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Life after death – the beauty of deadwood invertebrates

Criss-crossing trunks at drunken angles, broken lichen-scarred limbs, softly rotting wood beneath further freshly fallen trunks. These might be the nightmare visions of a deep dark wood, but if you dare to look a little closer, what you will actually discover is treasure.  By Genevieve Tompkins, Rare Invertebrates in the Cairngorms Project Officer.

Deadwood is exactly what it says on the tin: wood which is no longer living. This can come in all manner of forms; standing deadwood, fallen deadwood, tree stumps, rot holes within living trees – the list goes on. The one thing all deadwood has in common is its vital importance for invertebrates, from beetles to flies, spiders to millipedes. Sadly, the importance of deadwood went totally unrecognised for decades, leading to declining populations for many of the species which rely on it. But change is happening, with deadwood finally receiving the appreciation it deserves.  


Deadwood creation and plantation restructuring is a critical part of the Cairngorms Connect programme of works, bringing biodiversity back to the forests. Let’s take a look at some of the species which benefit…