For many of us, when we're feeling stressed or anxious, we escape to places like the forest to unwind. But what if the forests are under stress? Due to climate change, summers are getting hotter and drier. As a result, the water table is dropping and young trees and shallow-rooted species can no longer reach that all-important elixir of life: water. Signs of this so-called ‘drought stress’ include bare patches, dry tree crowns, bark beetle infestation or even the death of trees and entire forests.
In this Collection, we present six day Tours in the north east of Germany. In the east, Brandenburg is an area of forested regions with sandy subsoil that stores rainwater poorly. Coupled with the heat of summer, the soil’s dry tendencies lead to another problem: rampant forest fires. Even the green and lake-rich capital Berlin is not immune to drought and has a decreasing water table of its own.
Meanwhile in the far north east, the people of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania fear for the region’s valuable old beech forests. These are forests that barely withstand the pests that the droughts bring, such as the book borer and bark beetle.
During this Collection, you discover desert-like heath landscapes, explore one of the nation’s rare inland dunes, ascend to the highest mountains in Berlin and witness the ephemeral beauty of the old beech forests and moors in the Müritz. Most of the Tours can be reached by public transport, some only by car.
Our forests as we know them, Earth’s green lungs, are changing. But there is still hope to preserve them. Many monocultures — plantations that primarily serve to supply us with wood — are being converted into diverse and species-rich mixed forests. New species from across the world, such as the Douglas fir and the black walnut, represent rays of hope for our woodland regions.
Near-natural forests give us so much: they filter pollutants from the air, bind large amounts of CO₂ in both the soil and the wood, and provide us with oxygen day after day. It's time to give them something back, because each and every one of us can contribute to the preservation of our forests.
Climate change isn’t the only challenge we face. The extreme extraction of groundwater and the draining of wetlands for residential areas and farmland are making it increasingly difficult for trees to survive. Let's work together to conserve water and preserve our forests! The challenge is great, but it also offers opportunities, as the future could once again become more vibrant, species-rich and colorful.
As in Brandenburg, the trees in Berlin suffer from the sandy soil. Despite the proximity to the Wannsee and the Havel, shallow-rooted species such as pines are increasingly drying up, and oaks and beeches have to expend a lot of energy to get the elixir of life. Dry summers keep the groundwater level falling. More and more giant trees do not survive this.
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