How do trees help animals

How Do Animals Use Trees?

Trees are not only vital for humans, but they’re important for animals as well. By planting a tree in your yard, you’re not only making it more beautiful, but you’re also helping local wildlife out too. Even when a tree is only just a seedling or has just been planted, all different kinds of animals begin to benefit from it. Animals both big and small depend on trees.

From trees, animals receive many of the things they need to survive, and in return, animals help trees pollinate and reproduce. Animals and trees rely on each other for support. Here are some ways in which animals use trees.

For Food

One of the most important tree uses that foster the tree-animal relationship is through food. Some trees grow flowers or leaves that animals eat. Other trees produce seeds and fruits that animals (and sometimes humans) can eat too. Here are seven trees that will help to attract birds to your yard.

For instance, the Pacific dogwood produces orange and red berries that birds enjoy. The red alder yields seeds that birds, such as the pine siskin and common redpoll, like to eat so much that they come back each year. Squirrels, porcupines, and other mammals enjoy acorns, pine nuts, and a variety of other nuts.

For Shelter

Trees serve as homes for many animals. Birds may be the most common animal that comes to mind when you think of tree-living, but they’re not the only ones. In North America, you’re likely to find bats, raccoons, squirrels, mice, opossums, bears, and maybe even a lynx. Around the world, animals such as koalas, sloths, pandas, orangutans, lemurs, geckos, and many more are all adapted to tree-top living. Many of these animals spend the majority of their days sleeping, playing, eating, and raising their babies all in the trees.

In your own yard, you can choose to plant certain trees that will attract birds and mammals alike. For instance, you can give birds that are threatened or endangered the shelter that they need to survive, all while keeping your yard beautiful. Choosing coniferous, deciduous, and fruit tree options to plant in your yard will help to attract birds.

The two of the best options are Douglas firs and western hemlock trees. These trees attract marbled murrelets and northern spotted owls, which are two of Portland’s most imperiled birds. Marbled murrelets will use the branches of these trees to lay their eggs, rather than in birds’ nests. Northern spotted owls will use these two trees as well as grand firs, incense cedars, and ponderosa pines as their habitat. You might even provide a home for a bald eagle nest.

For Shade

Like humans, animals sometimes need a break from the sun. Whereas some animals live in trees, other animals just need a tree for some shade, especially during the summer on those hot, sunny days. Popular trees that provide shade to humans can provide shade to animals too. The pagoda dogwood is a good example. Not only do they have fruit that attracts local wildlife, but the great shade that they provide is also enjoyed by birds and mammals.

If you’re considering a tree that will provide shade and protection for your yard and home, remember this option will also be helping local wildlife with more than shade. During times of bad weather, whether extreme rain, winds, or heat, animals can be safe in trees and not far from their source of food.

For Reproduction

Trees are used by animals as a place where they can reproduce safely. For some animals, such as birds, they also serve as a place where they can lay their eggs and raise their young and keep them safe until they’re ready to leave the nest. Because of this, a tree is a very important aspect of the life cycle for some animals.

Animals however also aid in the health and reproduction of trees. Many animals fertilize trees and others work to disperse seeds and pollen from the plants into different areas, allowing more to grow.

Other Uses

In addition to all the above uses, there are some other ways animals rely on trees. Rather than living in trees, some animals just use them as resting points. Additionally, trees can help some animals to hide or help them to hunt and capture their prey.

Animals use trees for an array of purposes, and trees are vital for many animals’ survival. Some examples of wildlife that need trees to survive are birds, owls, frogs, salamanders, bats, raccoons, red foxes, snowshoe hares, the American beavers, and bears. Just to name a few! By planting trees, you’re helping to create a wonderful wildlife habitat in your community and helping to make sure our ecosystem thrives. Isn’t that great?

If you’re looking for the best types of trees to plant to attract certain animals to your yard, look no further than Mr. Tree. We know which trees work best to attract a variety of birds and furry friends, big or small, to your yard. Or maybe you want to provide a food source or shelter to an animal already living in your yard. We can help with that too. We’re happy to guide you in your decision and help out with all aspects of planting.

