Coppicing is the practise of cutting live trees in their dormant season and allowing them to regrow from the stump.
Many woody plants resprout from the stump or root suckers when cut to the ground--we call the regrowth "coppice", and the management system "coppicing". Many ancient cultures understood this plant behavior and managed coppice to produce their fuel, craft and building materials, livestock fodder, fencing, and much more. Any ag-based community should strongly consider this.
Mark Krawczyk (Keyline Vermont and Riven WoodCrafts) and Dave Jacke (Edible Forest Gardens) have therefore decided to write "Coppice Agroforestry: Perennial Silviculture for the 21st Century." Coppice Agroforestry will serve as a detailed manual for foresters, farmers, craftspeople, and land managers describing the history, ecology, economics, design, and management of agroforestry systems based on the repeated harvest of small diameter wood products from resprouting tree stumps. Bridging ancient coppice traditions and cutting-edge agroecosystem design, Coppice Agroforestry will articulate a practical vision of forest management that integrates ecosystem health, economic viability, multi-generational tree crops, and diverse non-timber forest products.
Uses and product ecology
- use of nut or fruit trees: produce wood and food (see: Nut Breeding)
- willow branches – many uses (examples: basket making, furniture, ornamental, streambank erosion control, fences, bio-energy,...)
- to provide logs on which to grow mushrooms (caution: willow is a hyperaccumulator of heavy metals, and so are many mushrooms. This may potentiate the effect. Always monitor!)
- supports biodiversity: birds, insects
- in agroforestry: works as a wind brake: slows down evaporation from fields
- in agroforestry: creates diffuse light, can be better for field crops than glaring sunlight