Trees grow slowly, and in the fast modern world don’t produce the quick results many people have come to expect. Coppicing, however, sees a remarkably quick return on investment, and is as traditional as could be.
The principle of coppicing is that you harvest shoots from the stump or stool, of a cut-down tree. By cutting all the shoots from a stool, you produce round wood for different purposes: long thin sticks for beanpoles, short ones for pea sticks, straight ones for hurdles, and thicker stakes for hedge laying. Logs for firewood and timber for green woodworking may be sourced from standard trees or from restoring neglected coppice.
Hazel and chestnut are prized for coppicing because their timber is durable and relatively quick growing, but isn’t highly valued in larger dimensions.
Oak, Ash and Beech (amongst others) all produce high-value timber and good quality logs once grown to maturity, and can be coppiced, but tend not to be managed in the same quantities as hazel and chestnut.
One of the added benefits of coppicing within a woodland is that it promotes biodiversity. There will always be areas (or coupes) of coppice at different stages to provide habitat for a range of wildlife. Dormice thrive amidst coppice, and the extra light reaching the forest floor encourages bluebells and other plants. As a consequence coppiced woodland attracts butterflies, and obviously the whole ecosystem blossoms as a result.