The production of a 20-year management plan for approval by the Forestry Commission is essential for each commercial forest. The plan is sent for consultation to local authorities, other statutory bodies, organisations and neighbours. It provides a framework for forest operations and is reviewed and updated every 5 years.
SWMID strategic objectives for producing the plan in line with community priorities are to:
- Manage the forest to be financially sustainable in perpetuity.
- Enhance biodiversity, landscape quality, heritage features and forest diversity.
- Increase access and recreation.
Because the forest remained under-managed for some years prior to purchase, a large proportion of the area was covered by mature conifers of a size that the market requires. This necessitates the felling of these trees to maximise their commercial value and prevent loss through wind-throw, etc. All cleared areas must be replanted within 5 years.
This work, along with the strategic objectives, have been incorporated into the plan by maintaining zones of commercial forest on the upper areas on either side of Glen Seilisdeir, while creating an ‘amenity’ zone through the centre. This restructuring allows a move from a 70% v 30% commercial v amenity and nature conservation split, to a 57% v 43% split. The amenity zone will comprise areas of mixed broadleaves and conifers that will generate income from forestry management and will encompass visitor facilities and other activities and projects.
All forest management will be carried out in accordance with the UK Woodland Assurance Standard, which provides the central component of the UK forest certification programmes operated by the Forest Stewardship Council. Our new plan exceeds its requirements, with a minimum of 15% of forest area managed with nature conservation and enhancement of biodiversity as a major objective.
Our first major project is to seek funding for 8km of forest roads that will not only enable access to all parts of the site for management, but also provide routes for walkers and cyclists. Over 33ha of new grassland and heath road verges will also be created to enhance the biodiversity value of the forest.
SWMID want to maximise community involvement with the management and use of Tiroran Community Forest by providing opportunities for employment, training, businesses and volunteering, so if you are interested in becoming involved please contact us.
To view a concept map of the Forest Plan, please click on this link
John Clare, Forest Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org