Best Woodland Management Techniques

Photo by Rural Explorer on Unsplash

Woodlands are extensive tree-covered areas, often with thick undergrowth. Depending on the canopy and amount of light filtering through, the undergrowth may consist of shrubs, lichens, mosses, etc. Woodlands are home to many animals and birds. Thus, they form an integral part of the ecosystem and as such we have an obligation to preserve them.

Trees respond well to management because they are renewable.  Effective management of woodlands is important for their health and wellbeing. If well taken care of, they can fulfill various social, economic, and environmental functions as expected by society. Woodland managers are in charge of determining the purpose of the management. Woodlands that are of value to the community will receive the management needed to thrive long in the future.

The woodland management services

  • Enhancing wildlife habitat
  • Planting and creation of woodland.
  • Improving the health of the woodlands
  • To grow better quality trees.
  • Plant designs and species choices
  • Creating a more valuable estate for the family.
  • Generation of an additional source of income from proper timber harvesting.
  • Protecting and maintaining young trees.
  • Plans preparation and production forecasts.

What woodland management involves

  • Planting or regenerating a new tree to replace those that have died or were harvested.
  • Thinning to increase growth rate.
  • Weeding undesirable plants to restore health.
  • Harvesting to generate income.

Things to consider before undertaking woodland management work

  • There are some critical information that needs to be gathered for planning including;
  • Looking up historical and habitat information for the woodland. This may give clues about any past management.
  • Find out any information about wildlife records for the site.
  • Building own records.
  • Obtaining professional advice from organizations dealing with wildlife.
  • Writing a management plan with a map showing the work intended.
  • Seeking expert advice if there are archeological features on the land, so they can advise on how to undertake the management of trees growing on them.

Woodland management techniques

  1. Coppicing

It is a traditional method form of woodland management. It is a sustainable method of using woodland to get timber. Coppicing is cutting a young tree to ground level. Shoots then re-grow from coppice stool. They can then be cut back to ground level to harvest timber, and this process continues. Standard trees and restoration of neglected coppice are the main sources of firewood logs and green woodworking. Hazel and chestnut are for coppicing as their timber is durable but not highly valued in large dimensions.

On the other hand, oak, ash produce logs of high value once mature and can be coppiced and require less management. Coppicing promotes biodiversity within a woodland. There are coupes at different stages, always providing habitat for wildlife. Dormice thrive amidst coppice. Coppiced woodland attracts butterflies and the whole ecosystem blossoms. Coppice products still have a small market, but it is growing. Careful coppicing results in less need for thinning areas.

  • Thinning

This is the process of removing less healthy or less desirable trees. When trees grow, the crown takes the most room, and the tree requires more resources. Removing part of the canopy allows light to reach lower levels of the woodland, thus encouraging growth there. It must be carried out with consideration. Selective thinning influences dominant tree species and the make-up of the whole woodland. It is more appropriate where the majority of felled wood will be left as wildlife habitat.

  • Clear felling

This involves cutting down and removing all trees in the area. It is an economical means of harvesting timber. It may have devastating effects on the woodland. It leads to massive damages to the local ecosystem. It also damages the topsoil and results in land taking longer to recover and regrow.

  • Pollarding

This is the removal of upper branches of a tree to encourage the growth of a dense crown. It is mainly used in keeping trees at specific heights either as livestock food or wood production for firewood, fence posts. It helps trees live longer as no much weight or height to the tree, limiting impacts of wind. It is a sustainable management technique. To be effectively used, the area needs to be more extensively thinned.

  • Habitat conservation

This is the practice of controlling or manipulation of the amount and type of food and water available in an area. Habitat conservation is meant to encourage a wide range of flora and fauna.

In order to limit wildlife disturbance, the public is restricted to few permissible walks. There is a walkway through the wetland area to prevent damage to the land. Felled wood is left on the site to provide habitat for habitat. Around the woodland, there are well-stocked bird feeders that are replenished regularly. These are meant to balance the impacts of human visitors to the area. It is a sustainable method and ensures a healthy future for the woodlands.

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