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A short story from clearcutting to primeval

The following process refers to the radical change from a fallow to a natural forest. The time span here is at least a century, to a virgin forest even longer. The first piece of nature planned to be acquired in Collaboration with Earth refers to a transformation from a plantation or “forest” of non-native trees to a native forest as created by nature itself. Since this transformation already has better preconditions, it may only take a few decades.

Now let’s assume a less than ideal starting situation, which we find more and more, whether in the tropics or in Germany. Now imagine the following: You see a fallow, open depleted soil, caused for example by a clear cut, strong storms or a field. The sun shines on the bare soil, the microorganisms (bacteria, nematodes, mites, etc.), work at full speed and the hummus, the fertile soil, is broken down too quickly. In addition, erosion is a big problem. Unfortunately, we find this situation increasingly, not only in Germany, but worldwide. At the same time, nature is trying its best to shade the soil as quickly as possible and thus make the soil more viable again. The wind carries seeds of the pioneer trees, in Germany these are mainly the birch and the poplar, and these first let their tender roots grow into the earth. They then provide the basis for the slower-growing native trees, such as the beech and oak. In this way, step by step, a virgin forest can be created again.

What a sick forest looks like – plantations with trees like soldiers.

But even here you can find a small generation of native trees.

 

If the fallow is a former monoculture of non-native conifers, the natural revitalization of the area will include a few young trees from the former plantation. And they are allowed to be there, too, because their rapid growth provides rapid shading and thus an opportunity for the future forest. In the best case, the former plantation culture has not yet degraded too much hummus and the soil has not been completely destroyed despite the heavy forestry vehicles. Then the chances are good that a healthy forest can still be experienced in human lifetime. Even if there are statements about the fact that probably only an ice age could completely fix the compressed soil again.

These young golden trees form the future of our forests. When the non-native tree species die due to their unadaptability, they will grow to their full size and provide their offspring with the ideal breeding ground for a natural primeval forest.

 

The seeds of the native tree species that make up the old-growth forest (e.g., beech and oak) are also carried by wind or birds from the surrounding parent trees to the new forest floor. The jay likes to eat these seeds and also diligently buries a large number of them in the ground. And in fact, much more than he needs for his nutrition.This makes him “forget” some seeds in the soil and these are now allowed to take new roots. In this way, the jay helps immensely in the reshaping of an ideal and healthy forest! Therefore, I have chosen him as the patron of my project.

The small trees are, without the help of their older and shady mother trees and their sugar supply, completely on their own. But the abundance of light also makes them grow faster than they could in a dark primeval forest. There, the little trees have to wait until an old tree dies and they can use the chance of sunlight reaching down to the ground to then quickly fill the gap in the leaf canopy. The rapid growth quickly gives rise to a young forest.

 

This might be the closest forest to a german primeval forest – Heilige Hallen (Holly Halls).

 

In an ideal and healthy forest, deer and other wild animals find enough food in their natural habitats and have less interest in the young plantlets. Thus, these have a greater chance of survival and growth. The forest that is now visible is still very light and has nothing in common with the dark beech forests that one would actually find in Germany. After many decades, the pioneer trees die and now make way for the trees that will characterize the centuries-old forest.

These trees, perhaps once sown by the jay, have now become stately and gigantic trees. Since they had a very unfavorable nursery and could not grow in ideal conditions, it is quite possible that they will not reach their maximum age and will fall sick earlier or be blown over by the wind. But they have now in turn created a better foundation for the next generation of trees than they themselves had. Their child trees may form the primeval forest, which is our ideal forest.


And don’t our deciduous trees look fantastic in the fall? Another good reason to take care of them gently.

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