Continuous Cover Forestry Group                            DEF0033

Written evidence submitted by the Continuous Cover Forestry Group


Who we are

The main objective of the Continuous Cover Forestry Group (CCFG) is to promote the transformation of even-aged plantations to structurally, visually and biologically diverse forests, in which sustainable production of quality timber is undertaken with the application of the principles of continuous cover management. Continuous Cover Forestry or Close to Nature Forest Management produces forests where a permanent growing stock is maintained and where increment is removed in cyclical interventions.

The Group was inaugurated following a meeting at Longleat on 13 March 1991, and since that time has sought to increase awareness by providing information and training on the methods and application of the low impact silvicultural systems required in CCF management.

For more information on CCFG; who we are, what we do, what CCF is and what are the benefits, see our leaflet.

The Group welcomes the Membership of any interested individuals or organisations. The Group offers the following benefits to its members:


Reason for our response

The CCFG is submitting a response to question 1) how the UK, which imports most of its timber, can best scale up a sustainable, resilient domestic timber sector and reduce its reliance on imports.

The CCFG is able to provide data and practical case studies from across the UK and internationally on the feasibility and rationale for adopting forest management that follows continuous cover forestry or close-to-nature forestry principles, as outlined in the recent paper Continuous cover forestry in Europe: usage and the knowledge gaps and challenges to wider adoption. [1]

We believe that wider adoption of continuous cover forest management is a crucial tool in helping the UK to meet its future timber supply demands in a truly sustainable way.




Our response

Continuous cover forest management (CCF, or close-to-nature-forestry) is a forest management approach that seeks to avoid clearfelling and restocking wherever possible. CCF is a proven management tool that encourages mixed species forests, composed of many different tree and plant species of different age classes, that protects, restores and enhances biodiversity as well as improving the performance of the forest in terms of economic productivity as well as ecosystem services. CCF is already being used in many state and privately owned forests across the UK, including for the conversion of monoculture plantations to forests composed of mixed tree species (both conifer and broadleaf) and trees of many different age classes, regenerating naturally to minimise costs and protect local genetic diversity. The data accumulated from CCF research forests from the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland and now Finland and Spain, is already showing that long term timber production can be secured at the same time as safeguarding biodiversity and avoiding the many deleterious effects of clearfelling and restocking, especially in environmentally sensitive areas and areas of high landscape value. CCF managed forests allow all trees in the forest to grow to their target diameter; this is when a tree has reached its optimum size and value, which ultimately drives local timber markets, as well as forestry skills and jobs able to work with an utilise higher quality, larger timber suitable for construction and wood products where carbon can be locked up. Soil carbon is also protected as the avoidance of clearfell prevents soil compaction and any desiccation of soils and organic matter, protecting the crucial role of mycorrhizal fungi in forest ecosystems and productivity.[2] 













Jonathan Hulson (CCFG Pro Silva Representative)

September 2022

[1] Mason, W & Diaci, Jurij & Carvalho, J & Valkonen, Sauli. (2021). Continuous cover forestry in Europe: usage and the knowledge gaps and challenges to wider adoption. Forestry. 95. 1-12. 10.1093/forestry/cpab038.

[2] The evidence

supporting the use of

CCF in adapting

Scotland’s forests to

the risks of climate