independent

Sunday 17 December 2017

Wood growers focus group get fired up about local forests

An international group of wood producers on a trip to the JFK Arboretum organised by the Irish Wood Producers Association
An international group of wood producers on a trip to the JFK Arboretum organised by the Irish Wood Producers Association

David Looby

The John F Kennedy Arboretum was one of the main stop-off points for a group of international forest owners, businesspeople and managers who visited the area recently.

Representatives from 28 organisations from 11 countries attended the forestry trip.

The focus group are all part of the SIMWOOD project, which promotes the sustainable innovative mobilisation of wood, particularly in privately owned forests. The group was due to travel to Dublin, but The Irish Wood Producers locally saw the initiative to the South East.

The project aims to promote a more efficient and sustainable use of privately-owned forestry and to increase the mobilisation of timber in Europe by examining: forest ownership, forest harvesting techniques, producer groups and forest enterprises. The three-day conference began in the conference centre in Kilkenny Castle.

The Irish Wood Producers is aiming to develop a sustainable producer group and to assess if membership facilitates the mobilisation of timber in south east Ireland.

The second day of the conference moved to a hardwood and softwood site in Kylemore, The Rower, followed by a visit to Burke and Lesley Corbett on their forest farm in Gusserane where the group saw newly-planted sites, thinned plantations, chipping of harvested timber, and timber processing for firewood. The tour ended in Kennedy Arboretum, where Chris Kelly led a brief tour of the research plots on Slieve Coillte before another conference session followed in the afternoon. The SIMWOOD programme runs for another two years so it's exciting times for the first generation of forest owners in Ireland.

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