The importance of woody debris

When thinning or pruning your woodland consider the benefits of leaving woody debris on site. Scattered trimmings and logs can have multiple benefits for your soil and waterways.

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Woody debris adds contours and texture to the forest floor, thereby slowing down water flow, reducing erosion and increasing soil infiltration. Rotting wood also provides microhabitat beneficial to many woodland species, including the microorganisms that break it down into nutrients for trees and other plant life. After a fire, this scattered debris is especially helpful, as there are few plants and less leaf litter available to slow water flow.

The optimal ground coverage for slash is about 40 percent, with about 30-60 percent bare soil. Another way to increase the texture or roughness of the forest floor after a fire is to scatter straw mulch.

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