Budget for a €2,500/ha reforestation cost after clearfelling mature forest
Unless they have made the move towards continuous cover forestry, most owners and certainly those of even-aged plantations with one or two species will expect to clearfell the crop once it reaches maturity.
Economic maturity for forests planted on productive soils may well be from 30 to 35 years of age and, in some cases, even earlier.
Over the last few months I've been involved in two such clearfells and will share my experiences from the first of those.
The area in question is about ten hectares (25 acres) and was the most mature sub-compartment in a larger area of woodland. The felled area was 90pc Sitka spruce, 10pc larch, 44 years old and on top of an exposed hill. At yield class 18, the crop could have grown on for a few more years, but on this exposed site, some stems had already started to blow.
The crop had been well thinned in the past and the final harvest produced 4,325 tonnes, of which 64pc was sawlog, 24pc palletwood and the remaining 12pc mostly pulp, with a couple of loads of stakewood.
The felling licence stipulated that restocking species should include Sitka spruce and Douglas fir instead of larch. While the owner's objectives for the site remain principally commercial, his aim is to diversify and restructure as much of the woodland as possible.
Accordingly, while Sitka made up 66pc of the restocking, the other 34pc included Douglas fir, western red cedar, Scots pine, oak and birch. A few common alder were also planted in a wet corner.
The Scots pine was chosen to enhance an area on some of the highest ground where some retained specimens are still in good health.