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Practice Guide
Forestry Commission
Atmospheric pollution in the form of acid deposition has been dramatically reduced since international controls on emissions were introduced in the 1980s. However, acidification still affects acid-sensitive regions of the UK, damaging fisheries and causing adverse ecological changes in freshwaters. Forestry is known to influence the degree of acidification, principally due to the ability of forest canopies to capture more acid sulphur and nitrogen pollutants from the atmosphere than other types of vegetation. As a result, there is a need to manage forestry within vulnerable areas to ensure that it does not lead to increased acidification or delay the recovery of waters to Good Ecological Status. This Practice Guide describes the measures that can be taken to minimise adverse impacts and provides a methodology for determining whether new planting, restocking or felling proposals could pose a risk to freshwaters. It includes maps showing the locations of vulnerable areas and decision trees to guide those involved with woodland creation or the felling and restocking of existing forests in affected areas through the steps of catchment-based critical load and site impact assessments.

Digital maps showing catchments vulnerable to acidification are also available online.

A4 | colour | 32 pages
Stock code:FCPG023
Research Report
Mariella Marzano, Norman Dandy
Forests are popular places for recreation, but some activities can have negative impacts on wildlife. Land managers have to balance delivery of the social and economic benefits derived from outdoor recreation with nature conservation objectives. This literature review provides an overview of potential disturbance issues and a guide to the evidence on impacts from walking, cycling, horse riding, off-road vehicle use, camping, and other recreational activities that take place in forests. Greatest attention has been directed towards walking, and impacts on soils, vegetation and birdlife. Much of the literature focuses on the physical characteristics of disturbance but there is little social scientific analysis of recreational users, for example on how their values and awareness relate to disturbance, or wider social factors that influence where, when and whether impacts occur. An holistic approach to understanding and managing the interaction of recreation and forest wildlife is needed, which links ecological studies with social data.
A4 | 40 pages | colour | online only
Stock code:FCRP020
Research Report
James Morison, Robert W Matthews
Forests and woodlands represent a substantial stock of carbon that is contained in soil, trees and other vegetation. They are a key component of the global carbon cycle and their effective management, at both global and regional scales, is an important mechanism for reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Understanding what determines the size of forest and woodland carbon stocks, and the processes and controls on the exchanges of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, is critical in helping the forestry sector to contribute to reducing anthropogenic climate change. The objective of this review is to provide that understanding by summarising key information on carbon stocks in British forests, the fluxes of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, how these are affected by changes as trees grow, and how they are affected by forest operations and other forest management decisions. This report will be of interest to forest managers, policymakers and researchers involved in estimating and understanding forest carbon and greenhouse balances, particularly in British conditions, how the balances can be affected by management, and what the limitations are to our knowledge.
A4 | 149 pages | colour | online only
Stock code:FCRP018
Practice Guide
I Willoughby
UK Government and European policy is to minimise pesticide use as far as possible. Covering pest, disease, vegetation and wildlife management, and based upon the latest research, Reducing Pesticide Use in Forestry can help forestry practitioners to assess the impact of any problem and select a non-chemical solution. Two simple flowcharts summarise the decision process and link to comprehensive reference material in the rest of the guide. If pesticide use is unavoidable, the guide should help managers to keep chemical use to the minimum level necessary consistent with good practice while at the same time reducing the risk of damage to the environment.
Spare copies of Decision Recording Sheet and the Optional Decision Aid [to assist in balancing the possible non-target effects of pesticides] are available to download here as pdf files:
