Why Brushpiles Are Important

Brushpiles can hide an incredible amount of life in their branches.

Within a forest, some creatures frequent the most tangled, shady pockets, while others favor more open areas. Brushpiles provide a micro-habitat for the more stealthy creatures, many of which need to hide from predators. If you want to boost biodiversity on your land while recycling extra trimmings, branches, and logs, you might want to “install” a few brushpiles for your wildlife.

Brushpile creation goes hand in hand with regular forestry practices, including harvests, stand thinning, and firewood cutting.

A brushpile emulates the more densely vegetated pockets of a forest. If you get out and view wildlife often, you soon notice that you rarely see certain species away from such areas. Wrens, for example, skulk through vine-draped tangles and brushpiles. Rabbits love to hide there.

Even on small properties, brushpiles add a new dimension for wildlife. They not only provide shelter but food as well. You will see many birds come and go. Thrashers, sparrows, and towhees scoot back and forth, pushing aside leaf litter to reveal insects and seeds. Lizards will watch for spiders and termites. Snakes will await rodents. Decomposing vegetation attracts invertebrates that work to decompose plant fragments. This enriches the soil. This shady micro-habitat attracts moisture-loving creatures such as salamanders, which prey on invertebrates. You can enjoy hours of entertainment watching the comings and goings to and from a well-constructed brushpile. 

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