Woodlands are habitats where trees are the dominant plant form. The individual tree canopies often overlap and interlink to form a more or less continuous canopy, shading the ground to varying degrees.
However, woods are not just trees. They often contain a great variety of other plants depending on the amount of light that reaches the woodland floor.
Within woodland, there is enormous biodiversity. The species present are all interacting in relationships which are often staggeringly complex. The plants in woodland will all host a variety of animal life. A tree’s value for animal life does not end with its death. Even such a seemingly mundane habitat as rotting wood, hosts about 1,700 different kinds of invertibrates in Northern Ireland.
Deadwood is a vital component of a properly functioning woodland or forest ecosystem. It plays an important role in sustaining biodiversity and in delivering ecosystem services such as soil formation and nutrient cycling. In the UK, up to a fifth of woodland species depend on dead or dying trees for all or part of their life cycle and many of these species are rare or threatened.