Decision recording sheet
Optional decision aid
A4 | 140 pages | full colour
Stock code:FCPG015
Research Note
Joan Cottrell, Stuart A'Hara, Ken Adams
Black poplar is Great Britain’s rarest native hardwood and there is considerable interest in conserving the genetic diversity present in the remaining population. However, multiplication by vegetative propagation has led to issues in identifying and selecting genetically diverse native planting material. The ability to use DNA markers to identify poplars at the level of the individual enables conservation efforts to be directed to deploy and maintain the current genetic diversity. This Research Note summarises the results from the DNA fingerprinting of 811 non-hybrid black poplars which identified a total of 87 clones. The results split the British black poplar clones into two groups, a small group which contains individuals with a large number of rare alleles (rare alleles are DNA variants occurring at a low frequency in a population) and a larger group containing less diversity and the more common alleles. In terms of their geographical distribution, some clones had a restricted distribution whereas others were widespread. The results highlight that the British native black poplar population has clearly been influenced by human intervention and, due to a number of historical factors it rarely acts as a naturally sexually regenerating species. Black poplar needs to regenerate sexually if it is to respond to environmental changes and management should aim to provide the conditions required for seed germination. DNA-based clonal identification can be utilised to ensure the current genetic diversity in the British population is protected into the future.
A4 | 16 pages | colour | online only
Stock code:FCRN034
Research Note
Alice Broome, R.J. Fuller, P.E. Bellamy, M.P. Eichhorn, R.M.A. Gill, R. Harmer, G. Kerr, G.M. Siriwardena
This research consisted of a literature review and field study which investigated woodland management for birds within lowland broadleaved woodlands in Britain. The research considered the effect of woodland management (silvicultural intervention and control of deer browsing) on vegetation structure, and the relationships between vegetation structure and woodland birds. Based on habitat–bird relationships, a classification of six woodland stand structures (A–F) related to their value to birds, and a framework to help understand and manage woodland development to deliver these structures were created. The field study, which was conducted in England and Wales, showed that woodlands are predominantly mature or late thicket stands, with low structural heterogeneity (type E – closed canopy, few strata), and silvicultural interventions are primarily mid to late rotational thinning. Such interventions lead to a uniform stand structure and reduced stem and understorey density. High deer browsing pressure also reduces understorey density. Study results showed these vegetation structures to be less favourable to the target bird species who were instead found to be associating with the structures predicted from the literature as being favourable. This suggests that vegetation structures for birds can be described, and if provided, bird populations could be enhanced. The frequently occurring woodland structure type E is of least value to woodland birds. Woodland managers are encouraged to move type E stands towards other types to help meet bird conservation objectives.
A4 | 12 pages | colour | online only
Stock code:FCRN028
Research Note
John Calladine, Alice Broome, Robert J. Fuller
Stand structure is an important determinant of habitat quality for forest biodiversity and is influenced by management. In conifer plantations, the varied structure created within a stand by continuous cover forestry (CCF) systems has been expected to be better for woodland birds than the range of discrete stand structures created through rotations of clearfelling and replanting (CFR). This study compared the number of breeding bird species (species richness) and their abundance within Sitka spruce stands which have been managed under CCF and by CFR. The study showed that species richness within CCF stands was higher than in CFR but young growth stages of CFR were important for some birds. Bird species richness is further influenced by the presence of a woody understorey or scrub vegetation structure. When stand types were ranked by species richness alone, CCF with a shrubby understorey was the most species rich, followed by CCF without a shrubby understorey, with young CFR and then older CFR being the least species rich. Modelling scenarios were used to test the effect of changing proportions of CCF and CFR in the landscape on the abundance of selected species. Designing a landscape which includes both CFR and CCF could prove to be a strategy for achieving optimal bird richness and abundance, as conditions for scrub-dependent species and the high structural diversity important for bird species associated with older stands are maintained.
