Act now to limit forestry damage

Wet weather and storms have left considerable windblow damage in some forests. Munster has been especially hard hit.

Estimates of the area blown over and/or damaged nationally range from 4,000 to 8,000 hectares. Teagasc urges forest owners to take timely action now to avoid severe financial losses.

John Casey, Forestry Adviser with Teagasc in Cork said: “Extensive damage has occurred to individual trees on farms and also to forestry plantations.

“Many landowners are facing into unprecedented numbers of fallen trees and are uncertain as to what their best approach should be.

“Teagasc advises forest owners to check their plantations when it is safe to do so, and if necessary to take action now. Most windblown timber can still be salvaged and severe financial losses avoided if the correct action is taken.”

“Teagasc can offer you advice and support on what steps to take next. Therefore, if you have any questions at all on procedures on timber removal, felling licence applications, liability issues or who to contact, talk to your local forestry adviser. You will receive independent and objective advice,” he said.

He said it is important to get sound advice, as tree felling may require a felling licence prior to cutting down trees. “Teagasc can explain when felling licences may be required and what the relevant steps are.

“Such licences are issued by the Forest Service. Their felling section can be contacted at 053 9160200 if you have any further queries.”

To find out what your options are, or what steps to take next, contact your local forestry adviser.

Contact details are available from your local Teagasc office, or visit /forestry/staff website.

Teagasc’s forestry website has a wealth of relevant information including felling licence application forms, contact details for timber harvesting contractors, safety guidelines for forestry operations, a guide to working with chainsaws and much more.

Teagasc reminds landowners that operating a chainsaw on windblown trees is extremely hazardous.

Only fully trained and accredited operators should consider doing such work. This work becomes even more hazardous where road safety and electricity supply lines are involved.

Always follow the Health and Safety Authority’s guidelines carefully.

¦ All parties involved (including forest owners) have legal obligations.

¦ Safe work practices aim to minimise, or eliminate, as much risk as possible.

¦ Wear safety footwear and clothing when operating a chainsaw.

¦ Work in pairs, never alone.

¦ Take account of possible sudden movements of timber as a result of work being done on it, or branches under strain.

¦ If working near overhead powerlines, make sure that no powerline is closer than two tree lengths.

¦ If in doubt, consult the ESB well in advance. If it is necessary to climb a tree, employ a professional tree surgeon.

¦ Do not operate chainsaw above shoulder height. Leave the site in a safe condition.

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