest challenges facing semi-natural habitats across Ireland are intensification of management on the one hand, and lack of management on the other. Sadly, one of the consequences of conservation designations can be that landowners/managers seem to feel that they must no longer manage a piece of land, regardless of the habitat. Or sometimes they lack the guidance or incentive to do so. Similarly, unless an area of land can be intensively used for agriculture, it is increasingly ignored. But how are our native woodlands faring? This talk will review recent findings and research, and present some of the main trends and issues. The results of experimental work on the effects of changes in management will be presented. To conclude, the main challenges facing woodland managers, as well as relevant policy makers and researchers will be outlined.
Dr Alwynne McGeever, Trinity College Dublin Alwynne's background is in spatio-temporal modelling and palaeoecology. Her PhD considered the population dynamics of Pinus and Ulmus in Europe over the past 10,000 years, investigated the native status of Scots Pine in Ireland, and analysed the distribution of Irish bog pines. Her current research considers climate change mitigation opportunities for Ireland, including the potential role of afforestation.
Talk Abstract: 5000 years before 1950AD (cal BP) Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris) experienced a major population decline across Europe, which is believed to have led to its ultimate extirpation in Ireland about 1500 cal BP. The current populations of P. sylvestris in Ireland originate from Scotland, introduced as plantations during the 18th century. Since the original Irish P. sylvestris is believed to have become extinct and the current P. sylvestris populations were introduced by humans, the native status of this species is disputed. This work presents the paleo record of a forest of P. sylvestris in the Burren, Co. Clare. A sediment core was taken from a site in the Burren, and fossil pollen was extracted and counted to determine how the tree population had changed since 1600 cal BP. The data suggests that P. sylvestris survived and recovered from the national population decline, and has maintained a continuous presence at this location, right up to the present day. Hence this could be a native Irish population of P. sylvestris, having persisted in the unique Burren landscape independent of the population collapse 5000-1500 cal BP and originates from before the re-introduction 200 years ago. Identifying a native Irish Scots Pine population gives new opportunity for changes in the future conservation of biodiversity in Ireland, most particularly by contributing to ongoing efforts to restore native Irish woodlands.
Ms Ella McSweeney, Journalist Ella is an Irish food and farming journalist and reporter. She has worked for BBC, RTÉ (Ireland's national broadcaster) and the Guardian newspaper. She graduated from Trinity College, Dublin and is a post graduate student in food policy at City University, London.
Ms Anja Murray, Independent Ecologist Anja Murray is an independent ecologist with a background in environmental science. She is involved in research, policy and advocacy on issues such as nature conservation, forestry, European and national agricultural policy; peatland conservation, water quality, natural flood management and other areas where improvements are needed in how we manage our natural environment. Since 2014 Anja has been an expert presenter on ‘Eco Eye’ on RTÉ1 and also has her own weekly radio series, called ‘Nature File’, on the national broadcaster Lyric FM.
Dr Tom Nisbet, Forest Research Tom is Head of the Physical Environment science group in Forest Research, the Forestry Commission’s research agency. He has over 30 years of experience in forest hydrology and applied catchment management. His team have been at the forefront of assessing and promoting woodland benefits for water, including the use of targeted planting to mitigate diffuse pollution and reduce downstream flood risk, aided by the development of ‘opportunity mapping’. Tom leads one of the working groups involved in the EU COST Action CA15206 on Payments for Ecosystem Services (Forests for Water) (PESFOR-W), which is the subject of his talk.
Talk Abstract: The EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) aims to restore Europe’s water bodies to “Good Ecological Status” by 2027, but many Member States are struggling to achieve this target. Around half of EU river catchments report below standard water quality, with diffuse pollution from agriculture representing a major pressure affecting over 90% of river basins. Accumulating evidence shows that recent improvements to agricultural practices are benefiting water quality but in many cases will be insufficient to achieve WFD objectives. There is growing support for land use change to help bridge the gap, with a particular focus on targeted tree planting to intercept and reduce the delivery of diffuse pollutants to water. This form of integrated catchment management offers multiple benefits to society but a significant cost to landowners and managers.
New economic instruments, in combination with spatial targeting, need to be developed to ensure cost-effective solutions. Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) are flexible, incentive-based mechanisms that could play an important role in promoting land use change to deliver water quality targets. This is the subject of the EU COST Action “Payments for Ecosystem Services (Forests for Water) (PESFOR-W). Starting in October 2016, the four-year Action is tasked with consolidating learning from existing woodlands for water PES schemes in Europe and helping to standardize approaches to evaluating the environmental effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of woodland measures. This talk will describe the approach and progress made to date, including plans for creating a European network through which PES schemes can be facilitated, extended and improved.
Mr Myles Nolan Myles is a self-taught expert on Irish spiders. His particular interests include understanding the environmental preferences of spiders in Ireland and assessing how spiders might be utilised as an index of habitat quality.