A4 | 6 pages | colour | online only
Stock code:FCRN025
Research Note
T R Nisbet
Forests and forest management practices can affect surface water acidification in a number of ways. The primary mechanism is the ability of tree canopies to capture more sulphur and nitrogen pollutants from the atmosphere than other types of vegetation. Pollutant scavenging is expected to have peaked in the 1970s when emissions were greatest and led to surface waters draining catchments dominated by forestry being more acidic. The introduction of emission control policies in the 1980s has achieved major improvements in air quality and studies show forest sites to be recovering in line with their moorland counterparts. However, forest streams remain more impacted, requiring continued restrictions on new tree planting and restocking. Tree planting can influence acidification by the scavenging of acid deposition, base cation uptake, the scavenging and concentration of sea salts, soil drying and the formation of an acid litter layer at the soil surface. Cultivation, drainage and road building, fertiliser use, felling and harvesting, and restocking also have effects. This Research Note considers each of these factors in turn and assesses the role of tree species, planting scale and design. It covers the identification and protection of vulnerable areas, use of critical load and site impact assessments, research and monitoring, and measures to promote recovery. Continued monitoring will be essential to demonstrate whether current measures remain fit for purpose and guide the development of good practice.
A4 | 16 pages | colour
Stock code:FCRN016
Research Note
Russell Anderson
The value of peat bogs as open habitats and stores of carbon may be lost if they are planted with trees. The number of bogs being restored is increasing but still modest in scale relative to the area of afforested peatland. Research is currently being carried out to determine the feasibility and methodology for restoring afforested bogs. Two experiments were set up to compare a range of methods for managing trees and drainage. In the blanket bog experiment, treatments that involved both felling trees and damming plough furrows were more successful than others in terms of raising the water table. Bog vegetation recovered rapidly in the felled treatments, particularly those with furrows dammed. In the lowland raised bog experiment, the water table rose dramatically in all treatments. Only during a prolonged dry summer was there a difference between treatments, the water table falling deeper in the whole-tree removal than in the fell-to-waste treatment, with conventional harvesting intermediate. Bog vegetation recovered best in the whole-tree removal treatments and least well in the fell-to-waste treatments. Felling is necessary for restoring afforested bogs, but removing lop and top is not. Damming plough furrows can help to restore blanket bog but damming main drains may suffice on lowland raised bogs. Damming furrows is ineffective if the peat is severely cracked. Tree seedlings often colonise bogs undergoing restoration – removing brash mats after harvesting and periodic maintenance should reduce this problem.
A4 leaflet | 8 pages | colour
Stock code:FCRN006
Technical Paper
Graham D Pyatt
'Applying the Ecological Site Classification in the lowlands' is an illustrated case study of the New Forest Inclosures, which cover an area of 8500 hectares in southern Britain.
The Ecological Site Classification (ESC) model is a PC-based decision support system for forest managers. It is designed to match key site factors with the ecological requirements of different tree species and woodland communities (as defined in the National Vegetation Classification) anywhere in Britain. This publication is still available in hardcopy.
A4 | 28 pages | black & white + colour section
Stock code:FCTP033
Technical Paper
Ian Willoughby, David Clay
This Technical Paper updates information in Forestry Commission Field Book 8 The use of herbicides in the forest. It provides a summary of recent Forestry Commission research findings concerning the use of herbicides in forestry, and also explains relevant changes in legislation and approved products.

