The leaves have had quite a journey since the spring. As soon as their protective buds opened and revealed the glorious sunshine, they became mini sugar-production factories, supplying energy for the trees as they woke from winter slumber, and munch for innumerable critters.
Looking to the future, we aspire towards more off-grid low-impact living, e.g. with compost toilets and woodburners. So we will need to plant more trees to sustainably harvest firewood from the land. And plans are afoot for a constructed wetland system, which would be a big attraction for local wildlife.