Great article and rather original, I like it! As a certified tree surgeon I have for years sawed off dead limbs from trees as do most people in the trade but it has recently be pointed out that it was an ecological mistake as dead wood as you show is a source of life hence one link on the complex chain of life and should therefore be respected.
Nice to hear from your part of the world! Thank you for the kind words. "An ecological mistake" is a good way to put it. It took me awhile to learn that too. Now I wouldn't have it any other way.
I guess there is a lot to dig here, people probably dislike snags not just for aesthetical reasons but it certainly related too much to death to be comfortable sight! I used to work in a bonsai nursery many years ago and I learnt how to use dead branches or broken trunks in order to enhance the natural beauty of the tree...
Great timing for this article. I have been viewing multiple snags and half-downed tops in my adjacent woods from a viscous storm we had several months ago and contemplating my options. Even though it would be easier to deal with them (chain-saw style) this season while there is no foliage in the area, I figured I should at least see what the aesthetics are in season when the surrounding trees have foliage. The larger area is already teeming with wildlife and similar snags and downed trees out of my view-shed, so I may be able to find a good balance and limit the cuts. This article should help me balance to the other side a bit more.
I was living in in England during the Great Storm (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Storm_of_1987) which felled something like 15 million trees. Some woodland owners went straight in with machinery to "clear up" their woods but others either weren't able to or were more enlightened. Years later, it became obvious that the machinery had caused a lot of damage and the woods that were left alone had a higher diversity of wildlife. This article (http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-77ECQW) explains some of the benefits of windblow.
I love your article. We moved onto 55 acres in the Texas Heartland. We have watched with horror at the oak wilt and stress from severe drought we have experience has killed so many of our trees. I have also seen the beauty in the mist of this. We have so many things that need the shelter that the trees provide. Watching the birds, bees and wildlife that depend on them seems to take away the untidy look of dead or dying trees.We have learned to only cut down the trees that are a danger.