Operational aspects of continuous cover silviculture

Practical implementation of silvicultural prescriptions.

View from the cab while using conventional harvesting machinery in CCF Removing branches from a felled tree with a chainsaw in dense natural regeneration Forwarder extracting logs in an area with dense natural regeneration


Provide forest managers with useful and relevant guidance on operational aspects of continuous cover silviculture.


A number of projects within the programme are examining the scientific basis for this type of silviculture and making recommendations on regeneration and stand interventions.  The main focus of this project is to produce guidance for forest mangers on how these recommendations can be put into practice using modern methods and equipment, within the current regulatory framework for forestry in Britain.

An important link for the project will be the 12 long-term, large scale CCF (Continuous Cover Forestry) demonstration woodlands established by the Forestry Commission since 2000 (McIntosh, 2000).  At one of these demonstration woodlands, Trallwm in Wales, a joint Forest Research/University of Wales study has been carried out with Professor Colin Price and Martin Price  (Price and Price, 2006).

In addition, there are many forest managers in the non-state sector who have valuable operation experience of managing forests in transformation or as CCF and it will be important for the project to make best use of this valuable expertise.

Current work areas

  • Review of operational experience in the Forestry Commission demonstration woodlands
  • Joint project with University of Wales, Bangor on the costs and economics of transformation to continuous cover silviculture
  • Study on the harvesting impacts on advance regeneration of Sitka spruce
  • Study on method development to improve harvester head visibility in dense natural regeneration
  • Study into operational aspects of overstorey removal in uniform shelterwood with harvester and forwarder and motor manual felling assistance
  • Guidance on harvesting operations on steep terrain, including considerations for CCF
  • Operational guidance on road and track provision for CCF: Case Study in Glentress Forest.

Main contact

Duncan Ireland


Ireland, D. (2009). Final Overstorey Removal Removal in Uniform Shelterwood (PDF-1265K). Forestry Commission Technical Development Internal Project Information Note 45/08. Technical Development, Ae Village.

Ireland, D. and Kerr, G. (2008). CCF Harvesting Method Development: Harvester Head Visibility (PDF-474K). Forestry Commission Technical Development Internal Project Information Note 10/08. Technical Development, Ae Village.

Ireland, D. (2007). Transformation Thinning in CCF with Advanced Natural Regeneration, Case Study: Clocaenog, North Wales. Forestry Commission Technical Development Internal Project Information Note 21/07. Technical Development, Ae Village.

Ireland, D. (2006). Operational Experience of Continuous Cover Forestry: UK Case Studies (PDF-5381K). Forestry Commission Technical Development Internal Project Information Note 13/06. Technical Development, Ae Village.

Price, M. and Price, C. (2006). Creaming the best, or creatively transforming? Might felling the biggest trees first be a win-win strategy?  Forest Ecology and Management 24(3): 252-257.

McIntosh, B. (2000). Role of continuous cover silvicultural systems in the management of the Forestry Commission estate. CCFG Newsletter 16: 5-9. Continuous Cover Forestry Group, Tyddyn Bach, Llanegryn, Tywyn, Gwynedd, LL36 9UF.