Research Branch

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Rotten luck: the role of downed wood in ecosystems

Author(s) or contact(s): BC Ministry of Forests - Research Branch, University of British Columbia, and Environment Canada
Source: Research Branch
Subject: Ecosystems
Series: Brochure
Other details:  Published 1995. Hardcopy is available.


What is Downed Wood?

When a tree dies its life is only partly over. As wood decays it continues to play an essential role in many different ecosystems - in forests, in streams, in estuaries and in the ocean. As they decay, fallen trees, broken branches, slabs of bark and upturned roots:
- provide food
- provide shelter
- create growing sites for plants and fungi
- enrich and stabilize soils
- contribute to stream ecosystems

Downed wood is also a biological legacy - a link between present and future forests.

Funding for the Internet version was provided by Forest Renewal BC.

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Updated October 16, 2008