Tree debris breeds healthier forests: 'It's what diversity is all about'

EUGENE, Ore. -- The ice and snow storm that hit the Willamette Valley in early February damaged tens of thousands of trees across the Willamette Valley. However, officials with Mount Pisgah's arboretum say the damage isn't always a bad thing.

Site manager Tom Locascio said the winter storm is extremely ecologically beneficial.

"As the wood begins to rot, sediment and silt is going to settle in around these logs and that is going to trap nutrients, which as the wood rots, will bring about more plant growth," said Locascio.

The decomposing branches attract insects, which will in-turn attract birds, who bring in fungi.

We may not see the effects for several years, but Locascio says it's worth waiting for.

"We might look at it and say 'this is a mess'. From nature's standpoint, it's what diversity is all about."

Locascio said the storm also helped clear trees of weak or dying branches, which allows healthier parts of the tree to thrive.

Most trails at Howard Buford recreation area have re-opened. Managers say they anticipate some flower blooms in the next couple of weeks.