4. Fallen and dying trees
Recent spates of severe weather have left many downed trees; they’re an important part of the ecosystem, say the rangers. “One of the characteristics of a mature forest is that you are going to see dead trees as well,” Baisley says. Fallen trees allow light in, which allows for more growth below, and their decomposition creates fertile soil. In fact, the fallen trees in Inwood Hill Park remain where they land.
“In Central Park, you are not going to leave a dead tree on the ground, because the park is manicured,” says Tainow. “But here, as long as they’re not dangerous or not blocking a path, we leave them.”