Talk Abstract: A brief overview will be presented on invertebrate species associated with native Irish woodlands. The extent and depth of our knowledge of this group of animals will be examined and changes in our knowledge of a number of rarer and/or highly localised species will be discussed. Observations will be made on a range of invertebrate groups, including beetles, flies and spiders in order to give a broad sense of how different groups function within woodland habitats. A more detailed assessment will be made of spider species, including their occurrence and abundance throughout Ireland. Particular attention will be given to the wide range of sub-habitats and microsites that are essential to sustain a variety of invertebrate species within woodland habitats.
Mr John O'Reilly, Greenbelt Having graduated from University College Dublin in 1989 with a 2nd Class Honors Degree in Forestry, John has built up more than 26 years of experience in the private forest sector encompassing all aspects of forest establishment, management, harvesting and infrastructural development.
Talk Abstract: Since the introduction of the current Programme for Forestry 2014-2020, the targeted levels of Native Woodland Establishment have not been achieved. Across the 2015 -16 planting seasons, the national target was the establishment of 900 ha of new native woodlands however only 293 ha of NW establishment actually took place. This market failure is, in my opinion, due to the perceived lack of commerciality that land owners associate with native woodland planting.To address this anomaly we must look to corporate CSR budgets and design schemes and supports that incentivise the establishment of native woodlands.To this end Microsoft have agreed to co-fund, with the Irish Forest Service, the establishment of 137 ha of new native forests across the 2017 and 2018 planting programme. Green Belt have been successful in achieving the planting targets set by Microsoft and feel that the improved payments now available to land owners has led to a significant uptake in NW planting. Understanding the correct level of support and incentives is the key to driving the establishment of our native woodlands.
Mr Richard O'Callaghan, KerryLIFE Details coming soon
Dr Ian Short, Teagasc Ian is the Broadleaf Silviculture Researcher for Teagasc Forestry Development Department. He has interests in broadleaf silviculture, alternative silviculture systems (e.g. agroforestry, short rotation forestry, remedial silviculture), continuous cover forestry, products from broadleaf thinnings, and knowledge transfer.
Talk Abstract: Knowledge of silviculture is crucial to the successful production of timber and societal products and services from our forests. Formal silvicultural education provides the basis for practitioners to manage our forests. As the context in which forests are grown changes, management and applied silviculture should adapt and, to support this, so should silvicultural education. The majority of those employed in the forest industry will have received some education in silviculture, and continue to do so through continuous professional development, but there is also a need for forest owners to be educated in an appropriate way. A good working knowledge of the wide range of silvicultural systems and techniques applicable to Irish forests is required by all involved to service the implementation of multifunctional forestry. This presentation will discuss opportunities and challenges to silviculture education in Ireland and draw some comparisons with international experiences.
Mr Jonathan Spazzi, Teagasc/Prosilva Jonathan Spazzi is the Teagasc Forestry Development Officer for Kerry/Limerick, ProSilva Ireland Committee member and Society of Irish Foresters member. In the last 20 years as a Forester, he has been involved in mixed broadleaves/native woodland management with particular focus on integrating quality timber production and ecosystem services delivery through the use of CCF Management Systems. He holds a MSc Forestry from Bangor University with focus on CCF management and related inventory protocols, a BSc (Hons) Forest Management as well as other training in Forest Mycology, Environmental Science and Renewable Energy Technologies.
Talk Abstract: The Native Woodland Scheme is supporting the development of new native woodlands across the landscape to be managed, long term, for essential Ecosystems Services and, where suitable, for sustainable timber production through Close- to-Nature/Continuous-Cover Silviculture. Selecting and managing high quality individual trees at an early stage are an essential part of this approach in order to develop irregular woodland structures that will form the basis for sustainability by continuous renewal. As woodlands mature, the aim will be to create conditions, through selective thinning, that mimics natural woodland patterns conducive to natural regeneration. In the long term, It is within these diffuse light conditions that the best quality individuals will be selected and recruited from regeneration stage into mature stage. The objective in irregular Silviculture management is to attain a state of equilibrium where regeneration, sapling, poles, small trees, medium trees and large trees of various species are present across the woodland and where sustainability is achieved by continuous renewal within a stable ecosystem. This approach ensures continued high quality timber production through selective felling and, most importantly, high level of structural diversity and Ecosystem Resilience. Having a suitable inventory/monitoring protocol, incorporating diameter class, quality assessment, and ecological assessments is essential to inform the owner/manager of woodland structure changes towards a state of dynamic equilibrium.
Mrs Katherine Stafford Katherine has lived In Ireland since 1970, and in the Glencree Valley since 1983 amidst 30 acres of native woodland. She is a writer of fiction, retired special needs teacher, and is currently finishing a training course with the Holocaust Education Trust of Ireland. She also gives historical talks.
Talk Abstract: This talk will explore my experiences as a native woodland owner and manager. It will tell the story of my own journey from a tree lover to the custodian of a 30-acre native woodland, attending training courses, getting through paperwork, receiving grant approval, establishing fencing and planting species including Oak, Birch, Hazel, Willow, Alder, Cherry and Scots Pine. The talk will also offer a personal perspective on many of the issues facing the sector, including exploding deer populations and their impact on oakwood regeneration and the potential for using native woodlands for educational purposes - and not just for forestry students.
