WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF NOTHING DECAYED

THIS leaves out of account a very important group of organisms—fungi; but, as they receive special treatment elsewhere,1 the omission is not so serious as otherwise it would be. It is exceedingly rash to assume that any group of organisms is unimportant: the fungi are such important agents in the economy of the living world that they must be given separate consideration. Nevertheless we should observe, in passing, that the large-scale debris of forest life—leaves, dead wood and so forth—are reduced and become again available for the use of plants by the agency of fungi, bacteria and other organisms lumped together as destroying. Imagine what would happen if nothing decayed; if the dead tree and the dead elephant lay without change where they fell ! ‘

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