Now showing items 1-20 of 52

    • Genome sequence and genetic diversity of European ash trees

      Sollars, Elizabeth S. A.; Harper, Andrea L.; Kelly, Laura J.; Sambles, Christine M.; Ramirez-Gonzalez, Ricardo H.; Swarbreck, David; Kaithakottil, Gemy; Cooper, Endymion D.; Uauy, Cristobal; Havlickova, Lenka; et al. (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2016-12-26)
      Ash trees (genus Fraxinus, family Oleaceae) are widespread throughout the Northern Hemisphere, but are being devastated in Europe by the fungus Hymenoscyphus fraxineus, causing ash dieback, and in North America by the herbivorous beetle Agrilus planipennis1,2. Here we sequence the genome of a low-heterozygosity Fraxinus excelsior tree from Gloucestershire, UK, annotating 38,852 protein-coding genes of which 25% appear ash specific when compared with the genomes of ten other plant species. Analyses of paralogous genes suggest a whole-genome duplication shared with olive (Olea europaea, Oleaceae). We also re-sequence 37 F. excelsior trees from Europe, finding evidence for apparent long-term decline in effective population size. Using our reference sequence, we re-analyse association transcriptomic data3, yielding improved markers for reduced susceptibility to ash dieback. Surveys of these markers in British populations suggest that reduced susceptibility to ash dieback may be more widespread in Great Britain than in Denmark. We also present evidence that susceptibility of trees to H. fraxineus is associated with their iridoid glycoside levels. This rapid, integrated, multidisciplinary research response to an emerging health threat in a non-model organism opens the way for mitigation of the epidemic.
    • Effects of light availability on morphology, growth and biomass allocation of Fagus sylvatica and Quercus robur seedlings

      Sevillano, Ignacio; Short, Ian; Grant, Jim; O'Reilly, Conor; Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Scheme (Elsevier, 2016-08-15)
      The survival, morphological, and growth responses of European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) and pedunculate oak (Quercus robur L.) seedlings to different light intensities, from full sunlight to heavy shade, were studied over two growing seasons in a shadehouse experiment. Although shade treatments significantly affected seedling growth, they did not influence seedling survival. Both growth and biomass increased as light intensity increased. Diameter growth of oak seedlings was higher than that of beech. Beech and oak seedlings showed typical acclimation to shade, including greater specific leaf area and height to diameter ratios, and lower leaf thickness and root:shoot ratios with increasing shade. Beech seedlings exhibited greater specific leaf area, and lower leaf thickness and root:shoot ratios than oak seedlings. In spite of the greater growth at full sunlight, the results from this study suggest that beech and oak seedlings would have high survival rates and would acclimate well if underplanted below overstories that reduce the available light to as low as 28% of full light.
    • Transformation of Sitka spruce plantations to continuous cover forestry at Dunranhill Forest, County Wicklow, Ireland

      Wilson, Edward; Wirz, Rainer; Byrne, Liam (Research, 2021)
      This case study describes recent developments at Dunranhill Forest, County Wicklow, Ireland. The forest was established in the early 1980s as a commercial Sitka spruce plantation. Currently it is being transformed to continuous cover forestry (CCF). The owners are among the first to join the new CCF Woodland Improvement Scheme launched in 2019 by the Irish Forest Service.
    • FitForests – Looking at how Ireland’s Forests are shaping up to climate change

      Farrelly, Niall; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (2022)
      Climate change is already having impacts on the health of the world’s forests. Healthy forests are critical to mitigate climate change. So how are Ireland’s forests shaping up? The FitForest is a DAFM-funded project which aim to address knowledge gaps in species and provenance selection to identify those that may be more adapted to future climatic conditions. High diversity among populations that may have phenotypic plasticity and/ or adaptive potential may be better adapted to capitalize on changing environmental conditions. This adaptive capacity is commonly assessed by studying the traits of trees which convey some inherent advantage over other populations which allows them to prosper in certain environments (e.g. late bud flush or water use efficiency). The project is a collaboration between a team of researchers from Teagasc, the Agri- Food and Biosciences Institute (NI), UCD, and climatologists from NUI-Maynooth.
    • The Application Of Genomics To Sitka Spruce Tree Improvement.

