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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.
Up to 50% of 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, fungi and lichens. Although the role of deadwood in proper functioning of forests is more and more recognized, 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!".
As a result we 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 Afterlife of a Tree is an attempt of debunking such myths and changing an attitude towards the role of deadwood. It is addressed to scientists as well as to all who are interested in nature of forest ecosystems. The Afterlife of a Tree will 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 of nature and man.