Time to thin your forest

Harvesting in a timely and efficient manner is one of the most important decisions for a forest owner. Whether to thin or not to thin your forest plantation is a very important question for all forest owners. Thinning involves the removal of a percentage of the trees to concentrate growth on the better quality stems. A forest can recieve up to 4 thinnings before clearfell. The aim of thinning is to increase the value of your final crop.

  As a general rule of thumb, if your plantation has an average diameter of 16cm and is approaching a height of 10 metres then you should get it assessed by your co-op forester to plan your thinning operation.

So why thin?

• Increase the value of your final crop (average tree size will increase)

• Periodic Income (thinning cycle every 3-5 yrs)

• Tax free Income, depending on growth rates & age of thinning

• Reduce competition i.e. final crop trees put on volume quicker

• Create access for ease of management

• Increase recreation value of your forest and biodiversity by opening the canopy

What do I need?

Felling License – It is the law that you must apply for a felling license before you cut down any tree over 10 years. You can apply for the felling license yourself and once approved it is valid for 5 years.

  If you have a problem with completing the felling license please get in touch and we’ll help you to complete it.

Inspection Paths – You need inspection paths every 100m (or every 50 rows of trees if planted 2 metres apart). Most farmers can put in inspection path themselves by simply removing the branches on either side of the tree up to 2 metres so that the farmer/forester/timber buyer can walk through the forest and assess its growth.

Forest Roading/Access – You need access for both the harvesting machinery and timber haulage lorries. The Forest Service provides a forest road grant for farm forests, contact the co-op for more infromation. Please note you need a felling license number to apply for a road grant.

Harvest Plan – Talk to your local Co-op Forester about preparing a harvest plan which will outline your thinning method, environmental considerations, access routes, measurement method, docket system, health & safety etc.

Why Western Forestry Co-op

Western Forestry Co-op has 30 years experience managing and advising landowners on forestry. The co-op provides the following services:

• Group forests in to economic harvesting blocks

• Forest Roading/Felling License

• Independently price harvesting contractors

• Arrange and negotiate with harvesting contractors

• Supervise harvest operations

• Reforestation

• The Co-op is not a timber buyer and therefore does not have a vested interest in your timber – the co-op will sell it on your behalf to the highest bidder

• Trust – Co-op has provided forestry advice and assistance to forest owners for 30 years

• The Co-op ethos of transparency, trust and loyalty are our foundation. If you are considering thinning or need professional advice on your options please contact Joseph McManus, Harvesting Forester Western Forestry Co-op (please see our advert on this page).