Each species of tree is a home for insects, birds, lichen and fungi. Lower growing plants such as primroses and ferns grow in its shade. Fallen leaves, broken branches and dead plant material get incorporated into the soil by worms and insects, fungi and bacteria break everything down to release nutrients and enrich the soil. Birds and animals such as mice, hedgehog and even squirrels live off insects, seeds and fruits that are abundant in the woodland. A woodland is a natural habitat that sustains itself.
Trees and woodlands form complex webs of life. Trees such as oak and willows can be homes to large number of insects that feed only on them – as many as 450 species, thats a lot of bugs!
Woodlands are composed of a variety of trees and shrubs of differing heights. The layers will normally include a canopy layer; tall trees such as oak and ash. Aan under-storey layer composed of shrubs such as hawthorn, holly and hazel. The ground cover layer will be made up of a variety of ferns, grasses, sedges woodland flowers and moss.
Even dead wood and fallen trees are important habitats, they support a wide range of very specialised insects and fungi. The next time you visit a woodland try looking under an old piece of wood with a magnifying glass and see how many different insects are living there…