The Living Dead

Here lies the corpse of a huge tree, possibly a Sugar Maple. When a tree succumbs to time and gravity, the resulting hole in the canopy allows sunlight to flood the ground beneath, fuelling the growth of seedlings formerly hindered by the lack of this driver of photosynthesis.

Fallen trees are never wasted. Fungi soon initiates decomposition and as the tree decays, it provides egg-laying sites for female Red-backed Salamanders, which guard their eggs until they hatch. Myriad invertebrates inhabit the moist environment under logs, providing meals for small animals including shrews and salamanders. In spring, logs serve as stages for male Ruffed Grouse drumming to attract a mate.