Learn more about the upland forest
This forest is mostly pine trees, and not much else grows underneath. However, fallen trees reveal tiny ecosystems to explore. They offer a home to many creatures, such as bees, wasps, spiders, beetles, and other insects. These insects help to pollinate plants and provide food for other animals. Fallen trees also provide a habitat for many kinds of fungi to grow, like turkey-tail, trembling crust, and beefsteak polypore. These fungi eat dead wood, breaking it down and returning the nutrients to the soil for plants to use. Fungi are essential to the health of the forest because they help to prevent dead leaves and wood from piling up. So the next time you’re walking through a forest, take a moment to appreciate the fallen trees.
A spectacular turkey tail mushroom (Kim Norris/Maryland DNR).
A fungus taking advantage of a well placed felled tree (Megan McCabe/NOAA).
Fallen logs and branches are a common place to find fungi (Matt McIntosh/NOAA).
Look to the forest floor after a rainy day to find mushrooms that have popped up (Matt McIntosh/NOAA).
A type of Amanita mushroom (Matt McIntosh/NOAA).
A type of coral fungus, named for its resemblance to coral in the ocean (Matt McIntosh/NOAA).
Upland forest path (Matt McIntosh/NOAA).
Pine cones can be found all over the forest (Matt McIntosh/NOAA).