Centre for Alternative Technology

Britain's major centre for environmental inspiration and courses.



a young willow coppice stool


Coppicing is the act of cutting trees in order to harvest multiple poles.

When a coppice tree is cut at ground level it will produce new shoots from the roots. This tree is then known as a coppice stool. The new shoots, if managed correctly with appropriate spacing, will grow straight and yield a variety of useful timber depending on the species. CAT have hazel, willow, chestnut and alder coppice, and are able to generate a variety of products from this type of management. See the product pages for more information.

Coppice woodlands tend to be cut on a rotation. The coppice woodland here is divided up into 4 sections, where one is cut every year. This means that each year we can harvest 4 year old poles for various uses. In some other parts of the woodland we have coppice stools mixed in with larger ‘standard’ (uncut) trees. This method is known as ‘coppice with standards’. These coppice stools may be left to grow on, depending on their uses.

Coppice woodlands are also great habitat for biodiversity as they provide a mosaic of vegetation that can play host to a much wider range of species than a single age stand of trees. Coppice woodlands are also lighter than other types of woodland, so encourage plants that require sunlight.

Conversion and Processing Broadleaf Management Conifer Management Coppicing Extraction Tree nursery