Life of the Fallen

Life of the Fallen

Posted: 03 August 2021

This magnificent red gum has succumbed to the wind and the wet beside the Gateway Island track.

After years of growth and seasonal renewal, supporting many millions of insects, birds and animals, it now begins a new phase as it is recycled into the landscape.

Where we often see mess, or timber being ‘wasted’, this phase of decay and breakdown is actually a key environmental process, fueling the cycle of life on the river banks.

The massive timbers may lie for decades yet, providing shelter for seedlings to get started, cracks, crevices, hollows and perching spots for lizards, birds and mammals. The tree will host a multitude of different life forms as it decays. Many more millions of insects will live in the decaying wood, providing food for birds, lizards and even the fish in the river just metres away.

Without this slow recycling of trees in the landscape, the whole system starves. Hundred of species dwindle without the food, shelter and homes provided by fallen trees. This tree, left lying as it is, has value far beyond anything we might gain by ‘tidying’ it away, or cutting it up for firewood.

Let’s leave it lie.