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As you might know, in just under two weeks I will be planting in the region of the Harz, Germany together with the Bergwaldprojekt e.V. the trees I have run in and those you donated. Some of you asked me why I chose the Bergwaldprojekt e.V. and what they actually do? Therefore, I would like to give you a better picture of the Bergwaldprojekt e.V.´s sensible work by this blog article.

Tree up! The Bergwaldprojekt´s Tree Planting Camp for the 30th anniversary in the region of the Harz

The climate crisis becomes more and more evident. 300,000 hectares of forest have died in Germany as a result of the last three years of drought. The causes for this crisis are anthropogenic (man-made). Spruce and pine monocultures, which make up for more than half of Germany’s forests, are most at risk. For 30 years the Bergwaldprojekt e.V. has been engaged in the conversion from unstable coniferous forests to more climate resistant mixed forests. Every year thousands of volunteers plant and protect native tree species in order to conserve and restore the indispensable protective functions of our forest ecosystems for drinking water, clean air, climate, biodiversity, etc.

Local Situation

The Wurmberg is with 971m the highest mountain of the Harz in Lower Saxony. Since 1992 the Bergwaldprojekt e.V. has been working in Braunlage (Lower Saxony Forestry Office Bad Lauterberg) on ecological forest restoration and the renaturation of water streams. At the time around 85 % of the forest were spruce trees – a direct result of the mining industry which highly influenced the area since 1515. Wood was the most important building and commercial material – charcoal, firewood, and construction wood; over time the primeval forests were transformed into a cultural landscape.

Originally the Harz included mixed forests of beech and sycamore, which covered the area up to 700 meters of altitude. Natural mountain spruce forest only appeared at higher altitudes. Today at 400 m of altitude spruce is the dominant tree species. Due to the excessive use of wood, the area was reforested with the fast-growing “lowland spruce”.

The advancing climate crisis and especially the previous three hot summers led to significant drought damage, storms and bark beetle calamities caused the dying of over 1,500 hectares of forest in the area of the forestry office Bad Lauterberg – of which over 100 hectares are within the Wurmberg area. The infested trees damaged by the European spruce bark beetles were removed and large open spaces emerged. Some of these spaces are of climate hostile nature to the forest and may cause radiation frost, increasing weed growth, decreasing nutrient contents in the soil and further drought. To promote natural forest development on those devastated spruce areas, the Bergwaldprojek e.V. organised for their 30th anniversary a tree planting camp from October 11 to 24, 2020 and many volunteers including the Tree-Athlete will plant over 19,500 native trees at the Wurmberg.

The open areas are reforested with native forest tree species such as black alder, gray alder and silver birch. Sycamore maple is planted in smaller open spaces. In the still existing shaded areas silver firs are planted to provide stability to the ecosystem in the future. These measures help to create a cool forest-friendly climate and to conserve vital humus in the soil. The roots of alder trees stabilise and improve the soil through genus Actinobacteria class. To assure the healthy growths of the main tree species and protect them from browsing, parts of the area are fenced by volunteers.

In cooperation with the Bad Lauterberg Forestry Office, the tree planting camp is a valuable contribution to the conservation of the forest ecosystem and to the reforestation of mixed, stable forests with high biodiversity.

Let´s do it together!

The previous three years have shown what impact the climate crisis is having globally on the environment, the animals and us people – it is overdue to do something about it! The Tree Planting Camp in the Harz is also meant as a response to the daily dramatic news and images which often trigger a feeling of resignation. The numerous volunteers of the Bergwaldprojekt e.V. collectively take on their responsibility by taking action and contribute to conserve and stabilise the forest ecosystem at the Wurmberg that is essential for the livelihood of the people and animals in the area. The voluntary engagement from all those people mirrors the trend that more and more people are aware that we cannot continue as usual and us people have to make the change.

Tree Planting Dates:

• 108D2020 week in Braunlage from 11th to 17th October 2020

• 109D2020 week in Braunlage from October 18th to 24th, 2020

Registration / waiting list at: www.bergwaldprojekt.de/projekt/1416/Braunlage/149.

In addition, individual planting days (Neihaufeschte) also take place for families on the following days: October 17 and 18, 2020.

Please register for the planting days via info@bergwaldprojekt.de or by phone at 0931 – 452 62 61. The voluntary participation in all appointments is completely free; the accommodation for a week, one or the two-day days and the catering for all planting activities is generously covered by the Bergwaldprojekt e.V.

Bergwaldprojekt e.V.

The Bergwaldprojekt e.V., based in Würzburg, Germany organises annual Tree Planting Camps across country with approx. 3,000 volunteers and over 100 planting weeks at different locations. The purpose of the camps is to conserve and restore the diverse functions of the forest ecosystems and to inform the participants about the importance and current state of natural forest habitats and to promote environmentally friendly management of the forest resources by the public and private sector. The Bergwaldprojekt e.V. is largely financed by donations. For more information please visit: www.bergwaldprojekt.de.

If you would like to support the important and sensible work of the Bergwaldprojekt e.V., you can donate some Tree-Athlete trees on this website. All donations will be transferred to the Bergwaldprojekt e.V. and they cover all administrative costs. This means that 100 % of your donation go to planting the number of trees you selected.

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