The Importance of Dead Wood

“Dead wood” – a phrase that has entered common discourse to signify something that needs to be cleared away to enable growth and development. Whereas in reality deadwood is a vital component -“a keystone component” as James Common puts it in this blog post – of ecosystems

James Common

The sight of a dead tree, denuded and stripped of its prior glory, appears to be a worrisome one to some. Those who view such things as a public health hazard, a catalyst for fire or, worse still, as simply untidy. Often to such an extent that some actively remove fallen trees, or at the very least, encourage others to do the same. Sanitising our woodlands through the misguided notion that dead wood somehow represents dead weight in the woodland ecosystem, and does not quite fit with the verdant vision of perfection many people have for our wooded places. Though, in truth, this could not be further from the truth.


Dead wood has littered the floors of British woodlands for millennia – since the first trees began to live, and die, in natural succession. Indeed in prehistory, our woodlands would look much different than they do today. Not least due to the…

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