Solution for Small Scale Forestry Harvesting on sites with poor access

Renewable Energy Group members identified that a significant amount of small forestry plantations in Leitrim were not being thinned. This was due to the poor access to the sites and the inability to harvest them using traditional heavy machinery.

The full supply chain of forest owner, forestry co-op, haulier and end users are present on the group and the identified a more labour intensive but lighter harvesting method which is currently being piloted as an enterprise in Leitrim. Timber demand by 2020 is predicted to increase by 1.7 million m3 (nationally). The total net realisable volume set to increase from: 44 million m3 in 2011 to 6.95 million m3 in 2028.

The challenges are:

  • Small fragmented forest areas
  • Lack of small scale machinery available (investment needed)
  • Lack of available skilled workforce
  • Intentions of forest owners unknown
  • Continuity of work for a forest based workforce dedicated to small scale harvesting in the region

Solution/Best Practice Achieved through coming together of full supply chain resulting in:

  • Appropriate machinery identified
  • Support and mentoring from group
  • Enterprise Agency Feasibility
  • New Business Established
  • Ensuring thinnings of forestry
  • Job creation
  • Increase in supply

The project is innovative in that it allows access to thinning which otherwise would not be completed and also will result in a more economical end harvesting. The solution was identified by the coming together of the full supply chain who know the business best. It is easily transferable to other areas.