awatrees.comJuly 18, 2012
Green Places Magazine Publish ‘Flourishing Trees, Flourishing Minds’July 27, 2012
Aesthetically a large dead tree is a magnificent sight. Dead trees also provide vital habitat and the benefits of deadwood for biodiversity are massive.
If a tree dies it can’t be legally protected by a Tree Preservation Order. The Woodland Trust had recently been campaigning to have the exemption for dead trees to be removed from Tree Preservation Order Regulations. They were dismayed when the new Tree Preservation Order Regulations (TPO Regulations 2012), which came into force in April 2012, still retained the exception for dead trees.
For a tree to be protected by a Tree Preservation Order it needs to have high ‘amenity value’ which in most cases means ‘visual amenity’, so keeping the exception for dead trees suggests that they have no visual amenity value.
The Woodland Trust note, ‘the time over which a tree progresses from dying to dead may be long or sudden. It can result in the reduction of some aspects of [visual] amenity but potentially increasing wildlife values, however none of these values disappear on death’. Which is nicely put, but for more poetic praise of dead and dying trees we can rely on the great naturalist writer Edwin Way Teale…
THE DEATH OF A TREE
FOR a great tree death comes as a gradual transformation.
Its vitality ebbs slowly. Even when life has abandoned it entirely it remains a majestic thing. On some hilltop a dead tree may dominate the landscape for miles around. Alone among living things it retains its character and dignity after death. Plants wither; animals disintegrate. But a dead tree may be as arresting, as filled with personality, in death as it is in life. Even in its final moments, when the massive trunk lies prone and it has moldered into a ridge covered with mosses and fungi, it arrives at a fitting and a noble end. It enriches and refreshes the earth. And later, as part of other green and growing things, it rises again.
Edwin Way Teale, (1899-1980)