Key herbicides cited in this publication:
atrazine, cyanazine, cycloxydim, clopyralid, dichlobenil, diflufenican, glufosinateammonium, glyphosate, lenacil, metamitron, metazachlor, napropamide, oxadiazon, pendimethalin, propyzamide, simazine.

Note: This is an archive publication. Always consult the most recent guidance for up-to-date information.

This publication is no longer available in hardcopy.
A4 | 50 pages | black & white + colour section | online only
Stock code:FCTP028
Graham Pyatt, Duncan Ray, Jane Fletcher
Ecological Site Classification (ESC) will help forest managers to select tree species, and to make related decisions based on an appreciation of the ecological potential of sites. The classification focuses on the key factors of site that influence tree growth, and that are important to the rest of the ecosystem. This site-orientated approach to tree species selection will assist users to practise sustainable forestry. For example, by selecting species suitable to a site it w ill discourage the approach of selecting a species and then altering site conditions by excessive ground preparation and fertilizer applications. The multi-dimensional approach to site classification, assessing four climate and two soil factors, is similar to that adopted in the Biogeoclimatic Ecosystem Classification (BEC) of British Columbia. However, unlike BEC, it is applicable to all kinds of woodlands, from plantations of a single species through to semi-natural woodlands, as well as to many kinds of non-wooded land. The close link between ESC and the National Vegetation Classification (NVC) provides clear evidence of the ecological requirements of different vegetation communities on a given site. This Bulletin contains a full description of the methodology behind ESC, and provides an explanatory foundation for users of the software ESC-DSS. It is recommended reading for forest managers, woodland owners, academics, students and others concerned with the ecological potential of site types in Britain.
190 x 250mm | 100 pages | colour figures
Stock code:FCBU124
Richard Ferris, Clive Carter
This Bulletin provides information on the ecological value and management of rides, roadsides and edge habitats. Part One describes the ecology of edges and open areas. It looks at their value in both semi-natural and plantation woodland, and discusses the influences of light and microclimate, vegetation succession and wildlife. Part Two provides a guide to edge management options, including practical advice on strategy, design, maintenance of vegetation zones and monitoring.
190 x 250mm | 104 pages | colour photographs
Stock code:FCBU123
Field Book
Ian Willoughby, Jim Dewar
A comprehensive account of chemical weed control techniques for use in forestry. Covers pesticide legislation, safety precautions and good working practices, herbicides for use against specific weed vegetation types, farm forestry weed control, protective clothing and personal equipment, application equipment and output guides, lists of herbicides and manufacturers, sources of advice, and an index of weeds and chemicals. This publication is still available in hard copy.

Note: This is an archive publication. Always consult the most recent guidance for up-to-date information.

136 x 234mm | 150 pages | black & white
Stock code:FCFB008
J.R. Aldhous, W.L. Mason
This Bulletin, written by experts in their field, describes techniques involved in successful production of bare-rooted and cell- (small container-) grown stock of the tree species most widely planted in United Kingdom forestry. The subjects covered include: formation of new nurseries; maintenance of the fertility of existing nurseries; procurement of seed; production of seedlings and transplants; production of cell-grown planting stock; the role of mycorrhizas; vegetative propagation; irrigation; weed control; control of diseases and insect and other pests; plant storage and handling; legislation affecting nursery management. References are given to supplementary sources of information. This publication is still available in hardcopy.
190 x 250mm | 296 pages | colour photographs
Stock code:FCBU111
P.R. Ratcliffe, B.A. Mayle
Roe deer are distributed widely in Great Britain and are managed for a number of reasons including the reduction of impact on trees and vegetation and their exploitation as a game species. Population data, especially on survivorship, on which to base management plans, are difficult to obtain and have previously been unavailable. This Bulletin gives a brief account of roe deer biology, insofar as this affects their management. It proposes a management strategy and methodology, based on deer numbers, population dynamics and habitat changes, and measurement of their impact on trees and other vegetation. Examples of population models are presented to illustrate the considerable regulatory effect of juvenile mortality on roe deer populations. The high levels of juvenile mortality appear to have been under-estimated previously, and consequently culling levels aimed at preventing population increases have been over-estimated. It appears that culls of the order of 15-25% will prevent many British roe deer populations increasing in size.
190 x 250mm | 44 pages | colour photographs
Stock code:FCBU105
R. Ferris-Kaan, G.S. Patterson
Monitoring should be an integral part of conservation management in forests. It provides managers with information on the status and trend of species or habitats, and indicates whether specific goals have been achieved. Vegetation assessments can be used to monitor habitat quality as well as plant and species composition. Plants can be more easily monitored than many animals. This Bulletin provides advice on setting objectives and selecting appropriate parameters for measurement when monitoring vegetation. The need for sufficiently rigorous sampling is discussed, and measurement methods are outlined. Techniques for data interpretation are given and approaches to monitoring in different situations are described. This publication is still available in hardcopy.
190 x 250mm | 44 pages | black and white
Stock code:FCBU108
C.M.A Taylor, P.M. Tabbush
On moorland and heathland soils in Great Britain nitrogen deficiency can severely restrict the growth of certain conifer species, including Sitka spruce, the main commercial species. Until the 1970s this was thought to be due solely to competition from heather and was commonly known as 'heather check’. However, increased planting of Sitka spruce on very nutrient-poor soils revealed that, even after removal of heather by herbicide treatment, growth was still limited by low availability of nitrogen. This can be caused by limited soil nitrogen capital and/or slow rate of nitrogen mineralisation. Application of nitrogen fertiliser can overcome this deficiency although several applications may be required to achieve full canopy closure. Once this stage is reached demand for nutrients is reduced due to shading of competing vegetation, improved nutrient cycling and capture of atmospheric nutrients and further inputs of nitrogen should not be required. The major difficulty facing forest managers in determining the treatment of a nitrogen deficient stand is deciding whether heather control, application of nitrogen fertiliser, or a combination of both, will yield the most cost-effective response on any given site. This Bulletin explains the background to the problem, categorises the range of site types involved, and advises on the treatment available. This Bulletin is still available in hardcopy.
190 x 250mm | 36 pages | colour photographs
Stock code:FCBU089

