Monday, May 26, 2008

Importance of Dead Trees

Standing dead trees, called snags, provide birds and mammals with shelter to raise young and raptors with unobstructed vantage points.

Over 500 species of birds, 300 species of mammals, and 400 species of amphibians and reptiles benefit from snags for food, nesting, or shelter.

Only 30 species of birds are capable of making their own nest cavities in trees. Another 80 animal species depend upon previously excavated or natural tree holes for their nests.

The insulation of a tree trunk home allows many animal species to survive high summer and low winter temperature extremes.

Tree cavities and loose bark are used by many animals to store their food supplies.

Insects living in dead wood eat thousands of forest pests which can harm living trees.

Fish and amphibians hide under trees that have fallen into the water.

Woodpeckers and creepers feast on the wood-eating insects and provide "sawdust" for ants to process. Deer eat the lichen growing on the trunks.

There's a literal world of life evolving in and around dead trees. Don't remove your dead trees unless absolutely necessary. Even then, if one threatens roof damage, you could have it cut off at 14' or higher so it could still be used for nesting and many other uses.

Source: Snag Facts with Impacts, US Forest Service

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Here in a suburb of Boston there are still a few conservation areas that are full of tangled trees, long dead and fallen, yet providing just the type of wildlife habitat described in the article. My dog, Simon, and I relish walking in these woods for the opportunity to walk in a natural area that hasn't been "cleaned up" to satisfy developers. However, we are having to go deeper into the forest to get away from the huge houses and pristine lawns that are encroaching on the wildlife. thank you for reminding me how much we love nature.

Donna said...

Thanks for sharing your enjoyment of it. These places are becoming treasures hard to find.

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