Age and Inventory Structure of the Forests 2005


Age-class forest (clear-cut-managed timber forest): The management mode dominant in Central Europe, with age classes, and with use and rejuvenation by spatially separate stands. It is characterized by the distinction of areas by age-class (young growth, thicket growth, pole woods, timber woods, old woods), and clear breaks due to area-based rejuvenation management. Because of the different biotopic qualities of the individual age groups in an age-group forest, plants and animals find favorable conditions of life only in that age-group phase which meets their respective needs. Because of the age identity prevailing within these age groups, pests enjoy optimal living conditions, which makes such forests susceptible to them. Its opposite is the → Sustainable forest.

Appropriate forestry: The term “appropriate forestry” describes the criteria of minimum requirements for multifunctional forestry arising from the sum of all societal claims on the forest. This means, in addition to conservationist requirements, requirements to ensure recreation functions, resource-economic requirements, or requirements for forest protection etc..
(Institute for Forestry Policy of the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg; Research contract for the Federal Conservation Agency).

Black cherry (Prunus serotina) : Tree species native to North America. First introduced to Germany in 1685 as a decorative tree in the gardens and parks, it arrived in Berlin/ Brandenburg only in the latter half of the 18th century. From 1900 to approx. 1950, it was also planted in a planned manner for site improvement. Since 1986, it has been removed from stands of trees in Berlin for ecological and forest-structural reasons, to permit the indigenous forest to develop.

Certification: An attempt to create an ecologically-oriented labeling system for sustainable forestry management and the wood products derived from it, which will be accepted by consumers. It is based on the UNCED Conference in Rio de Janeiro (1992) and the subsequent conferences. The participating countries have affirmed the goal of establishing uniform criteria and indicators for the sustainable management of the forests. The “General Guidelines for the Sustainable Management of Forests in Europe” was adopted in Helsinki in 1993 by all the Western European industrial nations, and the “General Guidelines for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Forests in Europe” followed in Lisbon in 1998. Sustainability, from the point of view of wood production, of forest biodiversity, and of forest utilization for economic and social purposes, was observed. In Germany, there were four approaches toward a certification system in 1996:

  1. The worldwide standardization institution ISO, with its standards ISO 9000 and ISO 14000.
  2. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) in Mexico establishes minimum standards which must already be fulfilled at the time of issue.
  3. Based on experiences in the Lübeck city forest, Greenpeace in 1995 worked out a draft including a list of banned measures.
  4. The German conservationist organization NABU introduced the Eco-Timber quality seal in 1996.

The most important international initiatives are:

  • The Rainforest Alliance
  • The Scientific Certification Systems
  • The Soil Association
  • Lembaga Ecolabelling
  • The Tropical Forest Initiative, and
  • The Forest Stewardship Council

Deadwood: Standing or fallen trees or parts of trees which have died. Deadwood occurs in over-mature natural forests, but is also caused by disease (e.g. attacks by insects or fungi), wind and snow breakage, and by fire. Decomposing wood provides a habitat for mushrooms, including many endangered large mushrooms, beetles, (wood is the basic habitat for more than half of all species), wood wasps, wild bees, ants, and many other species of animal. Deadwood contributes decisively to the preservation of species diversity in a forest.

Degree of cover, degree of shading: Expression for the degree of covering of the forest soil by the crowns of all stock elements of a stand.

Forest Ascertainment: A recording of the condition of the forest and a check of the success of measures carried out periodically (every ten years). The medium-term operational planning the next ascertainment period is carried out in the context of this process.

Forest Biotope Mapping: Mapping of biotopes, such as stands with rare indigenous animal and plant species, associations, former sheep-walks, residual natural forest stands, unusual natural features and natural monuments, and also swamp, ravine, bogside and dry woods, and succession areas. The goal of forest biotope mapping is the natural-area-related recording and assessment of ecological condition and the conservation assets of biotopes in woodlands, in order to create the basis for coordination between the ecological conditions of the forests and the various goals of sustainable forestry. Two types of the forest biotope mapping can be distinguished: (1) full-scale mapping; and (2) selective mapping.

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC): This was set up in as a result of the Environmental Summit in Rio. The FSC is a non-profit NGO which supports the ecological and socially responsible use of the forests. The organization is supported worldwide by environmental organizations, labor unions, representative of indigenous peoples, and numerous companies from the timber and wood industries. Its goal is to contribute towards improving forest management worldwide. It drafts standards and develops mechanisms for marketing appropriately produced wood products. The most important feature of the FSC is that it works out a balance between the claims upon the forest of environmental, social and economic interests. Minimum ecological standards are defined which guarantee that in the long run, the basic ecological functions of the forest ecosystem can be ensured; see also → Naturland

Forms of forest structure: The structure of the forest takes different forms, depending on the type of management. Coppice forests are of the same age, single-layered and mixed. The coppice-with-standards forests are uneven-aged, multi-layered and mixed singly or in groups. The clear-cut-managed timber forest is even or uneven-aged, single or multi-layered and structured in stages, either monocultural or mixed singly or in groups. The selection forest is uneven-aged, multi-layered and structured in stages, and mixed singly or in groups.

