Selective coppicing

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Under selective coppicing we must understand the difference between removing all stems from a coppice stool, as is the general practice, and just removing large (overgrown) ones. Selective coppicing is the latter.

Selective coppicing should be considered in order to have a continuous supply of wood available, especially when a wood is being restored, which can take many years. This available wood is what pays, to some degree, for the restoration of the wood and gives an income to the coppice worker.

All too often a coppice stool is being entirely cleared of stems, including small regrowth that is nowhere useful at the time. This regrowth, however, is often a year or two, or even three, old and thus, in the not so distant future could provide income already from the stool, well before others stems have grown enough to do that.

Cutting all stems, including the young ones, when coppicing, is a case of killing the goose that lays the golden eggs, proverbial speaking, and thus one has to be a little farsighted in this department.

Forestry is such a trade where one has to look further ahead than one has to do in farming, for instance, and this also goes for rotation coppicing, even though here rewards arrive earlier than in forestry per se.

Planning, good planning, is part of the process and selective coppicing, is part of this, even though this method seems to be rarely used, it would seem, but should be one to be considered, if it is not.

© 2012