Publications on environment management for low impact silviculture

Publications about systems in use and best practice to promote the sustainable application of low impact silviculture

  • Report
    Project results including background detail, summarised study data and description of work.
  • Technical Note
    Summary results from extensive trials or publication related to smaller project.
  • Forestry Commission Project Report
    Summaries are given on this page. Depending on the status or the reports, additional information may be made available on request to the contact name shown against the respective summary.


Contact Michael Wall.

Technical Notes

Extraction route trials on sensitive sites (PDF-308K)
Technical Note 10
Forest and moorland fire suppression (PDF-2830K)
Technical Note 3
Planning controlled burning operations in forestry (PDF-1504K)
Technical Note 2
Protecting the environment during mechanised harvesting operations (PDF-1097K)
Technical Note 11

Forestry Commission Project Report

Ground preparation impact on soil carbon - Draft measurement protocol for mounds and excavations: Forestry Commission Project Report 18
One of the objectives in the project plan for Ground preparation impact on soil carbon (1200S/40/09) is to define a draft methodology for assessing/scoring soil disturbance in forestry ground preparation operations.

Lowland direct seeding – Ash: Forestry Commission Project Report 33
There is a need to identify the best methods for applying Forestry Commission guidelines for creating new native woodland by direct seeding at the farm scale, using existing or adapted agricultural equipment and techniques. Trials were carried out at Harper Adams University College over three years, and results indicated that commonly available equipment could be used to sow a range of tree seeds at the recommended rates and depth.

The third phase of trial, involving the sowing and incorporation of pre-treated ash seed, was carried out as a student project. The students’ report concluded that the machinery trialled in this project could be used to distribute untreated ash seed without modification, but that handling pretreated ash seed was more problematic.

The addition of an airflow and use of both fine and coarse carrier media improved the flow of treated seed, but further work would be required to develop a reliable system for sowing pretreated ash. The results of germination testing suggest that the system developed so far has no detrimental effect on seed germinability.

Contact Michael Wall.

Open ground habitat management: Forestry Commission Project Report 35
Throughout the Forestry Commission estate, woodland is being restored to open habitat where biodiversity benefits can be maximised, particularly where it complements existing open habitat. Existing open ground areas also require ongoing management. Additionally, integral open habitat, along road, ride-side and woodland edges provides a significant and valuable component of open habitat within forest. This report gives information on open ground habitat management, based on feedback from Forest District staff. Example management costs and outputs are shown wherever available.

Detailed information on controlled grazing is excluded to narrow the focus of the work, however the significance of grazing as a management technique has led to specific points of interest being included.

Operational experience of open habitat restoration shows benefits of: partnership working, use of volunteer labour, integration with conventional harvesting operations, and innovative use of specialist techniques as well as traditional methods such as controlled burning. Resources for managing open ground habitat are not abundant and therefore must be carefully targeted, assessment of the biodiversity value of sites is an important method being used for appropriate resource target.

Contact: Duncan Ireland

Environmental mitigation and enhancement operations Report (2003):
Forestry Commission Project Report 39
Technical Development was asked by the Forestry Commission Wales Wind Energy Programme (WEP) to provide information on, and approaches to, a range of mitigation and enhancement measures that may be associated with windfarm development. The costs for operations provided by the document should be treated as indicative and are likely to vary considerably with exact specifications and site conditions.

Rhododendron control – Lever and manual pull systems: Forestry Commission Project Report 12
The chainsaw (motor manual) and manual tools, such as axe and bow saw, are used to treat rhododendron in the British Isles. Using manual tools with stem levering techniques is described in Technical Development (TD) Internal Project Information Note (IPIN) 27/08 Rhododendron control: manual lever and mulch (Ireland 2009).

Mechanised systems are described in TD Report 02/96 Motor manual and mechanised rhododendron clearance (Murgatroyd 1996) and FCPR 002 Rhododendron control: mechanical methods (Saunders 2010).

Lever tools to extract woody weeds have been developed in North America, Australia and South Africa and these implements can be used to pull out single rhododendron stems.

The ‘Extractigator’ lever (Figure 1) was an effective tool for removing rhododendron stems on a site with a peaty soil horizon. The working method is simple and the design is based on a manual lever. The operator needs to be aware of manual handling and ergonomic working techniques. This implement is not CE marked but a controlled trial took place to test the concept for UK conditions.

The cost of the operation depends on rhododendron density and in this study, the cost of Extractigator method was £21.84/ha for stems with an average height of 2.14 m at 67 stems/ha and the manual pull cost was £16.68/ha for stems with an average height of 1.22 m at 64 stems per ha.

Contact: Colin Saunders

Rhododendron control – Mechanical methods treatment: Forestry Commission Project Report 2
Rhododendron ponticum can invade open ground and woodland, reducing habitat diversity and woodland regeneration.

Treatment and control of this invasive species is a concern for many land managers and it is also a recognised carrier of Phytophthora ramorum which can be passed on to live trees. Rhododendron can be managed with mechanical, manual and chemical methods. Forestry Commission policy on chemical reduction has affected some herbicide use. This report evaluates a Takeuchi TL 150 4.8 tonne skid-steered tracked loader fitted with a FAE UML 150 flail and a Kubota KX161-3Q 3 tonne excavator fitted a 7-forked uprooting tool.

The flail cut an access track into the crop which allowed greater inspection and access for the excavator. The flail was used to break and mulch the rhododendron stems. The flexibility of skid steer allowed the machine to manoeuvre to each side ensuring little damage was done to standing trees.

Contact: Colin Saunders

Water management – Discharge mapping interim report: Forestry Commission Project Report 4
There is a need to investigate remote sensing and mapping tools used to identify site sensitivities in catchment planning and to evaluate their suitability for, and limitations to their use at the site or coupe level. It is possible that the techniques used by FR and FCW staff to map stream networks and assess erosion potential in Wales could be combined with local rainfall data to produce a discharge map, with quantified flow rates, for an ‘at risk’ site. Field survey could then be carried out, to test the modelled discharge patterns and mapped stream network, compare predicted flow rates with actual stream dimensions, and identify where past forest operations such as ploughing and drainage may have affected the natural hydrology of the site.

Contact: Michael Wall.

What's of interest

These publications are produced by Technical Development.

Some (mainly older) publications are not available online. If you do not find what you are looking for, please contact: Michael Wall or phone 0300 067 6935.