Thinning for healthy forests

The yew and dry past years and especially the last summer, the lack of winter and the bark kafer are a big problem for forest owners. However, a forest can be rebuilt in time, as ernst zeilinger has done.

Forest restructuring as a precaution

"Replanting is the planting of other trees under the monocultures in forests", explains moritz bergen, department head for the forestry department from erlangen.

In the region there are mainly pine trees that are still struggling, especially with the drought of the last few years. Many of them have died because of this. "If you restructure your forest in time and plant other tree species underneath, you will have new trees underneath right away."

Climate change is visible in erlangen-hochstadt

This is less risky than with pure monocultures, says his colleague gerhard hofmann, district forester. "In addition, in mixed forests there is then a more diverse plant life and more animals", he says. He provides forest owners, like ernst zeilinger, with advice and support.

Zeilinger had the courage to restructure his forest about 30 years ago on the advice of hofmann. "It cost money and time. Just keeping it clean, fencing it all in, or even taking care of the young plants – that was really a lot of work.", he says.

Nevertheless, he does not regret this decision. For now, when some of the pines have to be felled due to drought or disease, the new trees are already coming up below.

Happy about rebuilding

Although it was no longer a profitable investment for him in that sense due to his age, he does not regret this decision. "Now I'm glad I did this. I also like it very much. I'm just a real nature boy", says zeilinger. In his patch of forest, there are about ten different species of trees: beech, spruce and even some cherry trees.

At the moment, there are no signs of bark beetle infestation in the trees he cuts, he says happily. That he has really taken care of his forest is also shown by the wild boars that feel very comfortable here.

But there are other trappers who have neglected their forest and not heeded hofmann's tip. In another forest a few kilometers away, the situation is quite different: among the healthy trees, there are pines that already have red, withered needles. Many have also been destroyed by the bark beetle, which becomes active at around 16 degrees celsius. 100 of the seeds are enough to damage a tree so much that it dies, says bergen. Nothing can be done against the pest, but the forest stand must be well maintained, thinned and observed.

If you do it like ernst zeilinger you have even new trees underneath and no holes. "Forests will exist in the future despite climate change or pests. But they will and must change", says moritz bergen.

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