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Research Report
Andrew Price
Shake (internal splitting of the wood in a growing tree) is believed to affect and devalue around one-fifth of British oak crops. There is currently no fully reliable method to identify the defect in standing trees, or to predict vulnerable sites and stands without local knowledge and historical data. Shake may appear on any site, even those with the fewest natural hazards. The purpose of this review is to enable the riskiest sites to be identified and avoided for new planting and to help lower risk sites be managed in order to minimise their potential for shake.
A4 | 28 pages | colour | online only
Stock code:FCRP024
Research Report
John Moore
Sitka spruce is the main conifer species grown in Great Britain and the commercial wood products industry is primarily based on this species. Wood from Sitka spruce is sawn into timber for use in construction, pallets/packaging and fencing, and is also used in the production of paper and panel products. Research into the wood properties and performance of products made from Sitka spruce has been undertaken in Great Britain for almost 90 years by a number of organisations and the results from this research are contained in a large number of published and unpublished sources.

This report collates and synthesises this research and is written for forest scientists, engineers, wood processors, and end users of wood products who are seeking a better understanding of the material properties and potential end uses of Sitka spruce. It is divided into three parts: (1) the origins of Sitka spruce, its introduction into Great Britain and its growth and management in this country; (2)
Sitka spruce wood properties, including wood anatomy, general wood structure, and physical and mechanical properties; and (3) an overview of the end products that are currently produced from Sitka spruce or that could potentially be produced in the future.
A4 | 56 pages | Colour |
Stock code:FCRP015
Forestry Commission
The aim of this guide is to encourage greater use of UK grown hardwoods. It provides information on the range of quality available from our sawn hardwood timber and highlights the special features of UK grown hardwoods that are often difficult to obtain from imports. The guide also gives information on timber measurement, the properties and uses of UK hardwoods, and an illustrated technical glossary.
A4 | colour | 48 pages
Stock code:FCMS110
This booklet seeks to raise the awareness of architects, designers and specifiers of the historical precendents, availability and current potential uses of Scottish wood.
Colour booklet | online only
Stock code:FCMS103
Research Note
David Gil-Moreno, Dan Ridley-Ellis, Paul McLean
The softwood processing sector in Great Britain has been built around the use of a very small number of timber-producing species – predominantly Sitka spruce. The recent increase in outbreaks of host-specific tree pests and diseases has led to an interest in diversification, through planting a wider range of tree species, to mitigate any risk to the softwood resource. However, there is a lack of evidence about how this diversification will impact on the future merchantability of timber. This Research Note investigates the structural timber properties of noble fir, Norway spruce, western red cedar and western hemlock grown in Great Britain and compares the results with published values for British-grown Sitka spruce. The study was carried out using timber from even-aged plantations growing in a range of latitudes representative of productive conifer forests. Twenty-seven trees per species were felled, processed into structural-sized battens, kiln dried and destructively tested in a laboratory according to current European standards. Characteristic values of mechanical properties and density were determined and indicative yields for different strength classes were calculated. The results showed that all of the species investigated can produce structural timber, but that western red cedar has the least desirable properties for this purpose. Some further work is under way in order to investigate the effect of rotation length on the timber properties of these species.
A4 | 6 pages | colour | online only
Stock code:FCRN026
Research Note
Elspeth Macdonald, Thomas Connolly, Barry A Gardiner, John Moore
Timber production from Scots pine forests in Great Britain is forecast to increase over the next 15 years. This Research Note presents the results of a project to develop and test methods for assessing the quality of Scots pine timber from measurements on trees and logs. Six stands of Scots pine growing in the north of Scotland were studied to evaluate the potential of different non-destructive assessment methods (stem straightness score, various branch indices, and
portable acoustic tools) for predicting log grade out-turn, sawn timber appearance grade and mechanical properties.
A4 | 8 pages | colour
Stock code:FCRN005
Technical Note
Shaun Mochan, Thomas Connolly, John Moore
The demands for sustainably produced wood as a raw material for a variety of end uses is placing increased pressure on the forest resource in the UK. Knowledge of the timber properties of trees and logs is important to ensure that harvested wood is directed to its most appropriate end use. Current harvesting practice in the UK means that trees are often felled, processed and dried before the timber is strength graded by machines at the sawmill. This process can be inefficient if timber destined for structural uses is later found to be unsuitable; downgrading may incur significant financial and environmental costs. The use of acoustic technology to predict the mechanical properties of timber is a well-established practice overseas. Recent advances in technology and the development of portable instruments mean that wood can now be assessed in standing trees before they are felled. Trials in the UK have shown that it is possible to relate measurements of acoustic velocity in standing trees and logs to the mechanical properties of timber cut from them. This gives the potential to segregate material for different end uses in the forest, at the roadside or in the sawmill.
A4 | 6 pages | colour
Stock code:FCTN018
Research Note
Shaun Mochan, Barry A Gardiner, Steve Lee
The increase in timber volume gained from planting improved Sitka spruce stock has been estimated to be between 21% and 29% at the end of a rotation. This Research Note presents the results of new research designed to investigate the impact of improved Sitka spruce stock on quality characteristics which determine the quantity of green sawlogs in the forest and construction-grade timber in the sawmill. The study was carried out using trees close to rotation age from a trial of improved Sitka spruce at Kershope Forest in Cumbria. A number of characteristics relating to growth rate and timber quality were assessed on the standing trees in the forest and the sawn timber obtained from the trees after felling. The volume of green sawlogs and sawn timber meeting the strength classes C16 and C24 was calculated. Three improved lots with respectively the highest wood density, fastest growth rate and best stem form were compared with a control of unimproved Sitka spruce of Queen Charlotte Island (QCI) origin. The results at both the individual tree and per hectare level showed increased sawn timber volumes from improved planting stock without deterioration in construction grade strength requirements. In the best progeny, increases of up to 130% in both green sawlog volume and sawn timber volumes per hectare were predicted with equivalent mechanical properties to the QCI stock.
A4 leaflet | full colour | 6 pages
Stock code:FCRN003

