LIFE Forests-waterworlds

Close-to-nature forestry

Waldwirtschaft: Gefällte Bäume

Timber is versatile and is constantly growing in our local forests. Close-to-nature forest management produces wood sustainably.

Oak forests are living history

As far as we can lock back in history of the Ville-forests, the oak forests have been used by the people. For many centuries the people favored the oak by silviculture methods like “coppice with standard”. The hornbeam and lime trees were cut down every 20 to 30 years and were used as firewood. The oaks were allowed to grow to their full height for use as construction timber. They have been harvested in the age of 120 or 150 years. These “coppice with standard” oaks with their large canopies can be found to this day in the Ville-forests. Furthermore the cattle had been moved to the forest. In particular the acrons were used as food for the pigs. These forests are called "Schmalzwälder" in mediaeval descriptions.

Silviculture in change

Clear-cutting or natural regeneration? Spruce and pine than oak and beech? The silvicultural methods changed over the centuries. With the beginning of the prussion time in the 19th the traditional “coppice with standard” method was replaced by forest management dominated by conifers. Pine, spruce and douglas were planted on large clearcuttings. However, the wind throws and the attacks of pests like Bark beetles show that the success is low. In the 1960th the view turns back to oak and beech. At the beginning of 1990th the forest management changed to close-to nature silviculture.

Goodbye to clearcutting

The objective is to create, maintain and manage uneven-aged multilayered forests with several tree-species. Such forests are particularly stable and resilient. They enable the sustainable and economical production of timber and preserve the biodiversity of our forests. For this reason clearcuttings are avoided and only single trees are used. The periodical thinning of the canopy supports natural regeneration. 

Silviculture and nature conservation

Our oak forests carry out different functions. They are one of the most biodiverse forest habitats in Central Europe, they are an important place of recreation for the people und they produce oak timber, one of the most valuable native timbers. They are an economic factor, giving work to the local population and producing a sustainable resource. They bind the greenhouse gas CO2 and contribute to climate protection. The LIFE+ project “Ville-forests – forest and water” should be an example, how oak forests can fulfill their ecological and economic importance in the future.

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