A great standing (almost) dead oak with deadwood beneath

Old parks are great for mature and veteran trees, both living and dead. Where trees have died, have become unsafe, or even if there is a general lack of deadwood habitat, a tree may be monolithed or left standing with its principal structure left in tact. This is the case with this oak, which for whatever reason has ‘suffered’ (wrong word!) this fate.

In this instance, I am glad to see that the deadwood has not been removed from beneath the tree. In many cases, the standing deadwood will remain but the removed material is transported off site. Ecologically, this is not as desirable as if the deadwood remains beneath the tree. Not only can the nutrients be mineralised back into the soil from where the nutrients were taken up from, but there’s a greater variety of deadwood habitats within such a small space, which may provide habitat for a greater number of species (or simply support more of the same species, as there is a great mass of deadwood). In the second image, we can see how fungi have colonised the fallen branch wood and are releasing nutrients back into the soil.

deadwoodmonolith1
A rich variety of habitats are provided by this oak, from the fallen branch wood to the standing trunk. At the base, the exposed heartwood may also provide for a niche habitat. Its exposed setting also ensures any insects inside are incubated by the wood, as it warms during the day when the sun shines down upon the structure.
deadwoodmonolith2
Trametes species have colonised this log, and are releasing essential nutrients back into the soil for use by other plants.
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A great standing (almost) dead oak with deadwood beneath

2 thoughts on “A great standing (almost) dead oak with deadwood beneath

    1. Fair point! I’ll change the title accordingly on this one. I’ve considered monoliths to also be the principal structure, though in the truest sense of the word I would agree with you and say this isn’t a ‘true’ monolith.

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