14.04.2014

 

Environmental compensation measure FAIR

More than 10,000 trees and bushes for forest conversion


Planting trees (Photo: Gaby Otto for FAIR)

In April employees from a local nursery garden planted more than 10,000 saplings on two partial areas of Totenberge covering a total of 2.4 hectares. This “forest conversion”, which was supervised by Darmstadt Forestry Office, is part of the environmental compensation measures which FAIR – Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research in Europe – is conducting as part of the construction of the particle accelerator. The objective is that of enhancing the ecological value of the existing forest area as a natural habitat.

 

In total 13 different species of tree suited to the location and with a height of between 50 and 150 centimeters have been planted. So as the ensure a multi-storied forest structure, the forest track will be lined by numerous bushes and shrubs such as cranberry bushes, spindle trees, hawthorns and wild briers in the future. Behind these are rare species of tree such as crab apple, wild pear, medlar, and checker trees. In just a few years this mixture of bushes and fruit-bearing trees will enrich the woodland – and not simply because of their spring blossoms. “It will provide protection and food for insects, birds, and many other forest inhabitants,” explains Hartmut Müller, head of Darmstadt Forestry Office.

 

“Minority protection” for rare plants
The area behind this will be populated by native broadleaf trees such as copper beech, Norway maple, sycamore and wild cherry. These trees place major demands in terms of nutrients and water supply. As sufficient nutrients and water are to be found in this area of woodland, the Forestry Office – together with the lower nature conservation authority and the planning office commissioned by FAIR – has decided that these species of tree will be part of the forest stand in the future.  In addition, the planting of 216 Wych elms – an extremely rare variety of tree – serves so-called “minority protection”. This species of tree, which used to be quite common, was heavily decimated in the past by a sac fungi transmitted by the elm bark beetle. As no elms with the carrier are native to the local environment, there is a good possibility that this species of tree will once again colonize the area.

 

Fencing will protect the saplings against damage caused by game animals in the next three to five years. As soon as the bushes and trees have reached a sufficient height, the fencing can be removed.

 

Why forest conversion?
The forest conversion in Totenberge is the result of an expertise from 2001. At that time environmental experts – in coordination with the responsible authorities – laid down in detail which compensation measures were to be implemented and in what manner in the immediate vicinity of FAIR. Accordingly, for the Totenberge area it was foreseen that the pine trees would be replaced with vegetation more typical of the region. The area was prepared for this conversion last year.

 

The forest conversion is a measure intended to establish stands with natural structures and development stages. As a rule this silvicultural measure leads to single-variety, coniferous forest not specific to the site being replaced by native forestation. The mixture of trees, bushes and shrubs planted in the Totenberge area ensures a valuable forest from a nature conservation stance – one which will sustainably fulfil all the forest functions: protection, forestry and recreation.

 

Further information on the environmental compensation for the construction of FAIR




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