If you have bought or are thinking of buying woodland keep Coppicing in mind and here is why... Coppicing is a traditional woodland management method that's been used for hundreds if not thousands of years. As early people started working woods and forests they realised that if they cut down some species of trees they grew back multi stemmed from the ground. This could be done again and again from the same tree which would now be referred to as a coppice 'stool', which relates to the look of the tree now resembling an upturned stool with many legs in the air.
Coppice was cut to provide a sustainable harvest of wood for fuel, charcoal, tool handles, fencing and much more. The age of the coppice stool when cut would depend on what the wood was needed for at the time i.e. stakes for fencing would be grown larger than poles for making hazel fence hurdles that need to be twisted and wound together.
The coppice area can be made up of many trees and is usually managed on a rotation. The rotation would relate to the age structure of an area of coppice stools with coppice areas being cut every 7 - 20 years depending on what the timber was needed for.
A woodland can be made up of varying ages of coppice on different rotations; these areas of coppice are called coups. Coppiced areas of woodland are well documented to show a positive relationship with increasing the biodiversity of a woodland.
After the first and second world war and the drop in the need for charcoal and other woodland produce a lot of coppice has overgrown and been forgotten in our woodlands. But now at a time of our society's dependence on plastics, rubbish mounting up in land fill and rainforest cut down to provide cheap timber, surely the sustainable harvesting of woodland produce at a local level has an incredible role to play?
So the question is, do you have any coppice in your woodland?
If you would like one of our team to have a walk around your woods and see if there is a possibility of establishing forgotten areas of coppice or even creating new areas of coppice please contact us.