      Farrelly, Niall; Cashell, Ronan; Tobin, Brian; Zang, Shui; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (2020)
      The GenESIS research is a new four year project funded by DAFM and features researchers from Teagasc, UCD, Trinity College Dublin, NUI Galway, National Botanic Gardens assisted by Coillte and hopes to document the genetics of Sitka spruce forests in Ireland and develop genotyping tools to assist tree-breeding efforts. The new research involves the development of a new genotyping platform that will be utilised for assessing differences in the genetic makeup of trees, used to assess diversity in Sitka spruce populations, for DNA fingerprinting, and also for genomic selection which has the potential to accelerating tree breeding efforts.
    • GOOD THINNING PRACTICESHOWS INCREASED INCOME AND ENHANCES TIMBER QUALITY

      Farrelly, Niall; Teagasc (2018)
      Teagasc forestry researcher, Dr Niall Farrelly, indicates that the removal of poor quality trees at first and second thinning is essential to focus production on trees with potential to achieve construction grade timber. It also puts more money in your pocket. • An analysis after two thinnings shows that thinning more heavily resulted in the production of a larger volume of commercial pallet wood. • The heaviest (Grade D) thinning has produced more than twice the volume of Pallet wood compared to the light (Grade B) thinning. • Income from timber sales in the heaviest thinning (Grade D) was almost 60% higher than for the light thinning (Grade B). • Timber quality measured by the volume of 5 metre+ straight logs was greatly enhanced by thinning with the greatest proportion of straight trees (by volume) in the heaviest (Grade D) thinning. • The heaviest (Grade D) thinning produced larger trees, a higher proportion of trees with straighter stems and the largest volume of commercial Pallet wood and offers the potential for earlier saw log timber production. On this basis heavier (Grade D) thinning is likely to be the most financially attractive thinning/ harvesting management option.
    • Transformation of Sitka spruce stands to continuous cover forestry (CCF): Synergies and trade-off

      Short, Ian; Jones, Grace; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Dawn Media, 2023)
      Sitka spruce is commonly planted in Ireland because it has fast growth and is suitable for the available markets. At the end of the forest rotation, a plantation forest is often harvested during a single operation (clearfelled) and then replanted. Over the last two decades there has been increasing interest in alternative forest management practices that do not require all of the trees to be felled at the same time. To research alternatives to clearfelling, the DAFM-funded ContinuFOR project trials different thinning options to transform an even-aged Sitka spruce plantation to continuous cover forestry (CCF).
    • Short rotation forestry – The interface between agricultural production and conventional forestry

      Tobin, Brian; Foreman, Susie; O'Reilly, Conor; Farrelly, Niall; Short, Ian; Byrne, Ken; Clancy, Mike; Xiao, Liwen; O'Connor, Mark; Kent, Tom; et al. (Dawn Media, 2022)
      Short rotation forestry (SRF) is a form of forest management designed to maximise woody biomass production on single stems over rotation lengths much shorter than the 40+ years of conventional forestry. The objective of the Irish “Forestry for Fibre” scheme is to address a forecasted shortfall in the supply of fibre for the energy and wood products sectors by incentivising the establishment of Italian alder, hybrid aspen, poplar, and eucalyptus plantations. To date there has been little take-up. ShortFor (2013 to 2018) was a recent research project funded by DAFM to examine the potential for SRF in Ireland. In addition to reviewing candidate species the project evaluated likely establishment practice and silviculture specifically suited to SRF. The project also set up field trials to assess the impact of stocking density on growth and yield. Further work also assessed the quality and calorific value of biomass produced by key species and the sustainability of suitable management / production systems.
    • Irish dairy and drystock farmers’ attitudes and perceptions to planting trees and adopting agroforestry practices on their land

