Woodland Management

Most ancient woodland in the UK has been managed in some way by humans for hundreds (in some cases possibly thousands) of years.

Two traditional techniques are coppicing (harvesting wood by cutting trees back to ground level) and pollarding (harvesting wood at about human head height to prevent new shoots being eaten by grazing species such as deer).

Both techniques encourage new growth while allowing the sustainable production of timber and other woodland produce. A well-managed woodland, such as one in which coppicing is practiced, can produce a steady supply of small timber (suitable for fencing, broom handles etc.).

With its mixture of open glades, partial and total tree cover, it can also maintain a wide variety of environments for woodland species of birds, insects and flowers. Other woodland management techniques include pollarding, shredding and snigging.

During the 20th century, use of such traditional management techniques has declined while there has been an increase in large-scale mechanised forestry. These changes in management methods resulted in changes to ancient woodland habitats, and a loss of ancient woodland to forestry.