Fallen trees, they may be dead but they are full of life. These trees contain a huge array of living organisms, fungi, lichens, invertebrates, mosses and birds. It is recognised nowadays that dead wood is very valuable to the health of a forest. In the past much dead wood was cleared away to be used as fuel. In recent times forestry practice was to tidy up this dead wood to control pests and fungal diseases as well as for aesthetic resons. This is slowly changing now as its value to the woodland is being recognised.

Binning woods in East Lothian. The woods have been here since the early 1700s, but most of it was felled in world war two, with the timber mainly being used to make the airframes for Mosquito fighter bombers. It has since been replanted, so while it has history it could be consider a young woodland. In the middle of the woodland is the Binning memorial wood, where it is possible to have a green environmentally friendly burial. This fallen tree was on the edge of the memorial wood.

It is very rare you get Silver Birch as far south as Sicily but on Mount Etna, at least the east side between about 1000m and 1500m, they are all over the place. They wouldn’t normally survive the hot summers in Sicily, but have managed by adapting to their environment. The bark on the trees is a lot whiter to reflect the sun more and they grow in clumps to create a larger shadow and keep more of the trees in the shade.

The whiteness of the bark makes the trees very striking. I could have spent all day taking pictures of them, unfortunately I was with other people and couldn’t hold everyone up.