Managing Native Broadleaved Woodland

Management handbook
Ralph Harmer, Gary Kerr, Richard Thompson

Native woodlands occupy an important place in both our countryside and cultural heritage. They are managed to provide timber and other wood products but nowadays are often equally valued as habitats for wildlife and areas for recreation. The aim of this handbook is to provide advice that will help owners and managers understand and manage native broadleaved woodlands. A wide variety of subjects are covered, from identifying woodland communities and management planning, to silvicultural techniques, nature conservation and vegetation management – including the use of grazing animals. The background and principles of each topic are explained and case studies are used throughout. Interactions between site characteristics and historic management are also considered in relation to future management options. The handbook also highlights the questions that managers should ask, when considering management options for their woodlands, that take account of location, site characteristics and objectives.

Please note this publication is only available to buy from TSO
T: +44 (0)870 600 5522

B5 book | 510 pages | colour
Stock code:FCBK003
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-fourth Journal includes information on: A tour of Finnish forests; Notes on the Sixth F.A.O. Study Tour—Rumania. 6th—17th June, 1965; Report on four weeks’ visit to Hannoversch— Miinden Seed Testing Station, West Germany, 31st May to 25th June, 1965; The Czech Forestry and Game Management Research Institute;Tree pruning: International Labour Office course at Arnhem, Holland; A working visit to Germany;Society of Foresters’ annual excursion, Northern Ireland, September, 1965; Royal Forestry Society—Northern Ireland excursion. 9th to 14th May, 1965; Report on Royal Forestry Society’s tour of Northern Ireland, 9th to 14th May, 1965; Royal Scottish Forestry Society. 68th annual excursion to West Scotland, 1965 held from 10th May to 14th May; 68th annual meeting and excursion of the Royal Scottish Forestry Society; Conifers in Alaska; Soil reaction and tree seedling growth; Machine lining out. The super prefer transplanter; The Delamere wire netting roller; More notes on nursery undercutting; A technique for preparation of peat moss for planting; Soil preparation and tree growth on heathland soils: The rigg and furr system; Can glass and metal containers start forest fires?; Northern Ireland forest fire statistics for forest years 1962-65; Forest protection and wildlife conservation (mammals and birds); A big stag from Thetford; The Thetford high seat; Forestry, fishing and finance; Some problems on fishery improvement on small streams; Protection forest for fishery in Japan; Wildlife studies: Black grouse, ptarmigan, golden eagles and roe deer; Gone west with the rabbits; Sap sucking by the greater spotted woodpecker in the Forest of Dean; The Forestry Commission builds 200 miles of road a year; The Abreshwiller Forest tramway; When the balloon goes up; Markets for poplar timber and bark; The psychological image of wood; Plywood, fibreboard and wood chipboard; The preservation of western red cedar shingles; Rings per inch in conifers; Land use policy; Private woodlands and national forests in the eleven Forestry Commission Conservancies, 1965; Work study in forestry; Accidents in forestry work in the Netherlands; Acid peats and associated vegetation types; The origin of hill and dale; A salute to Dr. William Schlich, forestry pioneer; A history of Kentish Woodlands; History of forest officers in East England, 1921 to 1965;The oak tree in Dean Forest history; Oak in the Dean Forest, Gloucestershire: Records of growth from 1784 to 1884; Bog butter: another explanation; Public response to forest recreation in Northern Ireland; Abbott’s Wood pond; Poetry; Book reviews.