Timber Measurement

Field Guide
Ewan D Mackie, Robert W Matthews
Timber measurement was first published in 1983 as Booklet 49. Its punchy, practical style proved popular with practitioners trying to work out how to take basic measurements on trees and timber and apply standard forest mensuration procedures in the field. This revised edition has been produced primarily to achieve consistency with the second edition of Forest Mensuration: a handbook for practitioners. The new edition includes a number of significant changes, including a revised section on weight measurement. The section on abbreviated tariffing has been amended for consistency with Forest Mensuration: a handbook for practitioners. The opportunity has also been taken to make small refinements to the information in all sections to improve clarity and, in a departure from the original format, a number of decision trees have been included to help guide users through the various methods and procedures.
A5 spiral bound | 66 pages | 2 colour
Stock code:FCFG002

Roundwood and sawlog volume tables

Field Guide
Forestry Commission
This publication combines and replaces Forestry Commission Field Book 1: Top diameter sawlog tables and Forestry Commission Field Book 11: Mid diameter volume tables. The top diameter method for assessing volume is restricted to groups of sawlogs, preferably of uniform length up to 8.4 m. Volume determination using the mid diameter method is traditionally used for assessing timber lengths such as sawlogs, selected poles and billets. Further information on the choice of volume assessment method can be found in Forest Mensuration: a handbook for practitioners where these tables are reproduced.
A5 spiral bound | 50 pages | 2 colour
Stock code:FCFG003
J. Jobling
The eleven chapters comprising this Bulletin cover the botany, cultivation, performances and utilisation of poplars and poplar timber. The genus Populus comprises some 32 species classified according to their botanical characters into five sections and one sub-section. Of these, the sections Aigeiros (the black poplars) and Tacamahaca (the balsam poplars) are of commercial significance to poplar growers in Britain and Europe. The species are described in Chapter 2 together with all the hybrids and cultivars thought to have been or to be noteworthy in Britain. The species are described first within their respective sections followed by their specific cultivars and then by the hybrids within and between sections. In Chapter 3 a key attempts to assist the field recognition of most of the commercially important poplars grown in Britain based on morphological characters and crown form. In Chapter 4 the choice of sites suitable for poplar cultivation is explained, with advice on the field recognition of both suitable and unsuitable sites. Plant production is covered in Chapter 5 which describes the main methods and vegetative and seedling reproduction and nursery practice. The next two chapters cover the silviculture of poplars including establishment and tending practices in Britain and Europe and, in Chapter 7, recommendations on spacing, thinning and pruning to meet various objectives. Rates of growth of poplars under various conditions are discussed in Chapter 8 with examples of some outstanding cultivars and with summaries of research data currently available on yields for biomass and timber. In Chapter 9 the use of poplars in association with farming is described with particular reference to the development of agroforestry practice in Britain during the 1960s and 70s. The characteristics and properties of poplar timber and its uses are then described. The final chapter provides a general description of the more important insect pests, fungal and bacterial diseases of poplar. The Bulletin concludes with a short reference list, appendices and indexes.
190 x 250mm | 100 pages | colour photographs
Stock code:FCBU092
T. Harding
This Bulletin provides the information for specifiers and users to make maximum use of the increasing British resource of softwoods. Its main purpose is to establish the link between requirements for current and potential end-uses and the properties and performance of these commercially important timbers. A guide to the properties of the individual species is also given for those readers whose main interest is in the timber itself, or in comparisons between species, rather than in specific uses.
190 x 250mm | 46 pages | colour photographs
Stock code:FCBU077
J.R. Aldhous, A.J. Low
This report is the result of the work of staff from many sections within the Forestry Commission and of the Princes Risborough Laboratory of the Building Research Establishment, Department of the Environment. In 1967 it was decided to undertake a comprehensive evaluation of the status and potential of the four most important “minor species” in British forestry, Western hemlock, Western red cedar, Grand fir and Noble fir. This report is based on the results of detailed assessments in stands selected to represent different sites and growth rates over the country as a whole, as far as this was possible from the limited range of stands of some minor species. These data have been combined with results from over 150 silvicultural experiments. Information on timber properties has also been summarised, using reports from Princes Risborough Laboratory (formerly Forest Products Research Laboratory) as an important source.
185 x 250mm | 132 pages | black and white
Stock code:FCBU049
Management handbook
R.W. Matthews, T.A.R. Jenkins, E.D. Mackie, E.C. Dick
Yield models are one of the foundations of forest management. They provide information about the patterns of tree growth and potential productivity that can be expected in forest stands of different tree species, with varying growth rates, when managed in different ways. Yield models are in daily use by forest managers and practitioners when making decisions about the future management of a forest – whether it is an individual stand of trees or a whole estate. They are also applied when forecasting future levels of production, when making commitments to supply timber markets, and for planning and scheduling forest operations. The outputs of yield models support many other calculations and models relevant to the evaluation of forests and forestry. These include analyses of the development of forest structure at the stand and landscape scales, the modelling of timber and wood properties, the estimation of forest biomass and carbon stocks, the modelling of forest greenhouse gas balances and the economic evaluation of forest policies and forest management options. This handbook is designed for those who would like to know more about the theory underpinning yield modelling. It will be of use to forest and woodland managers and practitioners, researchers and students.

