Ebracher forest: falling trees are to be stopped

Lisa badum does not have to chain herself to a tree. At least not this winter in the high beech forest near ebrach. Over the weekend, the green member of parliament from the bamberg-forchheim constituency, together with representatives of several environmental associations, threatened to take down the trees if the recently resumed felling did not cease. After the abolition of the protected landscape element in the steigerwald, confirmed by the bavarian and federal administrative courts, the ebrach forestry operation had cut trees again after a four-year break. Depending on one’s perspective, this can be described as a "cautious care decrease" or as a "living wage", as "profit-oriented scandal or as a "living wage describes.

Care or profit?

About 100 beech trees were felled. None of them had a diameter of 80 centimeters or more at breast height, which for the bavarian state forests is the definition of a "thick" tree the tree was cut. As badum and greenpeace point out, however, there were some 60-centimeter-thick books involved, some of which were over 150 years old. According to jan-paul schmidt, spokesman for the bavarian state forestry agency, these were "very restrained maintenance removals, in which the demand of the oaks was clearly recognizable". This has also been tested by the ministry of forestry. Although schmidt admits that the wood from the felled beech trees was also sold. But it was also deliberately a lot of "crown material" and important deadwood for the numerous animal and plant species in the ebrach forest has remained.

"60 euros per meter of beech is worth it to the bavarian state forests to destroy bavaria’s most important natural treasure", lisa badum, on the other hand. "The felling is not a maintenance measure, it is a profit-oriented scandal." volker oppermann of greenpeace bavaria is a little more subtle: "it may be that one or the other oak has been cared for", he says, but adds: "a lot can be done under this pretext. The oak hardly needs a challenge. And the use of oak trees is valuable."

Economic consequences

The wood is used, for example, by the reitz sawmill in wonfurt, which employs 20 people. "I purchase more than half of the wood from the forest enterprises ebrach", says managing director philip reitz. "If nothing comes of it, I can close down." reitz is tired of the subject: for years, he has been speaking at panel discussions and other events with all the parties involved. He considers the concept of forestry operations to be sustainable. "And there were also court decisions, why can’t you accept that? This is threatening the existence of the company!"

State forestry spokesman schmidt also says that the current concept for the steigerwald had already been presented in the summer and had also been buried by the environmental associations at that time. During the felling operations, only about 20 percent of the trees were felled, as was possible.

Nevertheless, the state forestry announced a stop to the felling for the winter of 2018/19. And the concept is also to be worked on again: "the executive board of the bavarian state forests has asked the ebrach forestry operation to submit a concept – including a protection plan – for future removals in this forest area as well", the authority informs on inquiry. It will then be presented to the interested associations and the public. It is not yet clear exactly when this will happen.

The high beech forest in the ebracher forst is a flat area of about 800 hectares, in which many biotope and methusalembaume still stand, among them, according to bund naturschutz, about 7600 old beech trees. Biotope trees provide a good habitat for numerous species, methusalemb trees have a diameter of 80 centimeters or more. The state forestry has imposed on itself not to cut such trees. So they have not been affected by the recent cases either. But the fall of young trees also takes away the chance that they will one day become methusalems, says grunen deputy badum.

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