This fallen pine may have originated in the Middle Ages. Photo: Naturcentrum AB.This fallen pine may have originated in the Middle Ages. Photo: Naturcentrum AB.

Dead and fallen trees

There are plenty of dead standing trees in Gränslandet. These silver-grey, spiralled tree skeletons create a strange and mystical atmosphere, but they are also significantly important for biological diversity.

Hundreds of species queue up to nibble, pick and suck out the last nutrition from the dying trees. Beetles lay their eggs under the bark and woodpeckers come to feast on beetle larvae. Woodpeckers, songbirds, goldeneye, and many other animals nest in the cavities of dead trees. Occasionally, a pine marten will even take over an old woodpecker hole! And if a tree breaks, an owl may nest in the top of the hollow stump.

Later, maybe after several hundreds of years, small, strange lichens start growing on the wood. They could be tiny crustose lichens, which are hardly visible to the naked eye, or larger species such as the bright yellow-green wolf lichen. This lichen is typical for Gränslandet, but rare elsewhere in Scandinavia.

Finally the dead tree will fall to the ground. Fallen decaying trees are vital for a great number of animals, plants and fungi for a long time. Each species has specialised in a particular phase of the wood’s decay. As the years go by, different fungi succeed each other.

Standing old spruce: Red banded polypore, phellinus fungus and warted oak polypore
When the tree has fallen and still has bark: Purplepore bracket, Fomitopsis rosea and Phellinus ferrugineofuscus
A few years later, when the bark is gone: Phlebia centrifuga and Amylocytis lapponica
Old, decayed log: Phellinus nigrolimitatus

It takes several hundred years for a dead pine to develop.
Don´t burn it!