A windthrow is an uprooted tree that has fallen to the ground due to factors related to the tree itself (poor rooting, biological aggression, senescence) or external factors (storm, lightning, treefall or rockfall, etc.).
In the forest environment, windthrows are one of the natural mechanisms that contribute to recycling organic matter and creating clearings. Clearings, which receive sunlight and have bare soil, support pioneer species and natural regeneration of the forest.
The dead wood hosts xylophagic and saproxylic organisms, animals that feed on dead wood and animals that live in cavities (birds, bats, etc.).
A windthrow in the Landes region after Cyclone Klaus. © François B. CC by-nc-nd 3.0