Story brought dead trees to life

Dead trees nurture living forests. Photo by Carl Heilman II
Dead trees nurture living forests. Photo by Carl Heilman II

Thank you ever so much for the fabulous article “Dead trees a sign of life” by George Wuerthner [November/December 2012]. As the chairman of the Maryland Wildlands Committee, I have been a firm believer in what ecologists down here say: “The best tree in the forest is the dead one on the forest floor!” The author articulates that theory beautifully.

To illustrate his reference to the dead tree’s ability to support habitat for numerous types of wildlife, I witnessed just such an example a number of years ago while scouting areas on Wye Island on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. We stopped in the woods to eat our lunch, and while we were sitting there we were shaken by a huge crash nearby. When we went to inspect the source of the crash, we found that a dead tree had fallen nearby and witnessed a dazed raccoon crawling out of the top of the tree. He took one look at us and staggered back inside!  As Elvis would sing, he was “all shook up,” but that dead tree, now on the ground, could still serve as his home plus that of numerous insects and salamanders.

Ajax Eastman, Baltimore, MD

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