Silviculture – the science of forest management – as practised in Ireland has clear objectives and a straightforward timeline. A forest is established, maintained, thinned, clearfelled and replanted to begin the cycle all over again.

But what are the options available to forest owners who wish to maintain tree cover in perpetuity. I recently walked through an excellent stand of Sitka spruce in the townland of Ballycullen near Ashford, Co Wicklow, that in normal circumstances would be close to clearfelling as it was planted in 1994.