How to cut down trees like a beaver

This tutorial is all about beaver coppicing, the skill of chopping down trees to construct new habitats for nature whilst building homes for beavers! This craft was invented by beavers and copied by people for millenia, with both beavers and people selectively cutting down woodlands and making them better for wildlife in the process! In this 'How to' video we will show you how to cut down trees in the best way possible for wildlife - like a beaver!

Hell and dam-nation

Beavers used to be widespread in England, Wales and Scotland but hunting for their fur, meat and 'castoreum', a secretion used in perfumes, food and medicine, led to their extinction by the 16th Century. Losing beavers was bad news for so much of our native wildlife across our forests and wetlands. That's because beavers have a positive effect on their environment through their behaviour. By gnawing on trunks and branches they 'coppice' trees like willow, hazel, rowan and aspen, cutting them almost to the ground. The regrowth creates denser vegetation and provides homes for a variety of insects and birds.

Lake superior

The wetlands which beavers create by building small dams reduce the risk of flooding on floodplains, and are valuable for many animals, including otters, water voles, water shrews and wildfowl. Craneflies, water beetles and dragonflies in turn support breeding fish and insect-eating birds like spotted flycatchers and yellow wagtails.

How to coppice trees beaver-style!

It's so easy to coppice trees like a beaver. Watch this video tutorial, give it a go and let me know how well it worked!


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