An Idea Whose Time Has Come Again (Pollarding and Coppicing)


When the world was handmade and our everyday tools, food, and shelter came from wood, or fiber, a very innovative skill was used to keep the trees producing new wood for a very long time. A tree was not just cut down to use with no forethought about future wood needs. If that were the case, humans would have stripped the planet of trees long ago. A thoughtful plan was implemented. To make a resource last, the tree would be cut at the base, which is called coppicing, and new sprouts would emerge that would turn to usable wood in a few years. To keep animals from browsing the new shoots, Pollarding was used. This is where you cut the tree above an animals reach for it to regenerate. These skills created the most healthy working forests in human history, which sustained man's needs for thousands of years. Our oceans are full of plastic that will not fully break down and destructive forest wildfires burn yearly across the world because of their neglect of proper management. Legions of people yearn to reconnect with the natural world through a working relationship with nature. This type work could employ many in our future. As our love of plastics wane, and the need of organic materials increases, an old human skill might find future relevance again. This subject was brought to my attention by William Logan's book Sprout Lands.










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