Mr Michael Starrett, Chief Executive of The Heritage Council A graduate ecologist and biologist with post graduate qualifications in education and landscape management, he has over 35 years' experience in the areas of natural and cultural heritage management and policy development. He holds a Masters in Management Practice from Trinity College Dublin and the Irish Management Institute. His professional qualifications include membership of the Landscape Institute LI(UK) and previously the Institute of Sport, Parks and Leisure (MISPAL). In addition to a career path that has seen him work in Northern Ireland, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland, he has extensive European experience through his membership of the Federation of National and Nature Parks of Europe, a pan-European body with 400 members in 38 different countries. He was the first Irishman to be elected as President of the Federation from 2002-2005 and still retains membership of the body. He recently stepped down as a member of the IUCN's World Commission on Protected Areas. He has been Chair of the Council of National Cultural Institutions on two occasions, most recently in 2014 and was formally a member of the Board of the Theatre Royal in Waterford. Michael has traveled extensively studying legislation and systems that allow the sustainable management and development of cultural and natural landscapes and has maintained ongoing professional development of innovative and contemporary approaches in this aspect of his work. He has retained involvement with the Council of Europe through ongoing development of the European Landscape Convention and promotion of a community based approach to European Heritage Days and the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018. Michael lives in Kilkenny with his wife Giliane. His interests range from healthy outdoor activities such as walking and winter sports to maintenance of traditional skills such as thatching and the use of lime wash.
Dr Sarah Taylor, Keele University Sarah gained her Commonwealth funded PhD on forest ecology in 2007, followed by a research post with Forest Research UK, and then an ecology lectureship at Keele University in 2008. She has published work on stand decline, pests and invasive species, and co-edited a book on biosecurity for Earthscan.
Talk Abstract: The UK has 3.17 million hectares of woodland totalling 13% the land area, of which only 1.2% is ancient semi-natural woodland. Deer, rhododendron, Chalara and sudden oak death are amongst a growing list of problems blighting woodlands and forestry in the UK. Throw climate change into the mix and the loss of climatic barriers to pests and diseases (e.g., cold winters) and increasing severity of weather events are challenging the resilience of the UK's sparse woodland. A Tree and Plant Health Biosecurity Expert Taskforce was established in 2012 to deal with these threats, along with an £8 million investment in tree health research from 2012/12 to 2016/17, and £23 million on a 5-year Phytophthora programme ending in 2014. The status of Phytophthora and rhododendron in the UK will be reviewed, and the impacts of biosecurity measures on wildlife highlighted. Case studies will consider whether historically high populations of native and non-native deer mark the end of the ancient Caledonian pinewoods in Scotland and whether Chalara signifies the end of the ash tree in the UK. The UK's woodlands are going through a massive process of change, but with vigilance and appropriate management we can ensure the continued presence of trees on the landscape.
Mr Alan Watson-Featherstone Alan is the founder of Trees for Life, which has been working to restore the Caledonian Forest in Scotland since 1989. The charity has planted over 1.3 million trees and owns 4,000ha of land. Alan has spoken about the project at conferences & events in over 20 countries, and has won a number of awards for his work.
Talk Abstract: The Caledonian Forest formerly covered much of the Highlands of Scotland, but by the 20th century it had been reduced to a few scattered remnants consisting of old trees at the end of their lives. Overgrazing by deer and sheep had prevented the growth of any new trees for about 200 years, leaving the ecosystem as a geriatric woodland, missing many of its species and with key ecological processes no longer functional. This presentation will focus on the work of Trees for Life in the past three decades to address this problem by assisting the ecological recovery of the forest and its associated species. It will elucidate the three key elements and 13 principles used to guide the ecological restoration process, and will feature dramatic before and after images that demonstrate the results that have been achieved as the forest ecosystem recovers. It will highlight the importance and necessity of other restoration actions including the reinstatement of apex predators such as the Eurasian lynx and the wolf, and the re-establishment of critical ecological processes such as disturbance and natural succession. It will also indicate the relevance of the work for Ireland, which has experienced comparable levels of deforestation to Scotland.
Ms Faith Wilson, Faith Wilson Ecological Consultant Faith works as an independent ecologist across Ireland. Her interests and skills are varied ranging from botany to zoology. She and others have been documenting the return of the great spotted woodpecker as a breeding species to Ireland and she is monitoring our rare woodland bat species with Bat Conservation Ireland.
Talk Abstract: Great spotted woodpecker have returned to Ireland of their own accord and have been documented as a breeding species in Ireland for almost a decade now. The return of this charismatic bird to our landscape offers new opportunities and challenges for how we manage our woodlands and their native fauna, much of which remains rare, under-recorded and elusive. Through extensive field surveys and various technologies we are beginning to gain an insight into what's going on in our woodlands and how various species such as birds, bats and other fauna may interact with each other. This talk will provide some updates on our current understanding of same.