Farming Sectors

Felling Decision Tool

The Felling Decision Tool estimates timber revenues for main conifer species – it shows the impact of felling age on financial return.


Learning from experience can be very expensive when it comes to timber sales. Years of growth and value are accumulated in a single transaction. Many forest owners are apprehensive about selling timber, as they do not know the value of their timber and do not want to sell too cheaply, or have concerns that future productivity may be damaged as a result of over thinning. While these concerns are valid they can be avoided by careful planning.

Too much is at stake for you to sell your timber without an understanding of the quality and quantity of your timber and the markets. This guide aims to provide private forest owners with information on a few important facts, which along with adherence to good forest management practice, should help forest owners to receive a fair price for your timber and retain a plantation that is in good productive condition. Even if you hire a professional forester to manage the sale of your timber sale it is important that you have some prior understanding of what is involved.

When should I thin?

The following ready reckoner for Sitka spruce is based on estimated yield class (YC) at a top height (metres) at age 10 and approximates the timing of roading and thinning.

Top Height YC Age to plan Forest Road Age to construct  Forest Road  

Age of first thinning


Average yields (m3/ha) from thinnings
2.6 – 2.9 12 22 23 24 35
3.0 – 3.4 14 20 21 22 40
3.5 – 3.8 16 19 20 21 48
3.8 – 4.0 18 18 19 20 54
4.5 – 4.9 20 17 18 19 58
5.0 – 5.4 22 16 17 18 64
5.5 – 6.0 24 15 16 17 70
6.1 – 6.4 26 14 15 16 74
6.5 – 7.0 28 13 14 15 80
7.0 – 7.5 30 12 13 14 88

Source: Irish Farmers Journal 20th June 2015

Felling Licence

The Forestry Act 2014 provides for a single licence process for tree felling.  Felling licences can be valid for up to 10 years in duration, which may be extended for one or more further periods, up to a total of 5 years.  For more information on new tree felling requirements click here.

However, trees outside of the forest can be felled without a tree felling licence in certain circumstances (see below for exempt trees information).

If you have any queries in relation to tree felling, it is recommended that you seek the advice of the Felling Section:

Felling Section, Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Johnstown Castle Estate, Co Wexford, Y35 PN52
Phone: 053 9163400
Email: felling.forestservice@agriculture.gov.ie

Tree felling licence application form and detailed guidance notes:

Tree felling license application form

Tree felling application guidance notes

Trees that are exempt

Public consultation

Where a licence for the felling of trees is received, the Department will publish a notice of the application before making a decision.  The notice shall state that any person can make a submission or observation to the Felling Section within in 30 days from the date of the notice.

When granted, the licensee shall erect a site notice at the entrance from the public road (or where the entrance is to be created) prior to the commencement and for the duration of the harvesting operations.


Where a felling licence has been issued, a 28-day time limit for the receipt of appeals will apply in all cases, regardless of whether or not a submission was received. Third parties may appeal the decision to grant a licence or the conditions associated with a licence. The applicant may also lodge an appeal.

An applicant can appeal either a refusal to grant a licence or a condition specified on a licence. After a felling licence has been issued, a 28-day time limit for the receipt of appeals, from the date of decision, will apply.

Third parties may appeal the decision to grant a licence or the conditions attached to a licence. After a felling licence has been issued, a 28-day time limit for the receipt of appeals, from the date of decision, will apply.

The appeal must be in writing, setting out the grounds and including a statement of the facts and contentions upon which the appellant intends to rely, along with any documentary evidence s/he wishes to submit in support of the appeal. The appeal must be sent to:

Forestry Appeals Committee, Kilminchy Court, Portlaoise, Co Laois

IFA’s practical guide to selling timber

Timber selling guide cover

Forest Roads

Proper access to your forest is essential when you are harvesting and will make your forest more attractive to potential buyers.

Harvest roads should ideally be built well in advance of first thinning operation to allow the road to settle and so cope better with the extensive wear and tear of harvesting and timber haulage.

To help facilitate the construction of forest roads a grant is available from the Forest Service under the Forest Road Scheme.

Forest Road Scheme – click here for more info.

Forest Standards & Procedures – click here for more info.

Forest Roads Manual – click here for more info.

Useful documents:

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