Once upon a time, our country was covered almost exclusively by forest. With the advent of the Middle Ages, the influence of man in the landscape began to manifest itself intensively. Forests were changing and becoming an economic commodity. The forests then underwent major changes with the development of industry. There was a great transformation of forest stands, the structure of the forest began to resemble more monocultures of fast-growing wood with great economic potential. In the 18th century, the remains of a mountain forest were extracted. We have a lot of reservations and so-called "forests" all over Europe. Unfortunately, most of these places were to a greater or lesser extent influenced by humans and their original appearance changed. So it cannot be said that it is the original forest as it was in the past. Most of us have no idea what such a forest looks like. However, this does not mean that we do not have to try to maintain and create such similar forests, places close to nature and so important for its healthy functioning.
I will retreat a little from the forest and focus more on commercial forests. There are most of them in our country and they are places that we should not only look at as an area for farming and creating the greatest possible profit, but an area where thousands of organisms live. These organisms are closely linked to the forest environment and sensitive to change. Simply saying, in a forest where there is no healthy environment for these organisms, they will not survive or just poorly live, which will have an adverse effect on the entire forest ecosystem.
Up to a third of all forest organisms are bound to dead wood. From bacteria, mosses, lichens, fungi, insects, snails and much more. The old dying trees are thus the real "zootrees", declining in economic value, but of the biological one they are full of life and completely irreplaceable. Despite the fact that, for example, a 100-year-old beech 25 meters high with a crown 14 meters in diameter, with a leaf area of around 1,600 m² and 9,000 leaves, produces up to 1.7 kg of oxygen in a single day, which is 1,000 liters. A person of average height exhales 350 liters of oxygen per day. One stout beech will "feed" three people.
It is quite clear that commercial forest must have some economic value. If we were to maintain forests only without intervention, in the long term we would not have the financial means to maintain such forests, and the import of wood from other areas is not a solution and represents an even greater burden ecologically. But leaving wood with a lower economic value - old trees, trees infested with rot, dry rotting trees, crooked branches, etc. will add value to us in that ecological function. Of course, these trees should occupy areas evenly throughout the forest. We should count on 20 - 30 m3 of dying wood per 1 hectare of forest. Therefore, not only the growing youth of the trees should be left in the forest and the rest harvested, but the age structure of the trees should be diverse. In the same way, the pruning from the harvested trees, unless it is an infested spruce pruning, should definitely not be burned, preferably even bought in piles. This pruning will help to dry out the forest soil and provide protection for the young from destroying of the wild deers. Although this idea does not correlate with the idea of the tidy forest, it is precisely the public's perception that should change. Dying wood, covered with mosses and lichens, eventually creates that beautiful fairytale picture of the forest.
In large monocultures of spruces, where a huge mass of acid needles has fallen to the ground for decades and there are no organisms that can deal with this and be able to decompose such a mass, we can say that we are really almost in a dead forest. A few old or fallen dying trees won't help us much here. But if we take such a mixed forest, where we leave a diverse age structure and leave the dying and fallen trees to their fate, we will soon see a positive change. We cannot expect rare species of mosses, lichens or insects to appear immediately. However, with a higher evidence of insects, we can observe, for example, a higher evidence of birds. The forest will thus turn into an active bustle with loud chirping and banging of spotted woodpeckers. Higher vertebrates looking for suitable shelters will start to join them, and the forest will thus become a feast for our eyes even during our walks in nature. I took the photos below almost exclusively in my forest with an area of only a few hectares, where I have been trying to farm close to nature for several years now. And the positive effect did not take long.