Dead wood provides a huge terrestrial carbon stock and a habitat to wide-ranging organisms during its decay. Our brief review highlights that, in order to understand environmental change impacts on these functions, we need to quantify the contributions of different interacting biotic and abiotic drivers to wood decomposition. LOGLIFE is a new long-term ‘common-garden’ experiment to disentangle the effects of species’ wood traits and site-related environmental drivers on wood decomposition dynamics and its associated diversity of microbial and invertebrate communities. This experiment is firmly rooted in pioneering experiments under the directorship of Terry Callaghan at Abisko Research Station, Sweden. LOGLIFE features two contrasting forest sites in the Netherlands, each hosting a similar set of coarse logs and branches of 10 tree species. LOGLIFE welcomes other researchers to test further questions concerning coarse wood decay that will also help to optimise forest management in view of carbon sequestration and biodiversity conservation.