Senator Pippa Hackett, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, launched Teagasc’s new marteloscope training programme, on her recent visit to Teagasc Oak Park, Carlow.
A marteloscope is a permanent plot within the forest in which tree measurements and associated software are linked to provide a framework for in-forest training in selection and marking. The location of each of the trees is mapped and each tree is labelled with an identifying number.
Land owners often plant and manage forests for multiple reasons such as timber production, biodiversity enhancement, water protection, recreation and well-being. A mix of forest management systems is therefore required to cater for the diversity of forest types, site conditions and the owner’s objectives.
Chairman of Teagasc, Liam Herlihy noted, “both national and European forest policies are increasingly directed towards the promotion of diverse and integrated land management. This dovetails with our strategy to enhance forest resilience in the face of climate disruption, while sustaining forest production and delivering diverse ecosystem services to society.”
Teagasc Director, Professor Frank O’Mara said, “many Irish forest owners are new to forest management and are still developing their skills base. We are delighted that Teagasc, in partnership with the European Forestry Institute, Pro Silva Ireland and Coillte, have developed such an excellent network of forest plots, called marteloscopes.”
These are specially prepared forest plots which are commonly used across Europe for training purposes. In essence, they are an outdoor-classroom forest facility for training participants in tree selection and tree marking.
Minister Pippa Hackett said on the Marteloscope Training Programme, “forests can provide multiple benefits to society- this is one of their greatest strengths. It is therefore very important to engage now with forest owners and managers in developing new skills to support integrated management models which can complement current practices.”
Dr Nuala NiFhlatharta, Head of Teagasc’s Forestry Development Department added, “the marteloscope programme is a new, practical and interactive knowledge transfer resource which is now available to forest owner groups and other stakeholders. It forms part of a very dynamic Europe-wide training network exchange and it will continue to be developed in close collaboration with our European and national partners.”
Jonathan Spazzi, Teagasc Forestry Development Officer who is co-ordinating this project explained, “this training resource adopts a facilitation-style format and encourages participants to learn by doing, leading to group discussions and valuable peer-to-peer learning.”
“It includes the use of touch-screen tablets for thinning simulations while in the forest, allowing participants to practise new skills and test out in real-time different management options ranging from clearfell to continuous cover management systems.”
A busy schedule of marteloscope workshops organised by Teagasc is planned for this year, primarily for forest owner groups but also including consultant foresters and forestry students.