Contact us today. We’d love to hear more about your yard and what you’re looking to plant. We are also happy to chat more with you about how animals use trees and how your yard can be a haven for them. The relationship that a tree and animals have is an important one, and you can help foster that just by simply planting a tree or two.

How Planting Trees Helps Preserve Animal and Bird Species

Trees are a vital part of the environment on our blue-green planet. Did you know that not only people but also a vast majority of animals and birds need trees? Everything is deeply interconnected! Trees help animals and birds to survive as they provide them with food and shelter. Some trees can be seen as a home to many birds and animals. The branches of the trees provide a place for them to rest or nest while they are in the forest. The leaves also serve as an excellent food source for some animals that live in forests.


Trees are also important in the ecosystem because they help clean the air of carbon dioxide and contribute to the water cycle. All living species on our planet need water! Trees help humans survive as well by providing oxygen and water. In addition, humans use trees as sources of fuel, building materials, medicine, and a place to live in some cases – speak of a tree house!



Which creatures are using trees as their home?


Trees are the most common plant type, and they provide a variety of benefits to the environment and all living beings. Many animals also use them as their home. Some animals take shelter in trees, while others use them for food, water, or protection. For example, koalas, sloths, pandas, orangutans, lemurs, and many more love tree-top living. 


Some animals also use trees as their home because they like the company of other trees or they want to be around some natural shade. We shouldn’t forget about the fact that the trees cool down the area by a few degrees Celsius in the cities. Just imagine how hot it would be if there were no Amazon rainforests! Thus it’s no wonder that animals love using trees for building their nests and homes.


Everything is interdependent


Trees depend on wildlife to disperse their seeds. In turn, wildlife depends on trees for food and shelter. Trees provide food and shelter to animals that disperse their seeds, and in return, the trees receive much needed nutrients from the animals. This symbiotic relationship has allowed for a diverse ecosystem of plants and animals to thrive over time. The future of this symbiotic relationship is unclear because humans are destroying habitats at an alarming rate due to deforestation and climate change…

More than 300 different ecosystems rely on trees for their survival. These ecosystems are home to many different species of animals, plants, and insects. Trees provide oxygen for these ecosystems and make them more resilient to climate change. They also serve as a source of food for some animals and provide shelter for other organisms.

The forest is a part of our natural world that we should never forget about. The ecosystem of trees is an important part of our planet’s health.


How can we preserve wildlife?


We often see animals in natural settings, but these are few and far between. This is because we have destroyed so many habitats in the past that animals now need to be reintroduced into their natural habitats.

Wildlife is a huge part of the world, and it is important to preserve them in order to keep them around for generations to come. We need to take action now before they become extinct. There are many ways to help wildlife, but the most important thing is stopping deforestation and poaching.


Benefits of Planting Trees For Birds and Animals


Trees provide a variety of benefits for birds and animals. They are crucial for the survival of these animals because they provide them with food, shelter, and a place to raise their young. Planting trees is a great way to help these animals as well as the ecosystem. It also helps humans by providing them with shade, oxygen, and beauty.

Planting trees can be a great way to provide a habitat for birds and animals. There are many benefits of planting trees, such as:

  • Providing a healthy habitat for birds and animals
  • Reducing the risk of flooding by absorbing water and preventing erosion
  • Increasing the biodiversity of a region
  • Providing shade that helps to reduce temperatures in certain areas
  • Promoting natural habitats

Legacy Tree is planting trees since 2018 so that we can preserve animal and bird species and partially compensate for the huge carbon footprint of mankind. Unfortunately the effects of climate change caused by human way of life are so enormous that our planet and the whole life on it is in danger. What else can we do?

In 2020 we launched Legacy Tree Sustainable Society Portal on a mission to unite people to create sustainable society and make our planet greener and cleaner. We should plant trees and participate in sustainability projects to save our planet by reducing our carbon footprint in everyday life!




