Woodland Heritage grant helps launch of new Irregular Forest Management Group
A grant of £2,764 from Woodland Heritage has helped the new group, Atlantic AFI (AAFI), to welcome leading members of its sister organisation in France to a landmark event on 9th March. Julien Tomasini, President, and Max Bruciamacchie, Scientific and Technical Director of Association FutaieIrrégulière (AFI), the ‘Irregular High Forest Association’, will be at the AAFI’s inaugural Management Board meeting, during a visit that will also include the third re-measure of the first English AFI Research stand at Stourhead (Western) Estate in Wiltshire.
Since 1991 the AFI have established a large network of research stands that monitor the performance of irregular forests across all parts of France, as well as in Belgium, Switzerland, Ireland and England.
Over the last ten years, a group of British and Irish foresters who have long been convinced of the effectiveness of continuous cover forest management have formed an alliance with their fellow practitioners of irregular high forest management in the AFI network, which has now led to the formation of the autonomous branch called AAFI.
AAFI will be the membership organisation in countries where English is the first language and will be open to managers, owners and scientists interested in using the monitoring methodologies developed by AFI to measure biological and economic performance of the best developed stands; the new group will be complementary to existing groups such as Continuous Cover Forestry Group and Pro Silva Ireland.
The economic performance measures are obtained by integrating price-size curves and records of costs of operations and overheads. Performance in one stand can be calibrated against similar stands across the Network.
Acceptance into the AFI Research Network is recognition of the special qualities of the irregular stand and also provides a direct link to the expertise of experienced irregular forest managers across Europe.
The AFI have also devised an Abbreviated Methodology that can be used by individual managers independently of the Network. The Abbreviated AFI Methodology is cost-effective and can be used at the estate level to show the link between structure and increment and to investigate the economic performance of the best developed stands within a woodland enterprise.
The inception of the AAFI could not have taken place without the assistance of a number of important donors who have very generously funded the start-up and the support of the owners of the pioneering Irish and British AFI Research Stands. Also key to the process has been the encouragement and support provided by Woodland Heritage, which dates back to 2005.
Woodland Heritage was established as a charity in 1994 by two cabinet makers keen to ‘put something back’. A membership-based organisation, the charity supports the resilient management of woodlands, the development of the timber supply chain, the furthering of knowledge and skills within the forestry and timber sectors as well as within the general public, and the tackling of threats to the future supply of high quality UK timber. As well as working with bodies such as AAFI, Woodland Heritage runs the popular ‘From Woodland to Workshop’ courses and a Field Weekend each year, in addition to producing an annual Journal. A current priority for the charity is supporting research into Acute Oak Decline.