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What is a habitat tree?

The word habitat comes from Latin and means "to live in”.

Some people immediately think of the British design department store, and if we continue to spin this image in our heads, we're not far off the mark.

Even in a habitat tree, there are different "furnishing styles" that are aimed precisely at very specific species.
Without caves, rotting places, leafy bark, duff, or decomposed wood, it is not possible to live comfortably.

Except, in the case of creatures that depend on old-growth structures, it's not a matter of choosing a vintage couch, but in general, of preserving biodiversity and in particular, the survival of highly endangered species.

Species range from tree hollow-dwelling birds, bats, ants or beetles to fungi, mosses and lichens.

A habitat tree has hence a high ecological value, but usually looks unaesthetic, due to the required measures to maintain traffic safety which cause a tree to lose its classic image.

Because more and more trees are becoming sick during climate change, and we are taking areas of over 60 hectares from nature every day without providing adequate replacements, something has to be done.

As a qualified forest ecologist and tree I have developed a concept that sensitises citizens for the topic of habitat trees, which should also inspire children for a natural insect hotel.


This is not a new topic, since it was already recognised and implemented by far-sighted forest scientists more than 200 years ago (Link: Presseinformationen - Georg-August-Universität Göttingen (

At that time, there were also large losses of old trees over many decades. A turnaround could only be achieved with the mandatory introduction of concepts for habitat tree protection in public forests starting in the 1990s.

In the field of official nature conservation, leaving habitat trees in public areas has proven to be a professional alternative in recent years.

The replanting of young trees is often a policy, but a freshly planted tree does not perform relevant functions such as cooling effects, shading, carbon sequestration, noise regulation, and balancing effects on the local climate until after 30-40 years.

We can't possibly cut down all municipal trees that become diseased due to climate change, but we can convert many of them into habitat trees with long-term added value.

Help preserve biodiversity and give habitat trees a second look!
your tree expert
Baumexpertin Daniela Antoni

B.Sc. Forstwissenschaften und Waldökologie Universität Göttingen
Sachverständige für Bäume • FLL-zertifizierte Baumkontrolleurin

Habitatbaum Pilzkonsolen

Bracket fungi

This immobile life form hosts numerous species.
Unfortunately, they only grow on pre-damaged, mainly older trees. Depending on the fungal species, highly specialised beetles can be found on them, and their genetic diversity must be protected. Many tree fungus species are irreplaceable as so-called saprophytes for the decomposition of organic material. Often, the wood only becomes edible for insects through the fungus and its decomposition activity.
Habitatbaum Flechten & Moose

Lichens & Mosses

with lichens, mosses and fungi
These species-rich microhabitats are also colonised by specialised insect species. Because they are immobile, they can only be created or maintained by actively promoting the substrate.
Habitatbaum Totholz


Many wood-dwelling beetles are considered endangered in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. This indicates that the required structures and habitats are highly endangered. By leaving tree torsos, this important substrate can be preserved, e.g., for jewel beetles, longhorn beetles and other red-listed species, without posing a threat to traffic safety.
Habitatbaum Faulstellen

Rotten spots

e.g., click beetles, rose beetles, hermit beetles, longhorn beetles
Rotting places, as well as duff and tree trunk caves, are the basis of life for many animal species. Both nesting, shelter and food are provided with them. Each cave is unique in its structure but differs significantly from all others in its characteristics. Both volume, microclimate and how strongly the duff is decomposed can play a role. Since the species that depend on them have different requirements, the occurrence of different types of caves is very significant for biodiversity in the city. Rare and endangered insect species depend on this habitat, which has been stable for decades, but is increasingly found only in old trees. Pruning specifically creates these structures over the years. With increasing age and environmental influences, trees not only become more imposing, but structures are created in and on the tree that are needed by a variety of living creatures - these must be preserved.
Habitatbaum Höhlen

Tree hollows

z.B. Spechte, Baummarder, Eichhörnchen, Fledermäuse
e.g., woodpeckers, pine martens, squirrels, bats Not only woodpeckers are happy about tree hollows, but also many other tree hollow-dwelling bird species. Examples for frequent post tenants are, pine martens, squirrels, bats, stock doves, starlings, wild bees, or hornets.
Habitatbaum Lose Rinde

Loose bark

Longhorn beetles, mites, flies, and wasp species, as well as spiders, take advantage of the microclimate of bark pockets and damaged tree trunk. Bats can also hide in them. Loose bark is also found only in pre-damaged trees and is favoured by pruning.
Habitatbaum Käfer


Among beetles (Coleoptera), there are about 1,500 species in Germany that are tied to the diverse manifestations of old and dead wood. The fewer old trees we have, the more difficult it is for them to ensure their survival.
Leaving dead or diseased trees standing, holds many opportunities for our urban fauna.
A habitat tree serves as a home and nursery for many animals. For example, robins, wrens and dippers like to breed in dead tree trunks. Moreover, the decomposing wood is used as a substrate by a wide variety of fungi...wood beetles, wild bees and wood wasps and ants also appreciate it and sometimes even depend on it because their radius is severely limited. The various insects in turn serve as food for woodpeckers, nuthatches, tree creepers and many other bird species.
Deadwood is therefore full of life and should be preserved as such unconditionally.
With increasing age and environmental influences, trees not only become more imposing, but structures develop in and on the tree that are needed by a variety of living creatures - these must be preserved.
Logo Habitatbaum • Daniela Antoni • Friedrich-Ebert-Str. 9 • 63811 Stockstadt • 0176 - 217 23 901 • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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