Continuous Cover Forestry Site Visit Report

This week we ran our first CCF site visit with 36 people from forestry professionals to researchers, students to owners, all of whom were keen to learn more about Continous Cover Forestry.

This event ran hot on the heels of our hugely popular intro webinar which is available to watch HERE.

What did we cover?

Lead by Alex Baines (Forestry England), Ted Wilson (Silviculture Research International) and Lochlan Dulson (Cumbria Woodlands), with support from Chris Watson (Forestry Commission) and David Atkinson (Edwin Thompson), plus input from most of the guests, the group walked in a loop around Coombs Wood and stopping at different locations to discuss-

Why? -

What are the benefits of CCF, economic, social, and environmental? How do these fit with forest owners' objectives and government policy? Chris Watson summarised the government policy aims including biodiversity, resilience and, pests and diseases. While not the only way to deliver these objectives, CCF seems to tick all the boxes.

group standing in a mixed age woodland


How do you manage systems like this? Forest dynamics, tree marking, light levels, species choice, wind firmness. Ted Wilson walked the group through an exercise on identifying the stage of stand transformation, attributes of a quality tree, the importance of an independently stable tree and an introduction to basal area and thinning. He then led the group on a tree-marking exercise, in which teams selected quality trees and made decisions on which neighbours to remove.

The group discussed operations and economics, the Forestry Commission shared their past experiences and future plans including the expected return from CCF. There were challenges on the economics of the systems compared to what would be possible under a clear fell regime, which lead to an engaging discussion around access to markets and extracting value from non-timber products.

What Next? –

The group discussed how managers might be able to use the new CS grants that are coming out (hopefully later this year, but who knows for sure...) and asked what training does the sector need to be able to do this sort of management?

Look out for an opportunity to book onto a tree day tree marking course with Ted Wilson, which will be held in later summer, or early autumn this year and should be eligible for the Forestry and Arboriculture Training Fund.

If you have not already then please sign up to Cumbria Woodlands newsletter and follow us on social media to make sure you don’t miss the next event.

OR get in touch with us directly for specific advice at

looking up into canopy

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