155 x 245mm | 00 pages | black and white
Stock code:FCJO034
Forest History
W.R. Day, R.G. Sanzen-Baker
A history of the condition of tree crops at Llandover and Llantrisant forests containing an introduction, past history of sites, history of policy and management, previous reports, topography, climate, geology, water systems, soils, vegetation, present condition of crops, factors affecting the growth of plantations, notes on woodland areas other than the forests, discussion of suitability of species, summary and appendices.
230 x 350mm | 156 pages | black and white
Stock code:FCFH065
Occasional Paper
J. Jobling, F.R.W. Stevens
Between October 1976 and September 1977, a critical appraisal was conducted by the Forestry Commission Research and Development Division into the problems of the establishment and management of trees and other woody plants on regraded colliery spoil heaps. Further supporting evidence has since been collected. This report summarises the evidence accumulated on tree growth on regraded colliery spoil heaps. For the benefit of workers unfamiliar with colliery wastes special attention is paid to the problems influencing early tree performance on regraded spoil heaps and to the cultural methods used to establish trees on reclaimed land. Species choice and succession, and factors affecting the long-term maintenance of woodland areas on regraded spoil heaps, are briefly discussed. Guidance on aspects of tree establishment is included for the benefit of foresters and others directly concerned with the re-vegetation of reclaimed derelict land..

This paper also contains a pullout supplement which provides planting details for several regarded spoil heap sites.

150 x 210mm | 49 pages | black and white
Stock code:FCOP007
Report on Forest Research
Forestry Commission
The report of Forest Research for the year ending March 1959. The report includes:

Summary of the year’s work

Part i Reports of work carried out by Forestry Commission research staff
-Forest tree seed investigations
-Nursery investigations
-Silvicultural investigations in the forest: (a) south and central England and Wales (b) Scotland and northern England
-Provenance studies
-Poplars and elms
-Forest ecology
-Forest soils
-Forest genetics
-Forest pathology
-Forest entomology
-Grey squirrel research
-Forest management
-Forest economics
-Design and analysis of experiments
-Machinery research
-Utilization development
-The library and photographic collection

Part ii Research undertaken for the Forestry Commission by workers attached to universities and other institutions
-Researches in mycorrhiza
-Studies in soil mycology IV
-Forest soils research in Scotland
-Soil faunal investigations
-The juvenility problem in woody plants
-Relationship between larch canker and trichoscyphella willkommii
-Shelterbelt research
-Soil faunal research
-Studies on the morphological variation of conifers
-Hydrological relations of forest stands
-Tracheid length in young conifers
-Protein-fixing constituents of plants: part ii
-Further studies on fomes annosus
-Utilisation of tan barks
-Nutrition of trees in forest nurseries

Part iii Reports on results of individual investigations
-A summary of ten years seed testing experience with western
-Hemlock, tsuga heterophylla
-The use of herbicides for controlling vegetation in forest fire breaks and uncropped land
-The drainage of a heavy clay site
-Experimental introductions of alternative species into pioneer crops on poor sites
-Pruning of conifers by disbudding
-The pine looper moth, bupalus piniarius, in rendlesham and sherwood forests— 1959
-Propagation of elms and poplars from summerwood cuttings
-Estimating yield of hardwood coppice for pulpwood growing
150 x 240mm | 230 pages | black and white
Stock code:FCRFR_1960
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Please direct orders to:
Forestry Commission Publications (CST)
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