by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
Many, though not all, broad leaved species of trees, and also some evergreens, such as the Yew, have an amazing power to regrow after having been cut or having fallen over.
That is the very reason why coppicing of woodlands is a management system that is so much superior to other methods though, as said, it does not work with all broad leaved trees and with conifers it, basically, does not work at all with the occasional exception.
As an example of this regeneration power let's take a look at this fallen hazel stem in the picture below. It is a wonderful example of the regenerative power of nature and its endless ability to amaze and fascinate. So long as approx 25% of the root system remains intact the stem will stay alive and new growth will be encouraged from the dormant buds along its length – hence the row of new stems.
This picture of a lime tree in a local park, in fact the my place of work, also can stand as yet another example. It has been regrowing since having been thrown in a gale some twelve or more years ago and now, basically, sports a whole array of large trunks on the base of the old trunk.
Those trunks, obviously, we branches when the tree fell and they began reaching for the light in a different way and became thus trunks.
Both Hazel and Lime are prolific in regrowth after such an incident or after having been coppiced and Yes, though and evergreen with needle like leaves, but not a conifer and a hardwood, also has the same ability and also layers when branches from a tree manage to embed themselves into leaf litter.
Another species that regenerates extremely well also is Sweet Chestnut (Castanea sativa) and because of it's ability to do so is used extensively for coppice creation, alongside of Hazel. The Chestnut wood is, predominately, made into palings for what is referred to as temporary stock fencing.
Another great regenerator is Sycamore but many people seem to dislike that tree and regard it as a weed, more or less. However, it is a fast growing tree and makes a great wood for the making of kitchen utensils and implements and has also some of the greatest antibacterial properties of woods. This makes this wood one of ideal choices for chopping boards, spoons, etc.
Some broad leaved trees do not regenerate as well as others and some virtually not as all so, when it comes to coppice woodland management the right choice is important.
However, in general, coppice management is the best choice for managing our woodlands, and not just in Britain. It can be done in most, if not indeed all, countries of the Northern hemisphere and, though I cannot vouch for this, probably would work on the other side of the equator also.