About the A.F.I.
The AFI (Association Futaie Irrégulière) is an association registered by French law, setup in 1991 by a group of private forestry consultants in order to promote the management of irregular stands. It aims to share technical information and is founded on the principles advanced by ProSilva. Although these two associations share many common objectives they both operate within their own separate spheres.
The AFI aims to promote the most effective management practices and silvicultural systems for irregular stand structures, endowing stands with greater resilience and providing managers with a better capacity to respond to external factors (climatic events, market fluctuation, changing social demands…).
Over the last 20 years, the AFI managers have refined the broader objectives and the detailed silvicultural systems of irregular stand silviculture.
In order to assist with the promotion and to better define these silvicultural techniques, the AFI decided to set up a network of research stands. Each one of the research stands is monitored providing detailed economic and ecological increment data.
The first AFI research stand outside of France was established in England at Stourhead in March 2006; the first AFI research established in Ireland was set-up in March 2007 at Curraghchase.
These are multiple objectives :
- To adhere to all the principles of irregular forest management (economic, silvicultural and mensurational) without prescribing individual treatments
- To demonstrate through the monitoring of research stands, that the principles of continuous cover forestry can be used in widely differing situations (species mixtures, site types, harvesting regimes ...). Samples taken over a wide number of different stands provide data for a range of site types, reactions to silvicultural interventions and to climatic events.
- To test that biological automation mechanisms contribute to a reduction in production and harvesting costs, while also increasing the levels of income and capital growth.
- To promote the best examples, demonstrating quantitative economic benefits as well as growth characteristics (incremental growth, quality production, returns, expenses, capital growth ...).
- To contribute to greater understanding of continuous cover forestry. To focus, in accordance with the wishes of forest owners and within individual site restrictions, on the higher and lower thresholds above which the stand loses its plasticity: difficulties in obtaining quality regeneration, species interactions, optimising quality production ...
- To ensure a flow of information, as well as on the solutions advocated as well as on any outstanding issues. This last point being perhaps the most important.