Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) has recently secured €92,000 in research funding from the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine to carry out research to develop a commercial wood supply chain from harvesting tree stumps.
The project, which will develop experience and capacity to commercialise stump harvesting in Ireland, as well as developing guidelines on the site conditions suitable for removing stumps, will be of significant benefit to forest owners who will have access to experienced contractors, dedicated machine systems and a developed market for stump biomass.
Mr Tom Kent, Principal Investigator on the COFORD Research Plus funded project explains that “as Ireland’s need for biomass increases due to demand for fibre and wood fuel, it is increasingly apparent that all parts of the tree have value”.
“Ireland does not have a tradition of harvesting tree stumps”, continues Mr Kent. “However it is widely practiced in Scandinavia and could provide an excellent source of biomass and fuel for Ireland, particularly when gaps in supply are forecast by 2020 based on current wood supply chain practices”.
This current tranche of funding for forestry research is funded through the COFORD Research Plus programme and aims to bridge the gap between research and commercialisation. This project builds on previous COFORD funded research conducted by WIT in conjunction with Coillte and contractors which investigated the quantity of biomass available from conifer clearfell sites after roundwood harvesting and determined the productivity of different stump harvesting and wood fuel production supply chains.
For further information on research by WIT on wood fuel supply chains, visit www.forestenergy.ie.