Overview - Forestry in Germany

Forestry in Germany

1. The natural preconditions for forest growth in Germany

After the last Ice Age (some 12,000 years ago) in Germany soil and climatic conditions led to the development of a dense forest cover mainly dominated by beech (see left). This species is very shade tolerant so that it can grow up under an umbrella of other (pioneer) species. Finally it suppresses the other species by overgrowing and shading them on all average soils. Only on very dry, wet, rich or poor soils other species like oak, maple, ash, cherry, poplar, willow, pine or, in the higher mountains spruce and fir have a chance (see below!)
During the last two millenia the original dense forest cover was reduced due to clearings for agriculture to about 30%. The remaining forests were dramatically influenced and regionally destroyed by different users. 

Next page: The historical importance of forests for the rural population

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