Kestrel Forestry Services


What forestry services do Kestrel provide ?



Forest Services


1. Forest Plantation Establishment

If you are planning to establish a new plantation Kestrel will organise and carry out the entire project form start to finish.  Kestrel will provide a budget showing the costs and revenues for the first year, so you will know how much money has to be paid as each element of the work is completed. The grants are then paid direct to you.  Subsequently we can advise and/or organise you on maintenance operations in years 2,3,4 for an annual fee. Even if your site is small, Kestrel can provide a package to cater for most small sites. Planting your land is still one of the most financially attractive land-use options. Remember forest premiums are tax-free, are paid for 15 years to all landowners, and range from €74 to €246 per acre depending on your land classification and species planted.


2. Native Woodland Establishment

Kestrel are approved by the Forest Service to operate the Native Woodland Scheme for both existing woodlands  i.e. Native Woodland Conservation, and for new sites i.e. Native Woodland Establishment.  

3.Forest Harvesting and Timber Marketing

Despite everything you hear and read, especially in recent times, there is no mystery to the organisation and execution of thinning and harvesting operations. Unless your plantation is very inaccessible or very small, it should be possible to have it thinned and the timber marketed and right now in 2018 prices for first thinnings are at an all time high ranging from €8 to €15 per cubic metre standing.
As a forester with Coillte I was responsible for the planning, measurement, marketing and  management of harvesting operations, in forests all over Ireland, involving thousands of cubic metres of  timber from thinnings and clearfells.

If your plantation is on the small side i.e. <5.0ha. it may be possible to link up with one or more growers in the same area and assemble an attractive sales proposal for prospective buyers from the trade.

It is always advisable to employ a qualified, experienced forester to organise and supervise your thinning and harvesting operations and there have been some horrific stories of private plantations being destroyed at first thinning stage since 2010 by unqualified contractors/timber buyers.

So if you have a plantation which is approaching thinning or clearfell age, please contact me to discuss the options available.

4. Broadleaf Tending and Thinning

Kestrel can organise and carry out the shaping of your broadleaf crop using experienced quality contractors.
Remember that most fast growing ash and sycamore plantations will require formative shaping after the third growing season and just as important it is a condition that  before the Maintenance Grant is paid at Year 4/5 the shaping operation must have been completed. A subsequent shaping will be required within three to four years.

In addition after 10 or 12  years most broadleaf crops but especially ash will have to tended or thinned. This means the number of trees per hectare will have to be reduced by as much as 30 % using power tools or a small processor. There is currently a grant of €750 per hectare available to help with the costs of the tending or thinning operation and to date Kestrel have organised the thinning and grant applications for a number of sites in the South East.

Remember that if power tools i.e. chain saws are used you cannot afford to take risks with untrained or uninsured contractors.









5. Forest Road Construction



The current Forest Road Grant scheme was introduced in January 2015 with the following features and conditions:



Road Grant Rates and Permitted Density per Hectare

Example: A 10 hectare plantation will be allowed 200 metres of road for grant purposes - total Grant allowed €8,000.

Note: The plantation can construct additional road but he or she will have to fund it themselves.


Plantation owners with crops fit for thinning should still avail of the new scheme as it vitally important that plantations are thinned on time and in a proper manner and a road and/or central stacking area is essential to ensure a successful thinning operation.

We can organise the road grant approval application, subsequent road construction and grant application for agreed fees with the grant being paid to you the forest owner.  We have access to a very experienced forest road surveyor to ensure that your new forest road is constructed a along the best possible route to maximise the road grant and timber volumes.



6. Broadleaf Shaping and High Pruning

Both these grant schemes have been suspended for a few years however it is still worth doing and will add considerable value to both your broadleaf and conifer crops.  We can supply trained and insured contractors to carry out this work and if you are not in a position to hire in contract labour and you want to try and do it yourself we can advise and demonstrate the basics of both operations.  If your conifer plantation has had or is approaching a first thinning, it may be suitable for high pruning which will increase the value of remaining crop especially at clearfell stage. Kestrel can provide a complete high pruning package and can also supply ARS telescopic saws to owners who wish to carry out the high pruning operations themselves

Remember Kestrel Forestry also supply  a full range of ARS pro saws, secateurs and loppers for broadleaf shaping and have a model suitable for any pruning or shaping operation you wish to undertake.


7. Plantation Remedial Work

If you have a plantation which has become neglected for whatever reason and /or has been turned down for the Maintenance Grant,  or if your premiums are in danger of being suspended due to issues on site then contact us and we can carry out a thorough plantaion inspection and recommend the remedial works necessary to get your crop back on course.  We can organisr the remedial works and liaise with the local Forest Service inspector to achieve a satisfactory outcome for all concerned.


8. Ash DiebacK

    If your Ash plantation has become infected with Ash Dieback Disease (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus - the fungus was previously called Chalara fraxinea.) then you will be required to remove the crop and replant an         alternative species depending on the age/height of the plantation (see below)

    Class 1: <7m top height


    Remove all ash trees.


   Class 2 > 7m < 15m top height or 18cm DBH or 25 years old  

   Remove infected individual trees


   Class 3 >15m top height or 18cm DBH or 25 years old

   Consultant produces Management Plan for owner which may or may not include partial removal.


