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.
Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.
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.