To conclude, trees provide food, shelter, and protection for  many species that live in the forest. Trees also help in the reproduction of animals and birds by providing them with food and refuge from predators. Every single tree you plant helps sustain wildlife! Trees are a vital part of our ecosystem.

Forest and animals

Many animals live in the forest. For most of them, the forest serves as a home.

Feeding and moving from place to place, they have a great influence on the life of forest plants, significantly changing the course of the forest formation process. With their help, tree seeds can be brought to clearings or other areas devoid of woody vegetation. Sometimes, on the contrary, they lead to the death of the seeds of some tree species, preventing its renewal.

Large areas of forests are being destroyed by insect pests. All this changes the direction of the forest formation process, and sometimes only interrupts or slows down its normal course.

Animals and plants in the forest are in such close interaction that by influencing one component, it is possible to influence the other. There are so-called biological chains. Each type of vegetation corresponds to a certain complex of animals. By changing vegetation, man also affects animals. Thus, the cutting down of coniferous plantations and the emergence of deciduous young stands in their place in a number of regions led to the reproduction of deer, roe deer and elk. The destruction or extinction of certain animals also affects the vegetation. Let us consider in more detail the influence of certain groups of the animal world on the forest.

Soil fauna . An exceptionally important (although not always noticeable) role in the life of the forest is played by soil fauna. The role of earthworms is especially great. They crush organic residues, mix them with the mineral part of the soil and process them biochemically, passing them through the food tract. The total amount of organic matter eaten and processed by earthworms can reach 1 ton per 1 ha. This amounts to about 1/4 (sometimes even up to 1/3) of all leaf litter, which annually enters the soil surface.

Moving in the soil, earthworms, according to the observations of Charles Darwin (by the way, this is his very first scientific work), pass through themselves about 25 tons of soil per 1 ha. Ego leads to an improvement in its physical properties, aeration, water and thermal regimes and structure. Their influence owes its origin to a well-defined humus horizon, in which organic matter - humus - is closely associated with the mineral part of the soil. Through the passages of earthworms, the roots of woody plants also penetrate to great depths. On loosenings created by earthworms and other invertebrates, seedlings of tree species appear. Especially often spruce shoots are confined to such areas.

There are few invertebrates in the tundra. There they are concentrated only in the very surface layer of the soil or in the moss sod. There are a few more of them in the taiga forests. But here, too, earthworms are found only in the surface layer. There are many invertebrates in coniferous-deciduous and broad-leaved forests.

With an increase in the number of earthworms, soil fertility also improves. But we should not forget that the very number of earthworms depends on the properties of forest soils. In areas rich in organic matter, fertile soils with good water and air conditions, there are up to 5-7 million annelids per 1 ha. On poor soils, their number rarely exceeds 50-100 thousand pieces. per 1 ha. There are almost no earthworms in swamps and on very dry soils. As for other invertebrates, they play a much smaller role due to their small number.

Insects . Many insects play a useful role in the life of the forest. They pollinate flowers and spread small seeds. Without insects, entomophilous (insect-pollinated) plants would not form seeds and would fall out of the forest stands. And the death of all insects is no longer such a fantastic thing in our time. The use of chemicals can also lead to this.

More often than not, insects are harmful. Eating leaves and needles, they lead to the death of entire forests. Like fungi, they damage fruits and seeds, shoots, etc. These damages, if they do not lead the trees directly to death, then reduce their role in the formation of new stands and lead to the weakening of old ones. Other insects (bark beetles, bark beetles) attack weakened trees and accelerate their death. The harm of insects is so great that it is studied in a special special course in forest entomology.

There are insects that feed on other insects (ground beetles, ichneumons, etc.). By destroying harmful insects, they are of great benefit to woody vegetation. Many harmful insects are eaten by ants. There is evidence that the ants of one anthill destroy from 3 to 5 million insects per season, including up to 150-360 thousand harmful insects from a plot of 0.2-0.5 hectares. They also attack caterpillars, young insects during their molt or immediately after they emerge from their cocoons. At the same time, it has been established that ants favor aphids and, together with harmful insects, destroy beneficial ones. Only certain races of red ants play a tangible useful role. Many harmful insects are destroyed by arachnids, trapping flies, butterflies, dragonflies and other flying insects in their nets.

