Forests, home to two-thirds of all plant and animal species, are the hub of biological diversity. That is why WWF has for years focused its efforts on protecting the most significant and threatened forests. According to a report by WWF "deadwood - Living Forests"(2004) the lack of veteran trees and deadwood in Europe's forests is a major cause of biodiversity loss.
While we speak about biodiversity of primeval or natural forests we do not realize, in many cases, that up to 50% forest species depend on veteran trees and deadwood for their survival. Deadwood provides habitat,shelter and food source for birds, bats and other mammals and is particularly important for the less visible majority of forest dwelling species: insects, especially beetles, furgi and lichens. Although the role of deadwood in proper functioning of forests is more and more recignized, the view that a "clean" forest is a healthy forest still persists. Other common myths about negative impacts of deadwood are: "over-aged forests are a problem", "dead trees harbour diseases", "only young is beautiful!", "deadwood brings fire", "deadwood is a health and safety risk to visitors". As a resultwe have now a critically low level of deadwood in many European countries, mainly due to inappropriate management practices in commercial forests and even in protected areas. The book "The afterlife of a tree" is an attempt of debunking such myths and changing an attitude towards the of deadwood. It is adressed to csientists as well as to who are interested in nature of forest ecosystems. We are deeply convinced that the book "The afterlife of a tree" shall be instrumental in achieving much deeper understanding for deadwood as a key indicator of naturalness in forest ecosystems and help decision makers responsible for environmental protection and forest management to make conscious choices for the good nature and man.
A. Bobiec; et al (2005): The Afterline of a Tree; WWF, Poland, Varsó