Although selling small sized timber from first thinning is a new venture for many forest owners, the process is straightforward and a little advice can go a long way.
Denis Purcell from Feakle is one of the few forest owners in county Clare who has gone through the process twice already. He has just completed his second thinning. Back in 1988, Dun Purcell (Denis’ father) planted 18 hectares of land with Sitka spruce. His decision has proven to be very successful.
Denis remembers carrying out the first thinning: “Initially I was more comfortable getting a forestry consultant to help organise the first thinning. I really saw a huge improvement in the plantation after thinning - it really started to look like a forest. Since then, I have taken a more active role and I decided to manage the second thinning myself. Over the past few years I attended Teagasc training days and I got as much information as possible to make sure I was making the right decision. I am very happy with the result.”
Áine O’Callaghan, Forestry Development Officer with Teagasc has some very good advice: “Forest owners need to gather as much information as possible about thinning. Even if you have not completed a first thinning yet, it is still beneficial to see what is down the road in terms of the products your forest will produce in a first or second thinning. As a forest owner it is important to be able to assess your trees and know what products will be harvested from your forest.”
Denis Purcell commented: “If I was to give other forest owners one word of advice, I would tell them to get at least a basic knowledge about thinning. A lot of forest owners fear they are going to be exploited. Once you understand things, the confidence grows. The next time a leaflet comes in about a course, don’t put it into the back of the press, go and see what you need to know. There are plenty of resources available to us if we use them. I made a few thousand euro from the first thinning and I was very happy with the help I received from the forester. I was lucky to sell the second thinning when prices were very strong – that’s where the real money is but you have to do the first thinning first.”