This is how you rebuild a forest

This is how you rebuild a forest

Adelshofen – Climate change is on everyone’s lips, and it’s not leaving Bruck’s forests unscathed either. That’s why the forest urgently needs to be "rebuilt" – but that can’t be done as quickly as climate change.

If you manage a forest, you need to spend a lot of time. An old proverb says: "What the grandfather plants, the grandson reaps."Conveniently, because of this, three generations are also active in the almost two-hectare forest plot of the Klab family southwest of Adelshofen: Grandpa Franz, who bought the forest ten years ago, son Stefan, who is busy with the maintenance, and grandson Marco (15), who loves to pull the wood out of the forest with the bulldog.

In view of climatological data in recent years, however, the proverb must be rephrased: The next generation is already harvesting the wood – not entirely voluntarily. That is because even before reaching the average age, it was either knocked down by the storm, eaten by the beetle or parched by the summer heat.

Pests will explode

"The past three winters were not like this, the average temperatures in 2014 and 2015 were about two degrees above average, and in the past record summer there were 18 days above 30 degrees," summarizes forestry office manager Hans-Jurgen Gulder the weather observations of his station in Puch. This cannot remain without consequences for the forest. Despite the unusually wet year so far, forestry experts expect an explosion in the number of bookworms and copper engravers, which are dramatically affecting spruce stands. Late effects of the climatic disaster year, in which birch trees and rowan berries had already lost their leaves in August. Because it takes two to four years for a suffering tree to regain its original vitality.

The recipe: plant lots of hardwood

The voracious beetles have so far avoided the forest of the Klab family, while last year 30 cubic meters of wood had to be felled. But that could change quickly. In any case, the Schlosser family has taken precautions and, after consultation with the district forester Anita Ottmann, has started the forest conversion in an exemplary way. "No more spruce, because we have almost no suitable soils in the district, a lot of hardwood such as beech, alder, maple, linden, but also fir and Douglas fir," Ottmann summarizes her recipe. That’s what government subsidies are for.

It is important to start while the spruces are still standing, Ottmann explains. Because the silver firs would need the shade of the taller trees. This can also save time, because after a total clearing it does not start from scratch.

Fitness program for man and nature

It is unsatisfactory for Guilder that the hunting leaseholders in the private forests do not make any contribution to support the natural regeneration by consistent shooting. That’s why fencing is essential, he says, but at least it’s encouraged.

In addition to this government fitness program for the forest, the forest itself is also a fitness program for the extended Klab family. "There’s something to do all year round, planting, cutting out calamity wood, tearing out blackberry vines," says Franz Klab and laughs, "I don’t need a fitness studio!"Only with the wood marketing Paul Hogenauer and its forest owner association supports it.

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