Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2017Peer reviewedOpen access

Coppicing ability of dry miombo woodland species harvested for traditional charcoal production in Zambia: a win-win strategy for sustaining rural livelihoods and recovering a woodland ecosystem

Syampungani, Stephen; Tigabu, Mulualem; Matakala, Nalukui; Handavu, Ferdinand; Oden, Per Christer


The miombo woodland is one of the most extensive woodlands in Africa, supporting livelihoods based on biomass fuel for millions of rural people. However, there are growing concerns about the sustainability of harvesting for biomass fuel (mainly charcoal). Thus, the aim of this study was to examine whether regeneration by coppice is a viable option for sustainably managing miombo woodlands for biomass fuel production. We tested the hypotheses that (1) species, stump diameter, stump height and time since cutting significantly affect the number of sprouts per cut stump (coppice density) and mean sprout height (shoot vigour) and (2) higher coppice density reduces shoot vigour due to competition among coppice shoots in a given stump. In an inventory in areas that were harvested for charcoal production by the local people, 369 stumps of 11 species were recorded with mean coppice stumps ranged from 6 to 84. The mean coppice density ranged from 5 to 8 shoots per stump while the mean height of coppice shoots ranged from 46 to 118 cm with marked interspecific variations. Stump size was significantly and positively correlated with coppice density for some of the species, but not with shoot vigour for the majority of the species. However, shoot vigour was significantly positively correlated to time since cutting of trees for nearly half of the species. Coppice density had a significant negative correlation with shoot vigour for two species, and a positive correlation for one species. In conclusion, the results provide evidence about the importance of coppice management as a win-win strategy for sustaining charcoal-based rural livelihoods and recovering the miombo woodland ecosystem.


African woodlands; Charcoal production; Forest management; Regeneration; Resprouting ability

Published in

Journal of Forestry Research
2017, Volume: 28, number: 3, pages: 549-556

      SLU Authors

    • Sustainable Development Goals

      SDG7 Affordable and clean energy

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Forest Science

      Publication identifier


      Permanent link to this page (URI)