THE storm on Wednesday, February 12 was among the worst to hit Ireland since records began. Wind speeds hit up to 170kph, causing severe damage to forests. The worst affected area was the south of Ireland and the damage has been increased further by heavy rain and constant storms experienced by the country since December.
Damage caused by wind is called wind-blow. Early reports suggest that wind-blow damage has occurred in recently thinned plantations and plantations older than 15 years.
What should you do if your forest has been affected by wind-blow?
If you own a forest that has been thinned or is older than 15 years, you should do the following:
· Contact your local FEL forester for advice and a free site visit. Freephone 1800 719399;
· FEL will carry out an assessment of the damage and provide advice as to what to do next;
· If your forest is insured against wind-blow, FEL can assist you with your claim;
· FEL will advise you of the best plan to minimise cost, maximise timber revenue and plan to get you back on your feet as soon as possible;
· FEL will liaise with the Forest Service to apply for and get a felling licence in as short a time as possible;
· FEL will tender the timber for sale, agree contracts with buyers and oversee the extraction of timber from the site;
· When the timber is harvested, they will oversee the replanting of the site with suitable species. They will help you maintain your new plantation to the highest standard.
FEL understand the pain that many forest owners are going through.
Daragh Little, managing director of FEL, said, “My own forest was destroyed in the storm. I understand the pain and financial loss forest owners are going through. However, all is not lost. The blown timber has substantial value and can be recovered. I intend to get back up and running as quickly as possible, as demand for timber is high and prices good. I will replant with improved planting stock that will give me better quality timber sooner.”
FEL are anxious that forest owners do not take unnecessary risks. Here are some dos and don’ts:
· Do not enter your forest, as it can still be unstable. Leave this to the experts;
· Do not attempt to clear paths through the fallen timber. This should be done by a trained chainsaw operator;
· Take action; your timber will start to degrade in the coming months;
· Call your forester for a site inspection;
· If you do not live near your forest, call FEL or email firstname.lastname@example.org and give them the townland and map for your forest. The forester will visit the plantation and give you a preliminary assessment.
FEL are Ireland’s leading forestry company specialising in all aspects of forestry, including planting, harvesting, management and investment. If your forest has been affected by recent storms, Freephone 1800 719 399 or visit www.fel.ie.