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Dry forests in Germany’s Rhineland and Saarland - #FinishWaterWaste for nature

Rebecca Noe

Dry forests in Germany’s Rhineland and Saarland - #FinishWaterWaste for nature

Hiking Collection by Finish

5

Tours

18:32 h

36.5 mi

3,725 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 hotter and drier. As a result, the water table is dropping and young trees and shallow-rooted species can no longer reach that most important elixir of life: water. Signs of this so-called ‘drought stress’ include bare patches, dry tree crowns, bark beetle infestation or even the deaths of trees or entire forests.

Large-scale spruce monocultures, which prefer a wet, alpine climate, are particularly hard hit. In Saarland and the Rhineland, you can discover large areas of forest that have been razed to the ground by pests or storms. 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. New species from across the world, such as the Douglas fir and the black walnut, represent rays of hope for our woodland regions.

Within Germany, Rhineland-Palatinate is one of the regions most affected by climate change. Here, the average annual temperature is rising faster than in other regions. In 2019, new nationwide heat records were measured in Trier and Lingen.

In this Collection, we introduce you to five day Tours in Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate. You can explore the driest forest in Germany, look down from the vineyards of the Rhine Valley to the low water at the Seven Virgins, and wander through moors in Saarland that are so valuable for the climate. Different vantage points offer unique perspectives on the issue at hand. All of the Tours can be accessed by public transport or by car.

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 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
    03:15
    7.88 mi
    2.4 mph
    150 ft
    150 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    2020 was the warmest year in Rhineland-Palatinate since weather records began in 1881. The consequences of the lack of rain and the increasingly hot summer can also be clearly seen …

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  • Intermediate
    03:03
    6.29 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,025 ft
    1,025 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The condition of the Saarland's forests has deteriorated further: More than 40 percent of the trees show significant damage, the reason for this being the drought in recent years. The …

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  • Intermediate
    02:34
    5.02 mi
    1.9 mph
    250 ft
    250 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The Lennebergwald, with its sandy soils and light pine groves, is one of the driest and hottest forests in Germany. Here and in the adjacent nature reserve Mainzer Sand, a …

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  • Intermediate
    04:47
    8.13 mi
    1.7 mph
    1,450 ft
    1,450 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The Rhine is the most important waterway in Germany. This is increasingly threatened by the drought of recent years. When the water is low, large gravel and sand banks appear …

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  • Intermediate
    04:53
    9.15 mi
    1.9 mph
    850 ft
    825 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    When you think of a bog, you quickly think of a dark, ominous, and sometimes even fatal place. In fact, moors are actually the opposite. They are a valuable habitat …

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    5
  • Distance
    36.5 mi
  • Duration
    18:32 h
  • Elevation
    3,725 ft

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Dry forests in Germany’s Rhineland and Saarland - #FinishWaterWaste for nature