‘Keeping an Eye on your Plantation’

15 Nov , 2019  

Set-up in 2002, Kestrel Forestry Consultants is one of Ireland’s leading forest consultancy firms. Irish Tractor & Agri learned all about the success Wexford-based business from its owner and founder Sean Lenihan.

Business is booming right now at Kestrel Forestry Consultants down in Model County and the plan for Sean Lenihan is to keep things that way as we near closer to the halfway point of 2019.

Having earned 25 years of experience in the industry before setting up his venture, Sean now operates one of the country’s leading forest consultancy firms.

It was launched in August 2002 with the objective of providing a first class, personalised, consultancy and contracting service to forest owners and new growers mainly but not exclusively in the South East

Now, nearly 17 years later, the company is thriving and provides its clientele with “the full range” when it comes to consultancy and forestry services.

Irish Tractor & Agri found out all about those services and more when we caught up with Sean recently.

“We’re based in Coolgreany, Co Wexford and basically we provide a full range of consultancy and contracting services including professional advice to forest owners and new growers in the south east.”

By “the full range”, Sean means providing forestry services from establishment through to harvesting, specialising in the management of post-grant stage plantations, offering a superior but competitive service to the plantation owner.

The idea is that once you become a Kestrel Management client than you will be part of a select group, limited in number, so as to ensure and maintain a premium service.

All of that considered, it’s little wonder why business is thriving at the minute and, as Sean explained, his company has been built off the back of many years of gained experience.

“I worked both with Coillte and the old Forest & Wildlife Service, and gained a lot of experience along the way. Altogether, I was 25 years with Coillte before taking the decision to go out on my own,” he outlined.

A native of Delvin in Co Westmeath, Sean has been working in Coolgreany in the north of Wexford since 1989.

He began to discover a passion for a forestry profession when he was 18 after becoming a trainee forester, with the then Dept. of Lands – Forest and Wildlife Service.

From there, Sean went on to gain more than 30 years’ experience in all aspects of Forestry Management from inventory and establishment to harvesting.

Up until 1989, he had worked all over the country – in Cork, Donegal, Mayo and Wicklow for the Forest Service before focusing on the South East with Coillte until 2002.

That August saw Kestrel Forestry Consultants launched and Sean has since been involved in the establishment and management of forest plantations and general forest consultancy services all over the South East, and further whenever viable.

His firm are now the Irish agents for TUBEX Tree shelters, DISTEIN Forest Marking Paint and ARS Pruning Tools.

Eleven years ago saw Ireland’s first ever Forestry Webshop launched, selling forest accessories like tree shelters, marking paint, DBH tapes, biodegradable mulch mats, tree ties etc.

It’s all a far cry from when Sean first started out in the industry way back in 1977 as a trainee forester, with his own venture now booming with clients all over the South East.

So what has been the secret to success since 2002? How has Sean built one of the country’s leading forest consultancy firms from the ground up in the space of a little over a decade-and-a-half?

For him, it has always come down to providing the clients with quality when it comes to the service and the goods he supplies.

“The clients we’re dealing with are mainly forest owners or prospective forest owners, and after establishing what they from existing or new forests we provide a realistic Establishment/Management Plan based on criteria like soils, exposure and most suitable tree species.

“I think they choose us first because we try and give them a quality service and also try and give them quality goods.

“We get good feedback on the products we sell. As regards the tools we have, we’re not competing with the likes of Aldi or Lidl which are fine for light garden work, but forest owners and forest contractors need quality tools, and we have them here with our ARS Japan range.”

Looking to the months ahead, Sean is very much hoping for more of the same down in Coolgreany.

“I hope to just maintain the contracts we have with existing customers and hopefully after that we’ll continue to gain more and more customers as we go along,” he concluded.

Sean Lenihan is a technical member of the Society of Irish Foresters, the association which represents the forestry profession in Ireland. It allows him to use the designation MSIF (Member of the Society of Irish Foresters).

He is also a member of the Association of Irish Forestry Consultants (AIFC), acting as its chairman from 2009 until 2012.

He also writes an Irish forestry news column – View from the Emerald Isle for CONFOR UK’s magazine Forestry and Timber News.

Kestrel Forestry Consultants  

Coolgreany,  Co Wexford

Tel: 0402 37519 | Mobile: 087 206 9277 | E-mail: [email protected]

Taken from Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 7 No 4, August 2019