As part of our wellbeing programmes KindleWoods helps to look after a number of woodlands. We are being funded this year by the Two Ridings Community Foundation to run a coppicing woodland wellbeing project in Knaresborough. Coppicing involves harvesting hazel in the winter, which then re-grows into long straight rods which can be harvested again in 5-30 years time.
Coppicing has many biodiversity and sustainability benefits. Here are just a few:
The increased light to ground level allows (often rare) green plants and wildflowers to flourish. In turn, these provide habitats and resource variety that attracts wildlife and an increase in species of insects (eg. butterflies), reptiles (snakes, lizards), birds (eg. woodpeckers), and mammals (eg. bats, stoats, badgers).
Because coppicing is a low-disturbance management method, animals have time to move during work, and the work is slow and delicate enough to avoid nesting animals and patches of fragile flora.
It's an opportunity to discover invasive species (eg. Himalayan balsam) and diseased trees (notably Ash dieback) that can then be removed by appropriate means, and overall monitoring of the woodland can continue to determine if any adjustments to management are necessary to increase the resilience of woodland and aid in its adapting to climate change.