Why Trees are Important to Wildlife

Here at Urban Forestry, we’re big fans of critters! We actually take great pride in making sure that all critters are protected when we go to remove or trim trees as part of our service. 

We keep in mind that these are habitats and sanctuaries for animals including (but not limited to) birds, squirrels, snakes, opossums, bats and many other small organisms. These animals spend a lot of time sleeping, nesting, eating, and raising their young in trees. That’s why we try our best not to disturb these homes, just like you wouldn’t want anyone to come and tear down your house without warning. 

Living in trees would be challenging, if it weren’t that many of these animals are well adapted to thrive in tree tops. As you can imagine, living up in treetops comes with many challenges including moving from tree to tree, raising babies, storing food, and finding shelter during extreme weather conditions. 

Evolution has been generous to many of these tree-dwelling creatures and have adapted them to withstand these challenges. The anatomy of these animals are perfectly formed to help them survive and thrive in the tops of trees. 

Types of anatomy of animals to make them adapt at living in trees:

  • Powerful semi-retractive claws
  • Flexible ankle joints
  • Strong feet and curved claws
  • Sharp claws
  • Long tails for balance
Photo by Maddie Franz on Pexels.com

Why Dead or Dying Trees Are Important to Wildlife

Even dead and dying trees can provide sanctuary for animals and a safe haven for them to take care of their young. Dying trees as a result of disease, fire, lightning, or drought are still important to wildlife. Birds and other mammals use these dying trees for nests, storage areas, and areas for perching. The hollow trunks, cavities, and branches are all components of dying trees that help wildlife survive. 

Photo by Immortal shots on Pexels.com


Also, if dead or decaying branches fall into a nearby water system, it can also provide habitat for underwater animals that are part of that ecosystem. The dead tree branch in a lake or stream might offer perching options for aquatic birds/turtles/frogs or sanctuary for fish to lay their precious eggs. 

Decaying logs also provide many types of animals and organisms support in the wild. Decaying logs will create moisture and nutrients which aid in new plant growth. This provides food for smaller soil dwelling organisms like earthworms and insects. 

Dead and decaying trees are so important to the ecosystem because most animals are not equipped to create their own holes or burrow into living trees. The trunks and branches are much too strong. They rely on existing holes to nest within and make a home. 

For learning more about Colorado’s wildlife, a great link is Colorado’s Department of Education which lists out all the animals that are important to the area’s ecosystem. Visit their site here!

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