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hylobiusmss_montage.jpgA decision support system to help foresters predict and reduce damage and costs due to large pine weevil, Hylobius abietis.

Hylobius can cause extensive feeding damage to young trees used to restock clearfell sites, but damage is often highly variable. Previously it has not been possible to predict damage and so insecticides have been routinely used to protect the trees to try to safeguard this valuable young crop. However, on clearfells where Hylobius numbers are low this treatment may be unnecessary and conversely when numbers are very high the treatment may be unable to protect the trees. Both of these situations result in losses in valuable resources.

Aims of the Hylobius MSS

  • To help foresters plan future clearfell restocking strategies to minimise transplant damage by Hylobius
  • To help avoid unnecessary insecticide use and initial restock failure
  • To reduce top-up insecticide applications and beating up of destroyed transplants
  • To help users meet operational goals for restocking and satisfy requirements of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and UK Woodland Assurance Standard (UKWAS)
  • To reduce overall costs of restocking by helping managers make informed, site-specific decisions.

What is the Hylobius MSS?

  • User-friendly on-line software, based on Hylobius population size, that predicts damage to transplants on clearfells in advance of restocking
  • A decision support tool to allow foresters to investigate the best management strategies to reduce Hylobius damage, insecticide use and costs of restocking clearfells.


Reduced costs of restocking achieved primarily through reduced insecticide use and reduced beat ups.

The Hylobius MSS can be used to help decide on the:

  • Best time to restock sites to reduce damage
  • Type of transplants (treated or untreated)
  • Need to apply insecticide ‘top-ups’ and number of ‘top-ups’ required
  • Most effective timing of ‘top-ups’
  • Priority sites for ‘top-up’ operations in each year
  • Likely effects of Hylobius control programmes
  • Cost implications of these management strategies
  • Compliance with stated objectives of FSC and UKWAS
  • In the near future it will also be possible to predict the effectiveness of other transplant protection measures (e.g. tree guards).

The real power of the Hylobius MSS is that it is being developed to determine the effects of changes in management strategies both alone and in combination on a site-specific basis. It reduces the risks inherent in management practices based on assuming ‘average’ severity and duration of Hylobius attacks.

How it works

Basic site information, site operational costs (defaults available) and Hylobius monitoring data are input to the system. Once entered users can either investigate:

  • Their preferred management strategy to achieve successful restocking or
  • An ‘optimised’ strategy automatically generated by the Hylobius MSS software.

How can I access the Hylobius MSS?

The Hylobius MSS is available by annual subscription.

A condition of access to the Hylobius MSS is that users/user groups first undergo training in Hylobius monitoring and the use of the web-based system (see below).

Subsequently, Hylobius MSS users must register and pay for access to the system and this will also ensure subsequent software and technical support. During registration each user (or user group) will have to inform Forest Research of the number of sites they wish to manage using the system which can be carried over from one year to the next.

Once subscription has been confirmed a username and password will be issued and these are required to log onto the system for entry and retrieval of clearfell site management information from the system servers.

Once registered on the system you access the system.


Hylobius Management Support System (MSS) subscription charges

Why are there subscription charges for Hylobius MSS?

Forest Research has developed the Hylobius MSS over a number of years and has absorbed the system development costs. However, now that this stage is complete, there will be a modest subscription charge to cover administration, maintenance of servers, subscriber accounts and help facilities required for delivery to end-users. Managers will quickly recognise that the cost savings from the improved management of Hylobius using the system should more than offset the subscription charges.

Subscription rates 2023/24

Subscription charges for use of the system are shown in the table below.

Number of sites managed Total cost
0 (access only) £220 + VAT
1 to 5 £444 + VAT
6 to 10 £660 + VAT
11 to 15 £876 + VAT
16 to 20 £1080 + VAT
21 to 30 £1512 + VAT
31 to 40 £1932 + VAT
41 to 50 £2364 + VAT

Indicative Cost/ha is £5.55 + VAT for 5 sites to £2.96 + VAT for 50 sites (assumes average clearfell is 16ha.).

The more clearfell sites that are managed by the user (or user group) the lower the overall cost/ha of managing clearfells using the Hylobius MSS. This can be calculated from the table (total cost/ (no. of sites x average size)) and is explained on the FAQ.

Customers should consider how many sites they wish to manage within the Hylobius MSS and purchase sufficient for their requirements. Additional sites can be purchased at any time.

If more sites are purchased than used in a single year these will be carried over to subsequent years indefinitely.

The system will automatically prevent further clearfell entries once the purchased subscription limit has been reached.

Help and Training


Training has historically taken place annually in April/May and July just prior to the times when population monitoring should be carried out. Details of upcoming courses will be published on Forest Research’s events pages.

We hope to develop on-line training documentation in the future.

Monitoring package

The billet monitoring element of the Hylobius MSS can also be offered by Forest Research Technical Services Unit.

Where can I find out more about the Hylobius MSS?

Act now to register your interest in using the Hylobius MSS software which is now available by subscription.

Contact the Forest Research Hylobius MSS Team to subscribe or discuss your requirements and any questions you may have.

To register and subscribe or to discuss your requirements and answer your questions contact:

Dr Roger Moore

FAQ’s about the Hylobius Management Support System (MSS)

Why are there subscription charges for Hylobius MSS?

Forest Research incurs costs associated with managing, running and delivering the system to users. The costs incurred by Forest Research include ‘fixed’ costs such as administration and server charges and ‘variable’ costs such as software support and technical support which will be variable dependent on the level of uptake of the system by the users. The total cost will be the sum of ‘fixed’ and ‘variable’ costs.

What can I do to help reduce the cost/ha of subscription charges?

To keep costs low for users the proportion of the ‘fixed’ costs allocated to individual users will be based on the predicted number of subscribers in the first year and then the actual number of subscribers in subsequent years. As uptake of the system by the forest industry increases this should lower the ‘fixed’ costs over time for individual users. As ‘fixed’ costs tend to be higher than ‘variable’ costs the greater the number of sites managed by individual users (or user groups) in a given year, the lower the impact of the fixed costs in that year. The benefit of this is that it translates into a lower overall cost/ha as the number of sites that are managed using the system increases (see table of subscription rates).

Will subscription charges for the Hylobius MSS change?

Forest Research reserve the right to vary annual subscription charges. Any changes to these charges will be dependent on the number of groups using the system in the previous year and the changes to Forest Research’s fixed and variable costs associated with running the system. New charging structures will be advertised on these web pages and will normally be updated annually in March.

Why use web-based delivery?

The benefits of a web-based system include: reduced production and distribution costs, easy upgrading of software (i.e. inclusion of newly developed features without the need to redistribute), centralised secure data storage and easy feedback mechanisms and access to support for the registered users.

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