Forestry Commission logo


When an area of woodland has been felled, there are three options for how to ‘restock’ it by replacing the trees.

You need to decide which option best meets your commercial and biodiversity objectives. Unless you’re thinning your woodland, then restocking it is usually a condition of a Felling Licence. These three main options will depend on what species of tree were on the site before felling, what species you wish to grow in the new woodland and whether the site lends itself to a particular choice. More than one option can be combined.

Option 1: Replanting with nursery grown plants

This is the most reliable choice. It’s the best option to ensure good quality tree growth and timber supply. Replanting also enables you to determine which tree species you grow. Often site conditions are not adequate for natural regeneration or coppice regrowth.

Option2: Natural regeneration

You may also be able to rely on ‘natural regeneration’, which involves allowing trees around the site to seed naturally. The species that grows will be dictated by what seed bearing trees are in the locality and whether the ground conditions are suitable. You may need to undertake some scarification of the site beforehand – this involves ensuring the soil is lightly cultivated so the seeds can make contact with the bare soil rather than weeds or leaf litter.

Option 3: Coppicing

If the felled trees were broadleaved, there may be sufficient regrowth from the cut stools. This is the basis of coppice management. If you intend on this method you should tell the person who fells the trees, so they can ensure the stools are cut and left accordingly.

Whichever option you choose, the young trees will need protection from rabbits and deer. This can be done by active deer management, including shooting, individually guarding the trees with shelters, or fencing the site. It is very important that you select the right type of shelter or fencing in order to prevent damage. You can contact your local woodland officer for advice on this area and they will arrange to visit your woodland to provide you with bespoke guidance.

Thinning illastration









Maintenance is also vital to ensure planted stock or natural regeneration survives. It will require two to three years of weed control and establishment.

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
  • Enhance the capital value of your estate
  • Access 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
Felling Licence Application guidance
Managing deadwood in forests and woodlands
Information on pests and diseases
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. It can also 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. More