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Traditionally commercial crops are managed in a cycle which involves the following stages:

  • Planting
  • Rack Thinning
  • Matrix Thinning (two or three times depending on growth rate)
  • Clearfell
  • Restock

Harvesting is a vital step in managing your commercial woodland, with the intention of leaving the trees with best form until your final felling (clearfell).

Ahead of any felling taking place it is essential to apply for felling permission, felling in excess of 5m3/calendar quarter would be considered illegal felling and there are significant penalties in place to try and prevent this. Your felling permission will also give details of what and where you intend to restock with.

There are a range of options regarding felling, ranging from chainsaw felling, felling and extracting using winches or skidders all the way up to fully mechanised – harvester and forwarder.

Timber prices are the highest they have been in over a decade and this is helping to make smaller, or more challenging, sites more cost effective to harvest. As the crop is in a 40 year rotations it is important to manage the site as well as possible in order to consider the following:

  • Maximise income from timber
  • Prevent environmental damage
  • Site management to make restocking easier
  • Restructuring (monoculture) woodland to incorporate mixed species and open space

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