Vegetation and Topsoil
helps the soil to absorb water and slow run-off from rain
and snow-melt. Roots hold the moisture-absorbing,fertile
topsoil in place during run-off and flooding.
A diversity of root depths and species also provide habitat
for bacteria and insects which keep the soil healthy and
fertile, thus allowing for faster regeneration of trees
and other plants. Vegetation provides a leafy
cover that helps keep the soil and water temperatures at
healthy levels, acting as both a source of shade in the
summer and insulation in the winter.
Vegetation is important
both dead and alive. Standing dead trees, known as snags,
provide shelter for a vast variety of animals, such as racoons,
porcupines, squirrels, woodpeckers, bats and owls. Fallen
trees provide breeding ground for insects, a vital part
of the forest food chain and help to repenish nutrients
in the soil. In streams and rivers, vegetation helps to
provide fish and other aquatic species with shelter from
predators and provides habitats for the insects that provide
the main source of food for salmon and other fish.