The Forest Yield software is available from:

A5 | 96 pages | colour
Stock code:FCBK048

Forest mensuration: a handbook for practitioners

Management handbook
Forestry Commission
Forest Mensuration is an essential, practice-based handbook designed to help all those working in the timber trade and forestry understand how to measure trees and timber. Written for practitioners, researchers and students, this new edition aims to cut through some of the complexities of forest mensuration by providing a logical format and additional advice to help readers find the information they need more easily. A key to measurement procedures at the start of the book guides readers towards selecting appropriate methods of measurement. The Handbook includes a comprehensive set of charts, tables and equations alongside step-by-step guidance to help readers in applying procedures which currently represent best practice in British forestry.
Book | 330 pages | 2-colour
Stock code:FCBK039
Forestry Commission
The Forestry Commission Journal was introduced as a way to communicate information on a wide range of topics which could not be communicated through 'ordinary official channels', and was intended to be a means of exchanging the opinions and experiences of all members of the staff.

This thirty-first Journal includes information on: The Eighth British Commonwealth Forestry Conference, East Africa, 1962; A Tour in North Uganda and Kenya; Note on Forest Areas in the Samburu District by Kenya Forest Department; Farm Forests in Austria, with Special Reference to Styria; Protection Forests in Switzerland; A Study Tour in Holland; A Visit to Denmark and Holland; Report on Rationalisation Course in Arnhem, Holland; Royal Scottish Forestry Society: 65th Annual Excursion to Perthshire,1962; The Royal Forestry Society of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland: Meeting at Cardiff; Problems of Soil Erosion and Stabilisation in Coastal Areas; Forestry and Landscape; Forestry at the John Colet Secondary School, Wendover, Bucks.; Opening of Hendre D du Log Cabin for the Outward Bound Sea School, Aberdovey; The New Shepherds; Game Fair, 1962; Visitors and Visiting: A Forester’s Other Duties; Reflections of an Auditor; Changing Times; Cartoon: Busy Beavers; Work Study Week at South Strome Forest; Maintenance of Power Saw Chains; A Method of Tool Storage; The Ledmore Mounted Lining-Out Plough, Mark III; Extracts from “Forest Products Research 1961”; Properties of 30-37 Year Old Sitka Spruce Timber: Extracts from The Forest Products Laboratory Bulletin; More Mighty Oaks; A Day in the Forest; The White Buck of Cannock Chase; Cartoon: Swinging The Cat!; Pine Cone Collection: Thetford, South District, 1962; Corsican Pine Cone Collection at Sherwood, Delamere and Cannock; Notes on Corsican Pine Cone Collection at Delamere Forest, 1961—1962; Coypu.

155 x 245mm | 176 pages | black and white
Stock code:FCJO031
Information Note
Shaun Mochan
A4 leaflet | full colour | online only
Stock code:FCIN070
Information Note
Bruce Walker
A4 leaflet | 2 colour
Stock code:FCIN042
Information Note
Una Lee
A4 leaflet | 2 colour
Stock code:FCIN043
Information Note
Elspeth Macdonald
A4 leaflet | 2 colour | online only
Stock code:FCIN039
Information Note
Janet Methley
A4 leaflet | 2 colour
Stock code:FCIN010
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Forestry Commission Publications (CST)
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Cheadle Heath
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