Coppice woodlands

Neglected birch coppice woodland . Locat...Background

Coppice was the traditional form of silviculture practised in many woodlands in lowland Britain, and the estimated areas of simple coppice, and coppice with standards, has been declining for at least a century.  However, during recent years there has been a revival of interest in this form of management.

Coppice woodlands often have a potentially high conservation value, but many of those that remain are neglected, and require management in order to retain their character and biodiversity. Whilst there has been much interest in the ecology of coppice woodlands there has been little systematic study of the silviculture of either coppice stools or woodlands.

Estimated areas (1000’s Ha) of simple coppice and coppice with standards recorded in surveys made during the 20th century
Year England Wales Scotland Britain Total
C S C S C S C S
1905 215 6 9     230
1913 208 8 11     227
1924 31 163 7 8 2 2 40 173 213
1947 41 91 7 1 < 1 < 1 48 92 140
1965 18 10 < 1 X X X 18 10 29
1980 26 11 2 < 1 < 1 < 1 28 12 40
1997 11 10 < 1 X < 1 < 1 12 11 23

Notes on table:
C = Simple coppice;
S = Coppice with Standards;
X = none recorded in this survey.
Figures are thousands of hectares.
In 1905 and 1913 coppice types were not differentiated. 
Adapted from "The Silviculture And Management Of Coppice Woodlands" (see below).

Experimental work

  • A survey of recently felled coppice woodlands was carried out to gather information on current practices
  • Restoration of neglected hazel coppice
  • Growth of hazel coppice with standards
  • Effects of time of felling and height of cutting coppice.

Experimental results are available in several publications.

The Silviculture And Management Of Coppice Woodlands handbookIn addition a handbook has been published to give information and advice on the management of trees, stools and woodlands as coppice:
The Silviculture And Management Of Coppice Woodlands.

                  

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