OpenFields

Environmental effects of stump and root harvesting

This Research Note offers a synthesis of available evidence on the effects of stump harvesting, considered for applicability to British conditions.

Year of Publication2011

The removal of tree stumps and coarse roots from felling sites as a source of woody biomass for bioenergy generation is well established in parts of Europe, and interest has been expressed in replicating this practice in some regions of the UK. Overseas research shows that stump harvesting can pose a risk to sustainable forest management, unless care is taken in site selection and operational practice. Poor practice can lead to detrimental effects on soil structure, increasing the risk of soil erosion, and depletes soil nutrient and carbon capital. Stump and root harvesting can also have impacts on woodland biodiversity, archaeological heritage and tree health. This Research Note offers a synthesis of available evidence on the effects of stump harvesting, drawn from largely overseas sources but critically considered for their applicability to British conditions. The overall environmental effects of stump harvesting on forest sites in the UK, and the relative magnitude of these effects compared with conventional restock site preparation, are under ongoing investigation. The results will be used to develop more definitive guidance. Preliminary guidance published by Forest Research sets out how the risks of potential damaging effects can be minimised, notably by careful assessment of site suitability and location of activities on low risk sites. It is recommended that this is used to guide the planning and location of stump and root harvesting operations in Britain.

This item is categorised as follows

Additional keywords/tags

carbon capitalbiomassbioenergy
Organisation Logo for Forestry Commission

Protecting and expanding Britain's forests and woodlands to increase their value to society and the environment.

Website

What Next...?

This is a brief summary of an item in the OpenFields Library. This free online library contains items of interest to practitioners and researchers in the agricultural and landbased industries.