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Coppicing

Coppicing is the process of cutting trees down and allowing the stumps to regenerate.  The stump is known as a stool and the shoots when grown, as rods which are harvested on a rotational cycle for either 7, 14 or 21 years

Coppicing makes use of the natural regeneration of many tree species, including Oak, Hazel, Maple, Sweet Chestnut, Lime and Ash. Regrowth can be rapid, with new shoots growing as much as 5cm a day. Oak stems can exceed 2m growth in one season.

Coppiced woods are divided into a number of compartments. One of the compartments, known as either a fell or coupes, will be cut each year within the rotational cycle.

Coppicing has been practiced in British woodlands for centuries. As a result of the rotational cutting sequence, at any one time there would be coppice at various stages of regeneration within the woodland. In this way, wood is produced for a variety of uses, in a sustainable way.

Coppicing is labour intensive and expensive to carry out. The wood produced tends to have a relatively low value and has been replaced by commercially produced products. Traditional skills have also declined along with the loss of traditional ways of life and the removal of dependence on local natural products. All of these factors have resulted in the demise of coppicing as an economic and sustainable woodland management practice. Less than 3% of woodlands in the UK are now coppiced.