Nurse logs are forest healers and sustainers on the forest floor.

A dead tree remains standing until its structural lignin has been broken down to the point when the tree falls. The now horizontal decaying log becomes a safe haven and a rich growing environment, thus creating a nurse log for tree and plant seedlings.

Nurse logs promote a favorable set of growing conditions including increased moisture due water retention of decaying logs; beneficial fungi that aid in growing; more access to light due to their elevation off the forest floor; and more nutritious soil and humus in which to take root.