Canadian Forest Service Publications

Is there a place for coppicing as a silvicultural system in the 21st century?

Year: 2016

Available from: Atlantic Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 39593

Language: English

CFS Availability: PDF (download)

Plain Language Summary

Coppice forest management is an ancient silvicultural system that was practiced in Europe as early as neolithic times, and was described in both early Roman and medieval literature, as well as German records going back 5000 years. This silvicultural system was very common in the past but suffered a decline in the 19th and 20th century, at least in the more developed countries, due to the widespread use of fossil fuels, and a general perception among professional foresters that coppicing often results in lower quality timber production. In several European jurisdictions, such views within the forestry profession have promoted laws and regulations against converting high forest into coppice forests. However, a renewed interest in coppicing has been observed in the last 10-15 years in Europe. New evidence indicates that coppiced stands have important roles in biodiversity conservation, maintenance of habitat, restoration of difficult-to-manage sites, wood and bioenergy production, and other products and ecological services. Here, we consider selected issues and concerns with coppice forestry as an important topic of current European forestry.

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