We have already mentioned a few times, the importance of seemingly useless features of the landscape. Whether it be abandoned bits of land around the village or in this case, dead wood.

Many believe that a tree only has a purpose when it is alive and standing. But when a tree falls, it starts a whole new stage of its life. Dead wood provides food and habitat for over 10% of terrestrial species, with each part of the wood, at the various stages of decay being important for different kinds of flora and fauna. There are many insects that require the dead wood of just one species of tree for their entire life cycle. In the graphic you can see just how important dead wood is to the ecosystem and its inhabitants. After decades of use by 1000’s of animals, the dead wood and its nutrients enter back into the soil, keeping it fertile and moist, ready for the next tree to grow.

Unfortunately, many do not realise the importance of deadwood and remove dead trees to either keep the forest clean or even get the last out of it and make use of trees that have long passed their peak. The old impressive trees end up in a shredders for wood chips and become briquettes or chipboard. But over time, removing this vital resource can cause significant damage to the forest ecosystem and make it vulnerable to disease.

We would like to thank Jeroen Helmer, for very kindly letting us use his illustrations.

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