Coppice Harvest

A coppice harvest is a form of clearcut with the specific purpose to stimulate new growth from the root system or stumps. This is most commonly done with aspen trees, as the roots from nearby trees are all connected into one group known as a clone.

In Wisconsin, we have two species of aspen. Quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) and bigtooth aspen (Populus grandidentata). Performing coppice harvests can be very beneficial for many wildlife species. Grouse utilize the thick new growth for food and cover from predators as do many other species. It is also beneficial for the forest.

In terms of trees, aspen is a short-lived species, and if no harvesting is done, it will eventually mature and die. Harvesting rejuvenates the connected root system and keeps the entire group healthy and vigorous.  

In this picture, you will notice a sea of yellow in the distance. That is an aspen that’s approximately ten years old. Immediately at the front of the picture, you will notice small stems with scattered green leaves. These are young aspen sprouts from an area that was harvested in the past two to three years.
Austin Hopfensperger, Forester