      Irwin, Rachel; Dhubháin, Áine Ní; Short, Ian; Teagasc Walsh Scholarship Programme; 2020026 (Elsevier BV, 2022-12)
      Due to the intensification of agriculture and transition to monoculture plantations, vast areas of native woodland have been lost from the Irish landscape. As these trees gradually vanished from agricultural land, the use of traditional, ancient agroforestry practices dwindled. Currently, forestry cover in Ireland is 25% lower than the European average, with the rate of afforestation remaining critically low. Agroforestry has been cited as a means to increase forestry cover in Ireland while continuing to produce viable high quality agricultural products on the same parcel of land. However, even with a range of afforestation schemes available, farmers exhibit an evident reluctance to adopt agroforestry. This research aimed to examine the main attitudes and perceptions of Irish dairy and drystock farmers to planting trees on their land and adopting agroforestry practices. The majority of farmers included within the dataset exhibited a positive attitude towards trees on their farms, with the main negative behavioural beliefs relating to impacts on pasture. Family and Teagasc (The Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority) are the highest cited influential bodies while the majority of farmers exhibit high perceived behavioural control. Intention rates to plant trees are high, albeit mainly on marginal areas of the farm. Agroforestry knowledge is low in Ireland with the word itself eliciting negative responses amongst the farming community. The results provide a comprehensive understanding of the main attitudes, influential bodies and barriers that affect agroforestry uptake in Ireland.
    • Increasing Tree Cover on Irish Dairy and Drystock Farms

      Irwin, Rachel; Short, Ian; Ní Dhubháin, Áine (Dawn Media, 2022)
      What are the main barriers and perceptions that impede agroforestry uptake?
    • An outline of achievements in selected areas of forest research in Ireland 1960–2021

      Farrelly, Niall; Nemesio Gorriz, Miguel; Short, Ian; Ní Dhubháin, Á.; Tobin, B.; O’Hanlon, R.; Earl, R.; McCullagh, A.; O’Donoghue, C.; Ryan, M. (Teagasc, 2022-03-01)
      In this paper, we provide an overview of achievements in forest research in Ireland carried out by various agencies over the past 60 yr. Many of the outcomes of the research have ensured that policy and practice are well-founded, and many of the research results form the basis of current forest standards and practice. Forest research has, and will continue to have, a significant role in national policy development and international reporting commitments. The achievement of future goals and targets is increasingly dependent on the maintenance of the goods and services that forests provide; these can be enhanced through the establishment of new forests and by appropriate management of the resource (e.g. The EU Green Deal and EU Forest Strategy). We outline the current state of knowledge which can be used to inform afforestation goals and the importance of tree improvement, forest management and forest protection to improve competitiveness and sustainability. Research into forestry and carbon provides a focus on the opportunities and challenges of climate change to Irish forestry. Future efforts will involve longer-term monitoring of environmental change commensurate with the forest rotation to reduce the uncertainties associated with climate change. Research into forestry economics, attitudinal surveys and behavioural studies may help inform the achievement of future policy goals. Reducing the impacts of biotic attack through efficient surveying, disease monitoring and assessing future risk is likely to be the focus of future research effort.
    • A Response to the Draft Climate Change Adaptation Sectoral Plan for Agriculture, Forest and Seafood Sector

      Farrelly, Niall; Lanigan, Gary; Donnellan, Trevor; Richards, Karl; Fealy, Reamonn; O’Donovan, Michael; Mellander, Per-Erik; Mullins, Ewen; Houlihan, Tom; Ní Fhlatharta, Nuala; et al. (2019-08-30)
      Teagasc is pleased to have the opportunity to contribute to this Draft Climate Change Adaptation Sectoral Plan for Agriculture, Forest and Seafood Sectors, although our contribution will largely be limited to the agriculture and forestry sectors. We have also taken the liberty to contribute in the form of ‘submissions, observations and comments’ as indicated in the call for contributions rather than in the formal questionnaire which appears to be more appropriate for an individual submission rather than an organisational contribution.
    • Combining transcriptomics and genetic linkage based information to identify candidate genes associated with Heterobasidion-resistance in Norway spruce

