Willow Carr Coppicing

Tuesday, October 2nd 2018

The day has finally come for us to start coppicing Coupe 5 of the Reserve's Willow Carr.

Coppicing is a traditional woodland management technique whereby you cut a tree (typically Willow, Hazel, Birch or Alder) at the base from which new shoots will grow. A wood that is managed in this way is called a copse and is split into different areas called coupes which are cut on rotation (here at Foxglove we cut biennially).

In doing so a crop is available every couple of years and the lifespan of the tree extended well beyond it's usual lifespan. The benefits of coppicing for the environment are many; management in this way creates a mosaic of different woodland ages structures that can support a diverse array of species, whereas the constructed habitat piles become home to many small mammals and invertebrates. For more information on the benefits of coppicing for wildlife see Fuller & Warren (1993).

The picture above shows a newly coppiced Willow tree, the remaining cut tree is called the stool.

Although we burn a fair amount of the cut material we ensure that a lot is kept aside for the construction of habitat piles.

The section that we have started on within Coupe 5 has many unwanted Silver Birch saplings that are beginning to crowd out everything else. At present these have been left cut high, but will be re-cut lower down and stump treated.

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