Typically, a coppiced woodland is harvested in sections or coups on a rotation. In this way, a crop is available each year somewhere in the woodland. Coppicing has the effect of providing a rich variety of habitats, as the woodland always has a range of different-aged coppice growing in it, which is beneficial for biodiversity.
Trees being coppiced cannot die of old age as coppicing maintains the tree at a juvenile stage, allowing them to reach immense ages. The age of a stool may be estimated from its diameter; some are so large that they are thought to have been continually coppiced for centuries." (Wikipedia)
A July storm toppled a number of trees in our neighbourhood including this moderately large basswood (genus Tilia) which landed on a house. The city removed the tree and placed the stump and grass back in their proper positions.
Basswood trees are one of many species that produce new growth from felled stumps. In past centuries, woodlands were systematically coppiced as a source of fuel and building materials. The trees were never destroyed. Ancient coppices are found in Europe, with France having the greatest number of hectares of this type of woodland.
In the past two months, vigourous new growth has virtually hidden the basswood stump, and if properly pruned, new trees would continue to grow from the mature root.
So many life lessons...!!
I read a comment recently that described how people will update their clothing, their furniture, their kitchens, but they resist updating their thinking and stop learning. People think older citizens are the only ones who bemoan "the good old days", but I have met people in their 20s and 30s with very rigid thinking. The mature tree, whose individualistic trunk is removed, becomes host to the vigourous growth of many juvenile shoots. Just as the mature root is untouched, our morals and values do not have to change in order to support new ideas that bring progress.
I highlighted two characteristics of coppiced woodlands in the Wikipedia description.
- They provide a rich habitat for biodiversity
- Coppiced trees cannot die from old age
Colossians 2:6-7 continues the theme, encouraging us as we grow and mature in Christ.