One of the problems with humans is that we like to ‘manage’ trees, parks and woodland by taking the dead trees out. This is fair enough if they’re dead, upright and at risk of falling onto a path at no notice. Otherwise, it makes very little sense. Wherever possible we should leave dead trees where they are.
A dead tree is an amazing habitat. All kinds of insets will make homes beneath the bark. Birds will feed on those insects, and also use holes in the tree for nest sites. Small mammals, bats, slow worms and lizards can also find homes amidst the decaying wood. Mosses, fungus and lichens can all make their homes here, too.
It is all too easy to see death as untidy, or unpleasant. However, a dead tree remains a great source of beauty as it goes through the decay process. Out of its death, comes life.
In pine woods, it is usually the dead trees that let the light in. You may have miles of dense trees (usually a plantation) with nothing but old needles underneath, and then come to a place where there is light, intense green plant life, ferns, mosses, saplings – invariably because a tree has died here and let in a possibility.
The death of a tree is very much part of the life cycle of a tree. It is a good thing to witness. It gives us stories about longevity and life after death that are a lot more sustainable.
Find out more about ancient woodland here – http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/about-us/ancient-woodland-restoration/ancient-woodland/what-is-ancient-woodland/