Coppice forests, originating from vegetative propagation (stump stools or root suckers), are an important component of forest ecosystems worldwide. Even though their economic importance has been reduced in Europe, especially since the Second World War, they still serve as important sources of raw materials (mostly firewood) for local communities. In addition, coppice forests could be considered as ‘hotspots of biodiversity’, having high habitat, historical and genetic resource values while being relatively resistant to environmental impacts such as droughts.
In this context, our chapter emphasizes the main characteristics of silvicultural coppice systems (e.g. simple coppice, short-rotation coppice, high coppice, coppice selection and coppice with standards), their ecology, history and current significance in Europe.
The two case studies on carbon stocks of coppice with reserves and coppice with standards in Austria are important arguments for considering coppice forests as a sustainable source of sawlogs for highly valuable wood products and of biomass (energy wood) that can be used for firewood as well as in pyrolysis processes.