      Chaudhary, Rajiv; Lundén, Karl; Dalman, Kerstin; Dubey, Mukesh; Nemesio Gorriz, Miguel; Karlsson, Bo; Stenlid, Jan; Elfstrand, Malin; Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning; 2012-1276; et al. (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2020-07-29)
      The Heterobasidion annosum s.l species complex comprises the most damaging forest pathogens to Norway spruce. We revisited previously identified Quantitative Trait Loci (QTLs) related to Heterobasidion-resistance in Norway spruce to identify candidate genes associated with these QTLs. We identified 329 candidate genes associated with the resistance QTLs using a gene-based composite map for Pinaceae. To evaluate the transcriptional responses of these candidate genes to H. parviporum, we inoculated Norway spruce plants and sequenced the transcriptome of the interaction at 3 and 7 days post inoculation. Out of 298 expressed candidate genes 124 were differentially expressed between inoculation and wounding control treatment. Interestingly, PaNAC04 and two of its paralogs in the subgroup III-3 of the NAC family transcription factors were found to be associated with one of the QTLs and was also highly induced in response to H. parviporum. These genes are possibly involved in the regulation of biosynthesis of flavonoid compounds. Furthermore, several of the differentially expressed candidate genes were associated with the phenylpropanoid pathway including a phenylalanine ammonia-lyase, a cinnamoyl-CoA reductase, a caffeoyl-CoA O-methyltransferase and a PgMYB11-like transcription factor gene. Combining transcriptome and genetic linkage analyses can help identifying candidate genes for functional studies and molecular breeding in non-model species.
    • Why Dairy Farming And Silvopastoral Agroforestry Could Be The Perfect Match

      Irish Agroforestry Forum; Short, Ian; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Irish Farm Business, 2020)
      Could we be missing a trick here? Could silvopasture be a design solution to the environmental challenges facing farming? Can it be the ideal mechanism to combine agriculture, forestry and ecology with very positive outcomes for farmers? Well -designed silvopasture can help increase profits and productivity, animal, and soil health, diversify the farm business, buffer against increasingly variable weather, drought and flood risks while benefiting the environment, the water cycle and the carbon cycle.
    • Transforming Sitka Spruce Plantations

      Wilson, Edward R.; Ní Dhubháin, Aine; Short, Ian; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Teagasc, 2020)
      The TranSSFor project is comparing conventional thinning in Sitka spruce plantations with two alternative thinning regimes.
    • Comparison of three inventory protocols for use in privately-owned plantations under transformation to Continuous Cover Forestry

      Spazzi, Jonathan; O Tuama, Padraig; Wilson, Edward R.; Short, Ian (Society of Irish Foresters, 2019)
      Interest is growing in Continuous Cover Forestry (CCF) as a management approach among private forest owners in Ireland. Developments in forest policy are directed at promoting CCF as a means of enhancing forest resilience, sustaining forest production and delivering diverse ecosystem services. In 2019 the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) introduced a new pilot funding measure to support the adoption of CCF management in suitable private forests. Currently the area of forest under CCF management is relatively small (estimated at around 1% of the total forest area) and several barriers to wider adoption have been identified. These include the lack of a simple template for the transformation of planted forests to CCF and a monitoring protocol with known inventory costs and outputs. In this study three inventory protocols were compared in terms of their ease of use, the types of data outputs and cost effectiveness in a forest stand at an early stage of transformation to CCF. These protocols were compared to a complete enumeration approach. The inventory protocols being tested were developed by the UK Forestry Commission (FCIN45), a group of French and Belgian researchers (VISUAL) and the Irregular Silviculture Network (ISN). Results indicate that by using modern technology and careful design, a cost-effective inventory protocol can be implemented to collect information of sufficient accuracy to inform management decisions. Advantages and limitations of each protocol are discussed. The ultimate outcome would be the development and adoption of a common inventory and monitoring approach to enable private owners to critically compare stand management and performance. This is essential to support and guide forest managers and forest owners during the transformation process.
    • Developing new hardwood markets for Irish timber – the Hardwood Focus group’s study tour to Wales