         The requirement to bury all infected material is now optional with

         onsite windrowing now permitted as is whole tree harvesting for chipping.

         Site clearance grants of €1,500/ha are available for Classes 1 and 2, with

         a replanting grant of €3,300/ha for a conifer replacement crop,

         and €5,000/ha for a broadleaf species. In addition the existing

         Broadleaf Thinning Grant of €750/ha can be availed of by owners

         in Class 2 and 3 where the partial felling of infected trees is planned.


          We can organise all aspects of the process from paperwork and submission of to the Forest Service to site clearance and re-planting.





9. Agroforestry






Under the new Agroforestry introduced in 2015 scheme landowners will be able to plant trees at a wider spacing on their land at a rate of 500 - 1000 trees per hectare and by using tree shelters to protect the trees will be allowed to graze sheep in between the trees.

Establishment Grant: €2,960 /ha

Maintenance Grant: €990/ha

Additional Fencing Grant: € 450 - 500/ha.

Premium: €260/ha for 5 years


Forest Management & Consultancy


1. Forest Plantation Management

The management of post-grant stage plantations i.e. plantations over 5  years old, is set to become a big issue.  It has always made sense to have your plantation checked a couple of times annually after the maintenance grant has been paid and your contract with the establishment company was over. It especially makes sense to those of you who have planted larger areas, where you have made a big investment of your land by choosing forestry.

There is however an even more compelling reason to have your post-grant stage plantation managed. Right now the Forest Service are spot checking 10% of all these plantations annually.  It is generally accepted that this check rate will be increased as more pressure is applied by EU auditors.   Where a spot check reveals problems on a particular site, the owner is given a period to take remedial action.  If remedial action is not taken his or her premiums will be stopped.
As things stand now, failure to maintain fences, control furze/scrub, or damage from stock will lead to penalties being applied resulting in 20%  cuts to premiums. Kestrel will specialise in this area.  For an annual fee you will receive two inspections annually plus an annual progress report. If your  plantation is in need of remedial works you will be notified immediately, recommend and organise the labour and materials for these operations, and certify them for payment by you -
all this as part of your unique Kestrel Plantation Management Package.

Remember the Kestrel motto:

" Keeping an Eye on your Plantation "


2. Plantation Inspections and Reports

If you are concerned about the state of your plantation and / or your premium or grant payments being withheld, Kestrel will inspect your site and present you with a detailed written report on the state of the plantation. Subsequently if repair works are required Kestrel can organise the materials and labour to carry out the required operations.



3. Plantation Valuations

If you are planning to sell or buy an existing plantation Kestrel will provide you with a realistic valuation following a site survey.



4. Plantation Sales and Purchases

If you have a plantation to sell or you wish to purchase a plantation Kestrel can source buyers and sellers and also give you a report on the state of any plantation that you might be interested in.



5. Land Sourcing/Surveying for Investors

If you're considering the purchase of new land for planting and are unsure as to where you should buy, what type of land to buy, and how much you should pay then Kestrel can provide you with a land sourcing service.  If you have already sourced a parcel of land and you want to make sure that a) it is suitable for forestry and b) that there are no potential environmental restrictions to acquiring an approval from the Forest Service, then contact Kestrel to carry out a site survey/evaluation.


6. Liaising/Consulting with Forest Service

If you're having problems with the payment of your premiums or even grants, for example shaping grants, or indeed any other issues, Kestrel will take up your case with the Forest Service and try to sort out the problem on your behalf.

7. Year 10 to Year 20 Management Plans

The above plans are now required for all ten year old conifer plantations > 10.0 ha., and all ten year broadleaf plantations greater > 5.0 ha. The Forest Service have stated that Year 11 premiums will  not be paid until these plans are submitted and accepted.  So if you are in the above category/s you should have received your notification by now and will need to act on it. Contact Kestrel straight away to have your plan completed.


8. Contractor Sourcing

Depending on the time of the year and how well other industires are doing, it can be very difficult to source any type of forestry contractor, and especially difficult to obtain first class contractors. Kestrel usually have access to dedicated, trained and insured contractors who will carry out a range of operations including  chemical and manual cleaning, shaping, filling- in (replacing trees) and furze control to the highest standards.  In addition, for new plantations, Kestrel will recommend only fencing and machine contractors who have a proven track record in forestry, and who have a proven safety and work quality record.

9. Water Sampling

 In certain parts of the country for example East Wicklow an afforestation approval application on a site with a water course i.e. stream or river has to be accompanied with the results of four water samples have to taken in February, March, April and May to assess the site for acid sensitivity or alkalinity.  No approval will be issued unless these samples have been collected by a registered forester and brought to an approved laboratory for analysis.  Depending on the results an approval will be issued or not but the process must be carried out as stipulated by the Forest Service.  Kestrel will provide an efficient water sampling service to accompany your afforestation approval application.


Spruce Bark Beetle discovered in UK
Forestry Commission act on tree pest detected in Kent…

Minister Announces Major Ash Dieback Review.
Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture…

New Improved Grant and Premiums after Mid-Term Review
  Government Approves New Measures for Irish Forestry…