Birds . Most birds live in deciduous and mixed forests, less in dark coniferous. On this occasion, the famous ornithologist S. A. Baturlin wrote that the taiga is lifeless and only when approaching some river valley, lake basin or just clearing life is in full swing. Birds eat many insects. Particularly useful in this regard are small birds that feed exclusively on insects. A smaller role is played by birds that use insects to feed their chicks.

On the tops of trees, flying insects lie in wait for the eastern widemouth. More often it feeds on beetles, less often it catches dragonflies, fillies, bumblebees and bees. A large number of flying insects are eaten by flycatchers. One small kinglet eats up to 4 million small insects and their larvae during the summer. Especially a lot of insects are destroyed by the oriole and the cuckoo. Up to a hundred hairy caterpillars, which are not eaten by other birds, are eaten by a cuckoo a day. In the upper canopy of forest stands, the larvae is kept. It exterminates beetles, flies, butterflies, larvae and caterpillars. Some of them he catches right on the fly, others he pecks from the branches. There are many night butterflies, most of which are pests of forests, and beetles are exterminated by nightjars.

Some birds kill large numbers of mouse-like rodents. The large wood owl - the tawny owl - feeds mainly on mice, but sometimes it is not averse to feasting on a hare, squirrel and game birds. However, the benefits outweigh the harm. An interesting needle-footed owl lives in the Far East, which catches large nocturnal insects (butterflies and beetles) with its paws. She has needles on the inside of her fingers, with which she keeps insects. Sometimes it exterminates small birds. The sparrow owl catches mice. In the hollows of trees, he stacks mice and small birds, creating reserves for the winter. Shrike Shrike preys on butterflies, beetles, large grasshoppers and small birds, and sometimes mice. When the shrike is full, he impales the dead insects and birds on dry sharp knots, on hawthorn thorns and other thorns in reserve.

Of other birds, the role of woodpeckers should be noted. There are several types of them, and almost all of them are considered forest doctors or orderlies. With a strong beak, woodpeckers get insects, most often large larvae, hiding in wood and inaccessible to other birds. They hollow out hollows, which then serve as dwellings for other birds. But woodpeckers eat not only insects. They eat a lot of tree seeds. Often in the forests you can find a woodpecker's forge - a place with a large pile of empty spruce cones. Here, having strengthened the cone, he takes out the seeds from it. Stores since autumn, stringing lionfish on branches, he and linden seeds.

An interesting bird, the blue magpie, lives in the forests of the Far East. In summer, it feeds on large insects (beetles, butterflies, caterpillars), and in autumn and winter - seeds. She pecks at the fruits of currants, grapes, lemongrass, viburnum, velvet, aralia, dimorphant and other tree species. Velvet fruits are eaten by thrushes, waxwings, grosbeaks and other birds. Many seeds are eaten by crossbills.

Birds spread the seeds of many plants over considerable distances, eating fruits with juicy pulp and seeds protected from digestion by a dense shell. A significant proportion of these seeds pass through the digestive tract intact. There are even seeds that do not germinate without passing through the intestines of birds and the action of gastric juice on them.

Black grouse feed on fruits, larvae and ants in summer, and birch and willow buds in winter. Many fruits are eaten by hazel grouse. In summer, they feed on seeds and greenery, sometimes they tear open anthills, in winter they eat buds, young shoots, catkins of alder and birch. Black grouse and hazel grouse cause some harm to the renewal of trees, but they themselves serve as a valuable object of hunting. We have already talked about the activities of the nutcracker. Let us only add that, according to special estimates, in Siberia up to 38,000-43,000 seeds of Siberian stone pine are brought into clearings during autumn. The jay carries oak acorns over long distances. Many benefits bring to the forest and other birds. And if at the same time they eat part of the seeds, then they need to eat.

