Harvesting woodfuel from hedges
Organic Research Centre
Traditionally, hedges provided a variety of wood products including firewood, but as labour became more expensive and wood was replaced by fossil fuels, the practice of managing hedges for firewood was lost. Following recent rises in oil and gas costs and concerns about climate change, there is a growing interest in reviving the economic value of hedgerows through managing them once again for woodfuel, mainly through coppicing. Most English hedges are currently managed by annual flailing, a costly practice which eventually leads to degradation of the hedge without periodic rejuvenation by laying or coppicing. Likewise under-management, where the hedge is left to develop into a line of trees, also results in the loss of hedgerows. Managing hedges for woodfuel through coppicing therefore provides an opportunity to rejuvenate old hedges, restoring not only their economic role but their value to the wider landscape.
Author(s): Chambers, M, Crossland, M, Westaway, S, Smith, J
Journal: Organic Research Centre