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Promote structural diversity: Retain biological legacies

Adaptation Strategies and Actions

Promote structural diversity: Retain biological legacies

Adaptation type: 
Land and forest stewardship or restoration


Promote structural diversity


Retain biological legacies

Standing deadwood. Photo credit: Paul Catanzaro
Standing deadwood. Photo credit: Paul Catanzaro

Biological legacies are those elements of a forest that have been around for many years and include snags (standing dead trees), downed logs, and very large trees. The microenvironments created by legacies provide localized areas with more moisture and cooler temperatures. These types of microenvironments will become increasingly important for the survival of many tree and wildlife species as temperatures warm and conditions become drier.

These legacies not only provide crucial habitat for wildlife, but also sequester? and store carbon, an essential forest function in the face of climate change. Carbon sequestration is the ability of trees to take carbon from the atmosphere and convert it to solid living material. In fact, about 50% of a tree is carbon. Carbon storage represents the ability of that tree to store the carbon (out of the atmosphere) for extended periods of time. Although carbon is eventually released from dead trees, this process takes a very long time. Consider leaving dead or dying trees in the forest to continue storing carbon and serve as important habitat for plant and wildlife species.

Scope and Constraints

Repeated at time of harvesting
Minimal or no cost


Forestry Goal 4: Increase species and structural diversity

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