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coppice


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1 A traditional European method of woodland management and wood production, in which shoots are allowed to grow up from the base of a felled tree. Trees are felled in a rotation, commonly of 12–15 years. A coppice may be large, in which case trees, usually ash (Fraxinus) or maple (Acer), are cut, leaving a massive stool from which up to 10 trunks arise; or small, in which case trees, usually hazel (Corylus), hawthorn (Crataegus), or willow (Salix), are cut to leave small, underground stools producing many short stems. The system provides a continuous supply of timber for fuel, fencing, etc., but not structural timber. In Britain, coppicing is largely abandoned now, except for conservation purposes, since high labour costs and alternative fuels and materials render the practice unprofitable. One consequence of coppicing is that the stool enlarges because each subsequent growth of shoots occurs on its outside. The diameter of a stool is thus directly related to its age.

2 The smaller trees and bushes that regenerate from cut stumps and occasionally (e.g. in Ulmus species) from root suckering.

3 An area of land in which underwood and timber is or was grown.

4 (copse) Any type of wood in which the shrub layer predominates and is periodically coppiced.

5 The action of cutting coppice.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry — Ecology and Conservation.


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