A Healthy Forest is a Lot of Rot

Forests are model recyclers. As trees grow, they extract nutrients from the soil. These are used in the manufacturing of carbon products stored in their bodies. As trees age, their defences wane, and eventually bacteria and fungi start breaking down their structural components into basic nutrients.  When a tree succumbs to time and gravity, and its corpse rests against moist ground, decomposition accelerates with a new set of fungi and other microbes working their magic. A rotting log provides nutrients for plants growing atop it, and eventually it decomposes completely, enriching the soil and completing the recycling process.