Death of a Forest Culture in Germany

Since 2017, heavy storms, droughts, and bugs have felled many trees. This is happening in the land of the poets, thinkers … and forest lovers.

While taking my own forest walks, I can see dead trees still standing as well as lying by the roadside, marked with numbers. We can also see cleared forest aisles from a 9th floor apartment located at the foot of the Taunus Mountains. In American English, this could also be called a swath of destruction – an attack on nature or a natural development..? This determination I will leave to the scientists.

On any walk, there is always some momentary despair in the air, but in the next moment, we manage yet to marvel at the green canopy of leaves which is still above us on our walks in the nearby forest.

The most recent killer creature has been the Borkenkäfer (bark beetle), which likes to feed on mostly conifer trees.

Germany’s forest is a mixed forest of deciduous and conifer trees, with the spruce making up 25% of Germany’s forest.

Thanks for these photos and permission to publish go to my friend, Udo Esser, who took them on one his runs around the forests and hills.

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Stormy winds and droughts kill trees. This photo is what a tree looks like after bark beetles have devoured it. Not much left, is there…

bark beetles at work

This might be a slightly better time for Wanderer (hikers), who now have a much better view all the way around, including onto Frankfurt and its skyline (some smog included).

Frankfurt Skyline

This is a Wasserschutzgebiet (water protection area). There is no water to protect, so the sign has become less important. At present, and under its current conditions, it must be difficult to keep Ordnung in the German forests.

Wasserschutzgebiet im Taunus

This is what you are likely to encounter when exploring the hiking trails around here. The lack of precipitation in recent months has added more misery.

September 2020
German forests facing storms, droughts, and bark beetles.

This tree had been taken down by a storm. Forest workers gave it a clean and final cut before it could do further damage.

We’ve had our share of storms and destroyed trees in our own private garden in the Taunus Mountains as well. There have been three major storms involving our garden, which took down close to 20 trees (some where over a hundred years old). One of these storms cost us €2.500 to have seven kneeled over trees taken down. The other trees, belonging to neighbors, had fallen into our garden.

This is a socalled Luthereiche, an oak tree planted in remembrance of Martin Luther.

It has lost all its leaves due to the recurring droughts.

I love trees, and if you ever saw my balcony, you could see it for yourself. I have many trees, most are volunteers left by the wind or the birds as carriers.

For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver. – Martin Luther

Sequoia Trees in the Oberursel Forest

There are two Sequoia trees (Sequoiadendron giganteum) near the Frankfurter Forsthaus located in the Oberursel forest.

If you live in the Oberursel area, enter the Rosengärtchen at the U-Bahn station An der Waldlust. Walking downhill a bit, you’ll soon see a sign pointing you to the Tierheim (animal shelter). Follow this road into the woods, pass the Tierheim, and you will soon come to and intersection and see the trees on the left side. Walking time: 20 – 25 minutes

These trees were planted around 1860. One of our international friends asked me if I knew who planted them. As of now, I have only learned that 1860 was a significant year in Europe’s history.

As these tree have been planted close to the Frankfurter Forsthaus in the Oberursel forest (closer to Oberstedten and Bad Homburg), I suppose it might have something to do with all the important people and events in Bad Homburg.

Certain events in 1960:

* Bad Homburg got connected to Frankfurt by rail.

* Emporer Wilhelm II. started using the Bad Homburg castle as his summer residence on a yearly basis.

* The Bad Homburger Kurverein was founded.

* In the year of 1860 alone, there were  275 000 Kurgäste (spa visitors) in Bad Homburg.

* The Gotische Haus (Gothic House) bordering the city limits of Bad Homburg came into possession of the  forest landgraviate( landgräfliche Forstverwaltung).

Sequoia sign in Oberursel Forest

Sequoia sign in Oberursel Forest

Oberursel Forest

Oberursel Forest

Sequoia cone and seeds

Sequoia cone and seeds

Looking for information about 1860 Deutschland, there are about 9,560,000 results. Searching for 1860 Bad Homburg, the net comes up with 126,000 results.

 Who planted these two Sequoia trees? If you know, feel free to share it here with us.

 

Quote of the Day

A civilization flourishes when people plant trees under which they will never sit.
— Greek Proverb —

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