Wald- & Wasserwelten

10.November 2015 - LIFE+ and German students set the table for the Eurasian jay

The students of the Heinrich Böll Secondary school near Cologne support the LIFE+ Project ‘Villeforests’ to enlarge the area of oak-hornbeam-forest in Western Germany. They implement a traditional silvicultural method of oak regeneration using the Eurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius) as an assistant to spread oak acorns in confer monocultures.

In autumn this bird caches acorns in order to assure its food supply for winter. Some of the hidden seeds are not consumed during the winter and germinate in the following spring. This regeneration of oak will be used to convert pure spruce stands into natural oak habitats.

The eleven-years-old students constructed wooden trays on which the acorns are of-fered to the jay. In the last week of October, they built up the trays in selected spruce stands and filled them with acorns. The seeds have been collected in local natural oak habitats which are registered for seed production. The students control their jay tables every week during winter. Next summer, they will monitor the germination success of the oaks.

This project is an opportunity for children and young people to learn about natural environment and take care for the conversation areas of the Natura 2000 network.  It is supported by the regional forest agency and the non-profit forest organisation ‘Schutzgemeinschaft Deutscher Wald’.

The LIFE+ project ‘Villeforests  LIFE forests and waterworlds’ supports the sustainable management of oak-hornbeam forests on hydromorphic soils in four Natura 2000 areas in Western Germany. These old-growth oak forests expand on an area of 10 km² and are habitat for protected species like woodpeckers, bats and amphibians. The key actions are the closure of drainage ditches, the maintenance of habitat trees and the plantation of oaks to improve the conservation status. For more information on the project activities, please visit the project homepage.


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