During this year’s autumn festival at Blumberger Mühle, held on Sunday 5 September, BEECH POWER was represented with an information stand, which offered many possibilities for exchange with local people, including foresters of the region and the mayor of Angermünde.
As part of the stage program, Marcus Waldherr, project leader of BEECH POWER presented the background and history of the growing UNESCO World Heritage beech forest network with help of a recently updated map, including the newly added component parts of the transnational serial World Heritage site.
In the afternoon, Dr. Martin Flade, Director of the Schorfheide-Chorin Biosphere Reserve, moderated an exciting public round table discussion titled ‘High-yield pine forests, near natural forest management or wilderness – what is best for us and our forests’.
Subject of the panel discussion
In the context of the droughts and bark beetle outbreaks that impacted German forests on the past years, the German government wants to support forest owners with € 1.5 billion to limit the damage and enable rapid reforestation of the damaged forests. This, in many cases, has resulted in the plantation of conifers.
However, society is increasingly recognising the value of native deciduous forests, and nature conservation associations as well as some foresters are calling for more natural forest management and a reduction in the use of wood in order to make greater use of forests, for example, as a carbon storage. This goes in line with the goal of completely removing 5% of the forests from use and leaving them to natural development set by the German government on its National Biodiversity Strategy.
During the discussion, the following guests from the Biosphere Reserve and its surroundings jointly discussed about how these goals can be achieved and where problems might arise: Franz-Christoph Michel, from the German Forestry Association, representing the view of private forest owners; Dietrich Mehl, head of the upper forester’s office Reiersdorf representing the public forestry sector in north-eastern Brandenburg and Dr. Susanne Winter, Programme Manager Forest at WWF Germany, representing the position of the nature association. Interestingly, Susanne pointed out the importance of protected and sustainably used beech forests for water retention and biodiversity.