      Spazzi, Jonathan; Garvey, Seán; Short, Ian; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Society of Irish Foresters, 2019-12-30)
      A discussion-group called Hardwood Focus (HF) was formed in Limerick in 2018 among broadleaf-forest owners in the region. This initiative is part of the Limerick Tipperary Woodland Owners (LTWO) Group and is facilitated by Jonathan Spazzi, the local Teagasc Forestry Development Officer. The group travelled to Wales between 30th September and 4th October 2019. This article discusses the outcomes.
    • Acoustic measurement differences on trees and logs from hardwoods in wet and dry condition

      Llana, Daniel F.; Short, Ian; Harte, A. M.; Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine; 15-C-666 (U. S. Department of Agriculture, 2019-09)
      Acoustic velocities measured on standing trees using time-of-flight (TOF) devices have been found to be between 7% and 36% higher for softwoods than those in logs using resonance techniques based on longitudinal frequencies. This effect was explained in three different ways: (1) TOF devices on standing trees measure outerwood containing more mature wood while resonance methods assess the whole crosssection, (2) the variation in the velocity is due to loading conditions in standing trees, while logs are free of loads and (3) the acoustic waves are dilatational waves in the case of TOF measurements on standing trees and one-dimensional longitudinal waves in the case of resonance on logs. This is an important topic considering the fact that resonance methods are considered more accurate for predicting mechanical properties and it has been proposed that correction factors should be applied on TOF measurements. In the present work, four hardwoods from Irish forests were studied and, on average, TOF velocities measured in the forest above fibre saturation point (FSP) were 19.8% higher than those from resonance measurements taken on logs immediately after felling. However, this difference reduced to 5.4% when the measurements were repeated at a moisture content (MC) of about 18% in the laboratory. Therefore, there is a MC effect on the velocity differences. Furthermore, higher differences were systematically found in older specimens in wet condition. However, this age effect was small in most cases.
    • Use of non-destructive test methods on Irish hardwood standing trees and small-diameter round timber for prediction of mechanical properties

      Llana, Daniel F.; Short, Ian; Harte, Annette M.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 15C666 (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2020-06-17)
      Key message Mechanical properties of small-diameter round timber from hardwood thinnings of common alder ( Alnus glutinosa (L.) Gaertn.), European ash ( Fraxinus excelsior L.), European birch ( Betula pendula Roth. and Betula pubescens Ehrh.), and sycamore ( Acer pseudoplatanus L.) can be evaluated by non-destructive testing on either standing trees or green logs without wood density determination. Velocity differences between acoustic and resonance methods are influenced by tree species and age. Tree diameter improves the estimation of bending strength but not of stiffness. Context There is a need for a reliable, fast, and inexpensive evaluation method to better sort hardwood thinnings according to mechanical properties for use in potential added-value applications. Aims The estimation by non-destructive testing of mechanical properties of round small-diameter timber of four hardwood species (common alder, European ash, European birch, and sycamore). Methods Acoustic velocity was measured in 38 standing trees and resonance velocity was recorded in green logs from these trees. The logs were then dried and tested in bending. Estimation models to predict mechanical properties from non-destructive testing measurements were developed. Results Large differences between velocities from acoustic and resonance techniques were found. Models based on both non-destructive testing velocities together with a species factor are well correlated with bending modulus of elasticity while models including tree diameter are moderately well correlated with bending strength. Inclusion of density in the models does not improve the estimation. Conclusion Models based on acoustic measurements on standing trees or resonance on green logs together with tree species and diameter provide reliable estimates of mechanical properties of round timber from hardwood thinnings. This methodology can be easily used for pre-sorting material in the forest.
    • The Hardwood Focus Group: Exploring utilisation potential of Irish broadleaf forests

      Spazzi, Jonathan; O'Connell, John; Sykes, Jonathan; Short, Ian; Garvey, Seán; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Dawn Media Ltd,, 2020)
      Jonathan Spazzi of Teagasc Forestry outlines the work of the Hardwood Focus Group and lessons learned from a recent exploratory trip to counterparts in Wales.