Friday, 8 June 2007

Forestry in Germany

Germany has very long history of forest management. However there rotation period is very long, they are managing the forest and getting quite a high benefits from it. There are very few tree species found in Germany. Around 50 -60 forest tree species exist here. But, the larger number of tress species (more than 200 ) in China and around 150 species in the USA are found in the same geography and climatic region. Before last Ice age (around 6000 years ago) also there were lots of tree species in Germany but due to Ice age and Alpes mountains restriction, many species disappeared.

In Germany mainly 4 species dominates the whole forestry. The first most is Norwegian Spruce (33%), Pine ( ca. 25%), Beech (14%) and Oak (10%). Among the exotic species are the Douglas fir is the major one. Other species found here are Maple (3 species, Acer palatinoides, Acer pseudoplatinoides, Acer species), Cherry tree (Prunus arbreum), Birch (Betula pendula), Black pine, Robinia pseudoacacia, Hedgel Nut, Horn bean etc. But there shares are very little.

Governments now focussing on to increase the broad leaved species whereas the private industry are opposing it because there most of machines and technology are based on coniferous species so they donot want to replace it towards broadleaved species.

In Germany, all the forest owner has the societal responsibility. They are not allowed to do whatever they like to do on their forest. They have to strictly follow the management prescriptions, and the governmental agencies use to provide the technical services to them. But this service are not free, they have to pay for this. Also, they monitor the activities implementing in the forest, they charge large penalty for non obliging the rules and management plan.

Each and every peace of forest land has well registered on data base systems. Anybody can find all the data of any forest. Even which forester had planted which tree could be found. More than 250 years of data are available. Quite interesting !

The largest tree in the world is Sequia deudram gigantica. This tree is still live in the USA and it is around 2700 years old. The tree has 11 meter diameter at breast height and 83 meter tall. Some of its branch have 2 meter diameter. The volume of that single tree is estimated around 1600 cubic meter. We can see the tree of same species planted in Goettingen 25 years ago (see the photo).

In Germany, they have already left the plantation activities. Now they are promoting and solely dependent on natural growth of the forest. Therefore, forest nursery owners are loosing the game.

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