Our Environment - Woodland Management

Current energy and environmental issues are on all our minds, the mention of renewable energy is no longer just the concern of the green ones among us. One answer lies in the sustainable management (coppicing) and replanting of our local indigenous woodlands in harmony with urban and rural society.

Coppice is an ancient woodland industry, mastered in the Tudor era. Sustainable sections of forest were harvested to produce a variety of products, from firewood to battleships. The coppice was regulated by a statute of Henry VIII, which required woods to be enclosed after cutting (to prevent browsing by animals) and 12 standards (mature uncut trees) to be left in each acre and be grown as structural timber.

Traditionally the coppice takes place on a 10-20 year rotation depending on the product needed. Young tree stems are cut down to the stump (stool), which re-grow producing multiple stems called poles. This process is especially beneficial for plant and wildlife as a wide variety of habitats unfold. The sunlight (previously blocked by dominant trees) reaches the woodland floor to release dormant flora such as bluebells and orchids. Trees that are well managed live longer, support local biodiversity and consume more carbon dioxide.

As a tree grows it absorbs carbon from the atmosphere, when the tree is burnt or left to rot, the same amount of carbon is released again. This is known as a carbon neutral cycle. The heat produced by burning wood can be seen as the warmth of the sun, stored in the trees through the process of photosynthesis. When the sun abandons us during the cold dark days of winter, we liberate the suns heat through reverse photosynthesis, like every other cycle in nature, every process has its opposite.

Our concept is to make woodlands self sufficient. We show daily that wood burning can be eased into modern lifestyles through the education of ours and our children's generation to use sustainable wood as a real and necessary carbon neutral alternative to fossil fuels.

Heating your home with logs can mean that your energy bill incurs no standing charge and is paid directly to the local forest industry that manage our woodland, street and garden trees. In turn, local councils, farmers and land owners see tree planting more favourably.

As the leading renewable energy company in the South East we have spent many years and resources researching and perfecting the potential of using our business as a tool to sympathetically manage indigenous woodlands that would otherwise be left to decay. We are now actively managing 2 local woodlands ‘Marylands’ and ‘Crabtree’ , over the coming months and years we will show how our customers energy bills are helping to improve these beautiful habitats.

We have a dedicated woodland management team who understand the importance of creating a sustainable wood supply chain. From thinning the woodland to the final delivery of processed timber; we have experimented with every finer detail to ensure a truly low carbon final product.

Marylands wood, Hockley, Winter 2012

Marylands wood is a mixed broadleaf woodland with Oak, Hornbeam and Ash. The area has not been managed for a couple of generations which has left this important local habitat to over grow. There are too many trees that are too close together. The fight for natural sunlight has left many trees in the shade and so they are dying. There was a biological report undertaken in the 1970’s that set out the species of plant and wildlife found. Our aim over the coming months and years is to record the species population in the 21st century. We have identified 3 areas for the initial management. By clearing these areas we will expect to unfold a rich biodiversity of plant life that has sat dormant for many years because of the lack of sunlight on the woodland floor.

Part of our work included creating a brush fence around the perimeter of the coppiced area to prevent deers, dogs and humans from disturbing the site where we have also created a number of habitat piles to encourage bird nesting.