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Coppicing is a traditional woodland management technique that was practiced extensively until about 70 years ago.

Areas of woodlands, or ‘coupes’, are harvested on a rotation of up to 30 years. Most coppice woodlands are now classified as neglected or stored coppice, which means that they have not been cut for a number of rotations.

Woodland management will help you to take advantage of the natural products grown in your woodland (both timber and game). You can boost your income through sales of timber and woodfuel, commercial shoots, deer stalking and making the most of tax benefits for commercial forestry.

Restoring coppice

With a revival in timber prices and woodland industries, many woodland owners are again cutting coppice coupes. While the market for traditional coppice products has declined, there are buoyant new markets for timber and woodfuel – creating more opportunities to unlock extra income.

Coppice coupes can be anywhere up to 1 ha. Coupe size is usually determined by the overall size of the woodland, the number of coupes being cut, length of coppice cycle and local site conditions, such as accessibility.

The role of standards

Standards are trees that are retained within the coupe to reach maturity, including oak, ash, sycamore and sweet chestnut. Selected standards are kept to provide quality timber and provide great habitat for other wildlife. Other species of tree that coppice well are hazel, small leaf lime, sweet chestnut, alder and willow.

Thinning illastration

Protecting the coppice

After felling, cut coppice stumps are protected to allow them to regenerate. Temporary fencing is the most common and effective method of protection. Regenerating stumps may be layered with ‘whippy shoots’ pegged down to form new stools or supplemented by planting trees to fill up any gaps.

Managing woodlands

Woodland management is the long-term maintenance of your woodland that delivers your business and woodland management plan objectives. It can also unlock extra income. Your woodland is a valuable resource, so make it work for your business by:

  • Boosting income from sale of timber and woodfuel, game shoots or tourism
  • Enhancing the capital value of your estate
  • Accessing grants and expertise to help improve or create new woodland

Our woodland experts can help you manage your woodland, in your own way. Our support ranges from showing you how to access various grants to helping you produce an effective UK Forestry Standard compliant woodland management plan.

Felling also improves timber value and creates the diverse edge habitats for our rare and declining woodland species. Your local woodland officer can also help you apply for felling licences.

Biosecurity measures: Keep it clean

  • Think kit – scrape, brush or knock mud and debris from your footwear, clothing and equipment
  • Think transport – remove any build-up of mud and debris from vehicles and machinery before leaving any site
  • Think trees – source plants responsibly, monitor for signs of ill health and report suspect plants using our Tree Alert online form

Biosecurity advice - Keep it clean


Useful links

United Kingdom Forest Standard
European Protected Species
Forestry Commission Felling Licence Application guidance
Managing deadwood in forests and woodlands
Information on pests and diseases
Report ill health in trees
Climate change and forests

How can I get involved?

We and our partners are working hard to bring more woodland into active management and provide on-the-ground support and expert advice. For more information: 0300 067 4000 or

Last updated: 31st January 2018

What's of interest

Harvesting woodlands plays a crucial role in creating new habitat for butterflies and birds. You can generate additional income through timber sales.

Woodlands with different tree species, ages and management regimes are more resilient to storms, pests, disease and fire. This can also help reduce the extent of damage caused by flooding.