Mammals . Many species of mammals live in the forests. These are bear, tiger, sable, cheetah, lynx, squirrel, wild boar, roe deer, deer, goral, wolf, musk deer, hare, mole and many others. Most mammals are of hunting importance. Some animals only live in forests and have almost no effect on tree vegetation. Most animals feed on plants and other forest animals and play either a positive or a negative role in the life of the forest.

Perhaps the greatest damage to forests is caused by mouse-like rodents. They destroy the seeds of tree species and thus prevent their renewal. Many seeds, especially large ones, are eaten by mice both in crops in nurseries and in silvicultural areas. They are so good at finding cedar nuts sown in the soil that its cultivation by seeds has become impossible. In lean years, mouse-like rodents eat the bark of young trees, and these trees gradually dry out. Sometimes in this way they destroy shelterbelts in the fields.

At the same time, mouse-like rodents also bring some benefits. Thus, during the years of mass reproduction, bank voles burrow up to 10-15% of the area. Along their courses, the soil is soaked to a great depth, and shoots of woody plants appear in the places where they come to the surface. Up to 35% of pine seedlings grow in pine forests above rodent passages. Among other rodents, hares play a certain harmful role, which bite the tops of the undergrowth of deciduous species and eat the bark of aspens.

Ungulates (deer, roe deer, musk deer, goral, rams, elk) feed on shoots of deciduous, rarely coniferous trees and cause damage to forestry. This harm is usually small and is offset by the benefits that they provide in the form of meat products. But there are cases when ungulates destroy many small trees in winter. Recently, moose in many farms have become a real scourge of coniferous crops. So, according to observations on the Kola Peninsula, one elk eats from 120 to 200 pines per day in autumn, and from 60 to 100 in winter. This is a very big loss. Almost sometimes moose eat all the planted trees. But more often than not, people themselves are to blame. The number of animals (especially if they are specially bred, fed, destroyed by predators eating them) needs to be regulated. Deer, roe deer, and hares in France severely damage white and Douglas fir, European spruce, ash, beech, and Scots pine. As a result of these damages, the growth of the tree slows down, rot is formed.

Ungulates, eating some species and leaving others, contribute to the replacement of one type of vegetation by another. So, in the Belgorod region, roe deer severely damage bird cherry, European euonymus, wild rose, Norway and field maples, blackthorn, warty euonymus and pear. They eat oak and ash very rarely, and linden is slightly damaged. It would seem that they help the oak in the struggle for existence. But it is not. They destroy small breeds that form a "fur coat" for oak and worsen the conditions for its growth.

The benefits that wild boars bring to forests are very great. In search of food, they dig up the soil, thereby contributing to the natural renewal of tree species. But the number of such useful animals should be regulated. When it rises sharply, great damage is done to agriculture. In search of food, wild boars wander into the fields and gardens of local residents and sometimes dig up the entire crop of potatoes and other crops. And then there are angry calls to destroy the boars. In this case, you just need to regularly shoot off excess animals and use meat, which is also a forest product.

Squirrels, chipmunks and porcupines destroy many tree seeds. They all collect seeds, hide them in their vaults and hardly lose them. Chipmunks, on the other hand, cause great harm to forest nurseries, digging large seeds in the beds. Proteins behave interestingly during periods of migration. Moving from one area to another, they hide the seeds under the forest floor. Obviously some sort of instinct kicks in. These seeds remain until spring, and then germinate.

Insectivorous animals bring great benefits to the forest. Many harmful insects are eaten by shrews. Moles also feed on insects, but often eat beneficial earthworms. With their moves in the forest, they improve the water and air regime of the soil, help to reduce surface runoff and the penetration of tree roots into deeper soil horizons. At the same time, moles spoil meadows, ridges in nurseries. The useful role of hedgehogs is especially great. They feed on harmful insects, their larvae, mice. Many harmful insects are caught by bats. Badgers also feed on harmful insects and mice. A lot of mice are destroyed by a fox, and therefore it can rather be attributed to useful animals. Mice are also hunted by other predatory animals: marten, sable, ermine, weasel, polecat and Siberian weasel. The sable also feeds on pine nuts. Bears and other large predatory animals play a less prominent role in the life of the forest. These are the complex relationships that develop between the forest and animals. There are neither absolutely useful nor absolutely harmful animals in the forest - they are its integral part.

