Carpathian forest

© Kathrin Merkel

"The trunks of forest giants are scattered about, lying stretched across the ground or held aloft at angles by living neighbors, cloaked with carpets of moss, shelves of fungi, and beards of lichen. The long rotting cylinders release their centuries of stored solar labor gradually and pungently, nourishing bacteria, fungi, and plants, which nourish insects, rodents, and deer, which nourish birds, martens, and wolves. Since this forest is 'unmanaged,' about fifteen percent of its wood is being recycled into other life forms at any given time—a process quickened by noisy woodpeckers."

— pages 194-195, Into the Carpathians, Part 1
© Alan E. Sparks