Certain animals and plants (saproxylic organisms) live on dead or dying wood from standing or fallen dead or dying trees. They play an essential role in the forest, breaking down the deadwood and releasing nutrients. In order to encourage these saproxylic organisms, you should aim to have a minimum of 5 cubic metres of deadwood (greater than 15 cm diameter) per hectare over the whole forest or woodland.
Maintaining deadwood habitat will involve:
- retaining existing old and large trees
- retaining accumulations of deadwood
- ensuring a continuous supply of deadwood by diversifying even-age stands of trees.
- not removing standing or fallen dead or dying trees.
Where there is not enough deadwood within the forest or woodland, you should carry out the following actions where possible:
- avoid removing deadwood from living trees - unless there is a risk to the public
- add standing deadwood by ring-barking selected trees that would not be a risk to the public
- fell selected trees and leave the fallen wood to decay, preferably in dappled shade
- Gather sneddings from silvicultural operations into piles and leave to decay, preferably in dappled shade.