90,000 inhabitants of the forest, how are they interconnected (3 class)


Average score: 4.2

Total estimates were received: 267.

Updated January 13, 2022


Average score: 4.2

A total ratings: 267.

Updated January 13, 2022

The forest is a living organism, a reliable and comfortable home for a large number of animals, birds, insects and plants. The inhabitants of the forest are able to live in the neighborhood without interfering with each other. In the conditions of the wild nature, there is everything so that living beings can live in complete harmony, without needing anything.

The material was prepared jointly with the teacher of the highest category Akulinkina Tatyana Nikolaevna.

Experience as a teacher - more than 48 years.

Forest and its inhabitants

Depending on the geographical location of the forest, there are several types:

  • Taiga - northern forests dominated by coniferous trees (fir, larch, pine, spruce).
  • Mixed forests - coniferous and deciduous trees.
  • Deciduous forests - they are dominated by such deciduous trees as oak, birch, aspen, linden.
Fig. 1. Forest

The forest can be compared to a multi-storey building, in which each floor has its own owners. So, all trees in the forests form several tiers, which are considered from top to bottom:

  • The first (uppermost) tier - form high light-loving trees (spruce, oak, maple, pine).
  • The second tier - under the cover of tall trees are undersized (aspen, alder, mountain ash, willow). They are able to live in the shade and still feel comfortable.
  • The third tier is represented by shrubs (raspberry, hazel, wild rose, viburnum). Due to their modest size, these plants will always remain below, under the trees. Therefore, the tier of shrubs is also called the undergrowth.
  • Fourth tier - herbs. Forest grasses are distinguished by good shade tolerance and are able to do without bright sunlight.
  • Fifth layer - soil with spreading mosses and lichens. These plants are able to absorb a lot of moisture for a long time to keep it. Thus, they create ideal conditions for other plants.

Lichens are an amazing plant organism consisting of algae and fungus. Lichens grow not only on the ground, but also on the bark of trees and rocks.

Rice. 2. Lichens

Forest fauna

The tiered arrangement of trees in the forest has left its mark on the animals living here. The upper forest layer is inhabited by insects that feed on buds and leaves.

Especially many different insects live in the dense crown of oak. Here you can meet such insects as stag beetle, oak leafworm, acorn weevil, cockchafers and other insects.

Birds also live in the upper tier, for which insects serve as food. First of all, these are woodpeckers, goldfinches, finches. In dense thickets of trees, hiding from predators, they make nests for themselves and raise offspring. Also, feathered predators hunt in the upper tiers of the forest: falcon, owl, eagle owl, hawk.

Rice. 3. Owl

Titmouse, bullfinches, blackbirds, as well as such small forest animals as chipmunks and squirrels live in the second tier. Here they earn their livelihood and find shelter from enemies.

Large mammals hide in bushes: foxes, wolves, wild boars, deer. Rodents, hedgehogs, lizards, snakes live in the grass. In the forest floor they find snails, ticks, worms. Shrews and moles live in the soil.

How the inhabitants of the forest are related to each other

A forest is a natural community in which all its inhabitants are closely connected with each other by such links:

  • Food chains: some insects and animals are prey, some are predators, but sooner or later they all die, becoming a source of food for insects and microorganisms.
  • Plants serve not only as food, but also as a reliable shelter from enemies and bad weather.
  • Animals help to spread plant fruits and seeds throughout the forest.
  • Numerous burrows and earth labyrinths dug by some animals and insects enrich the soil with oxygen and thus improve its fertility.
  • Fungi and bacteria convert plant and animal remains into mineral salts, which serve as a source of nutrition for plants.

What have we learned?

In the article on the topic of forest dwellers in the Grade 3 environmental program, we learned what a forest community consists of.

Learn more