Coppicing and Pollarding

“Coppicing is a traditional method of woodland management which exploits the capacity of many species of trees to put out new shoots from their stump or roots if cut down. In a coppiced wood, young tree stems are repeatedly cut down to near ground level, resulting in a stool. New growth emerges, and after a number of years, the coppiced tree is harvested, and the cycle begins anew. Pollarding is a similar process carried out at a higher level on the tree in order to prevent grazing animals from eating new shoots.” — Wikipedia page on Coppicing

What is particularly interesting for me is the fact that this ancient 'forestry management' technique seems to be one of the few (if only?) practices that actually increases biodiversity (through preventing the coppiced area from being completely overgrown by tall / late-successional trees, leaving patches where shrubs and bushes can grow which, in turn, provides shelter for smaller animals which would otherwise not be found in a 'climax forest') whilst simultaneously extending the lifespan of the individual trees from several decades up to around 1000 years.

Add to this the fact that the regularly harvestable wood can be used as an actually renewable source of firewood and/or construction materials, and this seems like a practice that make a ridiculous amount of sense, be it on the small 'homesteading' scale or a larger 'community' energy / materials production scale.

Forestry Commission. 2015. What is coppicing?. Video. Retrieved from

Forestry Commission. 2015. The wildlife benefits of coppicing in woodland. Video. Retrieved from

In the first video, “Jon Rau from the Forestry Commission explores the traditional woodland management technique of coppicing. He explains what coppicing is, what it involves and the potential uses of wood products from coppice”. In the second, he “describes why coppicing is beneficial for wildlife, and the extra ways in which you can make your coppice even better for biodiversity”.

Paul KinderPolitics Quest108 Crosland. 2017. Ben Law, Coppicing Increases Biodiversity; Larches & Autobiography. Video. Retrieved from

In this video, Ben Law describes how coppicing is, in his opinion, the only system in which he can comfortable say that “the human element increases biodiversity

Ian Rotherham. 2019. Coppice management and charcoal making with the late Bill Hogarth. Video. Retrieved from

  • Last modified: 2022-03-08 21:44
  • by Peter