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Coppicing and woodland management

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Coppicing has been traced back to Neolithic times by archaeologists who have excavated wooden tracks over boggy ground made entirely of coppiced material.Coppicing can provide a constant supply of material for a wide variety of uses. The material is of a size which is easily handled. Through the 18th and 19th centuries, coppiced woodlands provided industrial charcoal for the smelting of iron, and bark from which tanning liquors were prepared.

Coppicing occurs when a tree is felled and sprouts arise from the cut stump (known as a stool). This process can be carried out over and over again and is sustainable over several hundred years at least, the stool getting ever larger in diameter.

All broadleaves coppice but some are stronger than others. The strongest are ash, hazel, and oak whilst the weakest include beech, wild cherry and poplar. Most conifers do not coppice.

Yield depends on the rotation length, site and species. Indicative yields are as follows:

Oak 2-4 tonnes per hectare per year over a 30 year rotation
Mixed species 3-5 tonnes/ha/yr or 45-75 tonnes at year 15 and 90-115 tonnes at year 30
Hazel 25 tonnes/ha at year 10 of a rotation

This training will only proceed if there is enough interest.

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