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Continuous cover is an approach to forest management that seeks to create more diverse forests, both structurally and in terms of species composition, by avoiding clearfelling. The development of more diverse forests is a sensible way to reduce the risks posed by future changes in the climate and biotic threats.
The aims of this research programme are to:
The medium term objectives are:
Work in the programme is divided into a number of projects and studies:
The following people also work on the programme:
Team members work closely with colleagues in the Technical Services and other parts of Forest Research.
This research is funded by the Forestry Commission Regeneration and sustainable silviculture programme.
Other funders include the Scottish Forestry Trust and REINFFORCE (An INTERREG project of the EU).
The project works in close partnership with Forestry Commission Scotland at the Glentress CCF Trial Area and Forestry Commission Wales at Clocaenog CCF Research Area. Two members of the team also sit on the Forestry Commission CCF Working Group.
Forestry Commission policy
Continuous cover silviculture is now being widely practised in British forests and it has recentyl been estimated that greater than 10% of all Forestry Commission woodlands use it. There is no doubt that this percentage will increase because of policy developments. For example in Wales diversifying approaches to management is a key strategic objective in Woodlands for Wales (Forestry Commission Wales, 2009) that seeks to ‘avoid clearfelling on our own woodland estate whenever alternative management methods would deliver a wider range of ecosystem services’. In addition, the United Kingdom Woodland Assurance Scheme 2006 (UKWAS) requires forest managers to ‘increasingly favour’ CCF in windfirm conifer plantations and semi-natural woodland.
The Forestry Commission’s Science and Innovation strategy for British forestry (Forestry Commission, 2010) has recognised the changes outlined above and made diversifying approaches to forest management one of seven research themes.
Costs and revenues of transformation to continuous cover forestry
Modelling silvicultural options with Sitka spruce
The evidence supporting the use of Continuous Cover Forestry in adapting Scotland’s forests to the risks of climate change
Operational Guidance Booklet 7 – Managing Continuous Cover Forests
Report on adoption of alternative silvicultural systems in Britain