Sunday, 23 November 2008

Coppice Diary - Autumn 2008

If you visit Hatfield Forest you will almost certainly see areas of woodland which have been managed by coppicing. This way of managing woodland has gone on for thousands of years. Today, it is practised to encourage biodiversity, the act of rotational coppicing ensures that the woodland is always at different states of regeneration which encourages a wide range of different habitats. What evidence can be seen through the year of biodiversity in the coppice? This is what the woodland looks like before coppicing. And the huge increase in biodiversity that results after coppicing. At the beginning of October the National Trust Coppicing Volunteers began work in their area of the forest known as Collins Coppice. Coppicers are not only felling trees but also building 'stockades' around the stumps to protect them against deer browsing. The felled timber is a sustainable source of firewood. At this time of year the leaves are still mostly on the trees and it is a good opportunity to check the regeneration from the stumps cut last season. This Field Maple followed by one years regeneration on a stump of this same species. We expect there to be in excess of 2m growth on Hazel in particular in the first season. This ia an Ash tree which should have been re-coppiced many years ago, if not coppiced it will die, coppicing extends its life indefinitely. Coppicing also gives seeds like these young Oaks a chance germinate.Here are two examples of coppice plants, firstly the twisted stem of the Honeysuckle. And secondly, Beefsteak fungus on an Oak. There is evidence of Badgers and Foxes by their dung pits and scats respectively.