Finish

Dry forests and moors in western Germany — #FinishWaterWaste for nature

Angelina Kuhlmann

Dry forests and moors in western Germany — #FinishWaterWaste for nature

Hiking Collection by Finish

5

Tours

23:20 h

52.9 mi

4,325 ft

For many of us, when we are feeling stressed or anxious, we escape to places like the forest to relax. But what if the forests are under stress? Due to climate change, summers are getting warmer. As a result, the water table is falling and young trees and shallow-rooted species in particular can no longer reach that all-important elixir of life: water. Negative effects of this so-called ‘drought stress’ include bare patches of land, dry tree crowns, bark beetle infestation, sooty bark disease and sometimes the death of trees or even whole forests.

The large-scale spruce monocultures in western Germany’s Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia regions, which prefer a wet, alpine climate are particularly hard hit. Today, areas where dead trees leave behind a fallow patch are a common sight. Our forests as we know them, Earth’s green lungs, are changing. But there is still hope to preserve them. The many monocultures — plantations that primarily serve to supply us with wood — are being converted into diverse and species-rich mixed forests.

Unfortunately, it is not only the forests that are under drought stress; Germany’s moors are also threatened by the lack of rainfall. Worryingly, when a bog dries out, something happens that plays into the cards of climate change: the release of long-stored greenhouse gases.

In this Collection, so that you can gain perspective on these serious changes in the landscape, we present five day Tours through threatened areas. From vantage points, ridge trails and boardwalks, you can witness the bare patches in the canopy particularly well and get an overview of the remaining moorland. All Tours can be reached in a climate-friendly way by public transport.

Natural forests give us so much. They reliably filter pollutants from the air, bind large amounts of CO2 in both the soil and the wood, and provide us with valuable oxygen every day. It's time to give something back to them, because every individual 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.

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    Intermediate
    04:00
    8.48 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,250 ft
    1,250 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The Sauerland is also affected by the dying forest: the large-scale spruce monocultures have suffered severely from the drought in recent years, which resulted in bark beetle infestation and storm …

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  • Intermediate
    04:14
    10.3 mi
    2.4 mph
    175 ft
    200 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Not only the increasingly extremely dry summers of the last few years are causing problems for the Hessian reed, the problems started as early as the 1970s: Species-rich wet meadows …

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  • Intermediate
    04:43
    10.4 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,125 ft
    1,150 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    A third of all conifers in the Wiehengebirge have already died. Long, bare aisles and wide holes are spread over the slopes and the ridge of the low mountain range …

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  • Intermediate
    03:54
    9.61 mi
    2.5 mph
    75 ft
    75 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    When moors die, they often do so quietly today. But the ongoing shrinking of the moorland has serious consequences for the climate. Because the peat soil stores CO2 - and …

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  • Difficult
    06:29
    14.1 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,700 ft
    1,700 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Moors are climate heroes: They not only bind CO2 and thus prevent the harmful greenhouse gases from escaping, they also hold an enormous amount of water in their soil and have a cooling effect on the landscape. But when peatlands dry out, they involuntarily become greenhouse gas producers. Many of the moors in Hesse are facing this change - including the Rhön high moor.

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    5
  • Distance
    52.9 mi
  • Duration
    23:20 h
  • Elevation
    4,325 ft
Finish

Dry forests and moors in western Germany — #FinishWaterWaste for nature