Folia Geobotanica

, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 1–3 | Cite as

Coppicing systems as a way of understanding patterns in forest vegetation

  • Radim Hédl
  • Jörg Ewald
  • Markus Bernhardt-Römermann
  • Keith Kirby

A brief history of coppicing

Coppicing is a short-rotation system based on harvesting the stump regrowth of deciduous trees. In Central and Northwestern Europe, traditional coppicing was a major, and in the lowlands even the most prevalent, type of forest use from prehistory to the mid-20th century, from which time on it was largely abandoned (Hopkins and Kirby 2007; Szabó et al. 2015). In other regions, such as the Mediterranean or France, it remains an important type of forestry management to this day. Coppice systems produced a variety of products such as small poles used for fuel, larger timbers for buildings, litter for animal bedding or fodder for livestock.

The ecological consequences of traditional coppicing on forest structure and organisms inhabiting forests were profound (Buckley and Mills 2015a,b). Coppicing created a dynamic mosaic of lighter and darker phases, and in the long-run it altered soil acidity and nutrient pools (Hölscher et al. 2001; Baeten et al. 2009)....


biodiversity forest management restoration vegetation dynamics traditional coppicing 


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Copyright information

© Institute of Botany, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Radim Hédl
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jörg Ewald
    • 3
  • Markus Bernhardt-Römermann
    • 4
  • Keith Kirby
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Vegetation EcologyInstitute of Botany, Czech Academy of SciencesBrnoCzech Republic
  2. 2.Department of Botany, Faculty of SciencePalacký UniversityOlomoucCzech Republic
  3. 3.Faculty of ForestryUniversity of Applied Sciences Weihenstephan-TriesdorfFreisingGermany
  4. 4.Institute of Ecology, Friedrich Schiller University JenaJenaGermany
  5. 5.Department of Plant SciencesUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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