Walking through your woodlands, you may see many signs of growth and decay that are both normal and beneficial. Woodlands continuously undergo growth, decay and regeneration, and even transition from one type of dominant species to another. These ever-changing natural processes make woodlands fascinating.
As you become expert in the many stages of the woodland's life, you'll also begin to learn how to spot telltale signs of destructive pests and diseases. Some of the common agents you're likely to encounter in woodlands are heart rot, root rot, porcupine damage, stem cankers, and other damaging fungi. You may also see symptoms of ice or storm damage, "dieback", or other signs of stress that may become evident in thin tree crowns, sprouting patterns, or discolored foliage. In predominantly hardwood forests watch out for heavy browsing by deer, moose, or other animals, which can dramatically affect the regeneration of certain species of trees. And learn how to identify when windthrow - when trees fall from failure of the root system - is an isolated event or a symptom of more widespread unhealthy stand conditions.