The Importance of Leaving Deadwood

I am dead wood
And I am dead good
For a truly healthy forest or wood

So please leave much more
On the woodland or forest floor
And I’ll tell you what I’m really good for

I prevent erosion of the soil
And to woodland plants I am loyal

I release nutrients and nitrogen
Feeding them to keep them alive
And I store carbon
To help this magnificent planet survive

First funghi make holes and decay
Then lichens and mosses come into play

40% of woodland life
Depend on dead wood being rife

I can be a home or hideout escape
To saproxylic invertebrates

On deadwood they depend and need
To live, shelter, feed and breed

I am home to beetles, milllipedes and ants
As well as mosquitos, moths and gnats

Even spiders and mites
They all become bites

To birds, badgers, moles and hedgehogs
And even shrews, mice, toads, bats and frogs

Of British bat species at least two thirds
As well as many woodland birds 
Well to be more precise one third
And over 2000 invertebrates of which I have never heard
Live and hide in the hollows and crevices of dead wood
And more certainly would I am sure if they could

It can be laid or standing
Perfect for all who like a safe landing

After all the toil
The decayed wood becomes soil
So the circle of life is now complete
(But that soil is humus not peat!)

The constant human ‘free wood’ tidying and taking
Endangered are some species that it is making

So please heed the ancient woodland lore
And leave plenty of wood for ever more
On the woodland or forest floor

(And maybe swap your log burner to solar heating or a geothermal heat pump!)

See also Janet Heath’s blog on Building a Log Pile.

See also Janet’s blog on Building a Log Pile.

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