Future-crop-tree, Selection tree: An individually selected tree, with good growth which promises a good mass and value performance in terms of growth, stability, appearance and health, i.e. which largely meets the goals set by forest management. A future-crop-tree can be supported by the removal of competing trees which restrict its growth

Kyoto Protocol: An international climate protection agreement of the UN organization UNFCCC. It establishes mandatory goals for the reduction of the emission of greenhouse gases. The protocol was adopted in Kyoto in 1997. It is to go into effect only when fifty-five countries accounting for more than 55 % of carbon dioxide emissions (as of 1990) have ratified it. Germany ratified the Protocol on April 26th 2003; all other EU countries on May 31st 2003. Presently (as of September 5th 2003), the number of countries which have ratified the protocol is 117, which comes to a little more than 44 % of emissions. If Russia, which was responsible for 17.4% of emissions in 1990, should complete the ratification process, the threshold of 55% would be surpassed, and the Kyoto Protocol would go into effect. The USA and Australia are the most important industrial nations which have not ratified the Kyoto Protocol.

Melioration: Soil melioration is the general term for soil improvement measures. In the area of the former sewage farms, this is done by working marly clay into the soil for pH-value stabilization and to bind heavy metals.

Natural forest associations: When left free of anthropogenic influence, various forest sites have given rise to various forest associations of species, i.e. forest typologies are adapted to the specific climatic and soil conditions. Due to their very similar combinations of characteristic species, these various forest associations are defined. Under certain local conditions, only one certain combination of plant associations can establish itself and take hold. In the Berlin, oak-hornbeam, acidic-soil oak, oak-pine, and warm-site pine forests predominate.

Naturally appropriate forest management: As an alternative to clear-cut management, naturally appropriate forest management calls for maintaining a natural forest consisting of a mixture of site-appropriate species for the best possible usage and simultaneous care of the site. Major elements include: permanent stocking with mixed deciduous and coniferous site-appropriate trees, and wood production with high added value and reduced labor intensity. The goal of stability and full permanent utilization of production capacities, while maintaining the internal climate of the forest, has priority. These goals are to serve the modification of stand-based management toward a more uneven-aged and staged forest structure, and a utilization policy of the entire area oriented toward the value development of the individual tree, elimination of clear-cutting, and a shift from the time sequence of harvest and planting toward a simultaneity. Rejuvenation is shifted to the shelter of the old trees; the concept of a mixed deciduous and coniferous woodland is pursued; and the continuity of forest care is ensured by a more frequent schedule of care intervention. Under naturally appropriate forest management, the forest ensures the protection of its own site, its flora and fauna exhibits a large number of species, and it is thus altogether more resistant to damage. Small-scale diversity and an uneven-age structure make individual-tree utilization, care, and rejuvenation possible at the same time. Naturally appropriate forest management ensures a continuity of the ecosystem of the forest, including the circulation of substances in a very small area. The functions of the forest are sustainably provided, and natural rejuvenation and the preservation of the forest gene resources ensured. The Association for Natural Forest Management (ANW) has for 50 years been working nationwide for a stable and healthy forest woods. Pro Silva has been founded as a Europe-wide association.

Naturland: In 1996, the association Naturland, together with large conservation organizations such as Greenpeace, BUND and Robin Wood, developed guidelines for ecological forest use. Several German cities, such as the Lübeck, Göttingen and Hanover, decided to accept the supplementary requirements of the Naturland certificate for their city forests, in addition to the stringent → FSC guidelines . The state of Berlin has also committed itself to compliance with these guidelines.
Activities incompatible with ecological forest use include in particular:

  • Clear-cutting
  • Planting of monocultures
  • Introduction of non-indigenous or genetically modified tree species
  • Use of poisons, mineral fertilizers, liquid manure, sewage
  • Plowing or compacting of the soil
  • Large-scale clearing, or burning of biomass
  • Drainage of wetlands
  • Disturbing operations during ecologically sensitive seasons
  • Feeding of wild animals.

Moreover, the so-called reference areas, where forest use is terminated and the forest is left to its natural development, are an essential component of certification. Conclusions for the most appropriate manner of management in the rest of the forest can in turn be drawn from this.

In the Berlin forests, the stated stipulations have for the most part been carried out for many years.

Neophytes: Purposely or accidentally introduced plants from remote areas or other continents which are not part of the natural species composition. Neophytes such as the → black cherry (Prunus serotina) (q.v.) or the snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus) can crowd out native plants. In Brandenburg, the locust tree is a particular problem. It invades low-nutrient meadows and changes their habitat populations by shading and nitrogen enrichment.

Old woods: Usually old woodland, in which the trees have achieved the target size, and can be used.

Permanent Forest Contract (Dauerwaldvertrag): A sales contract concluded in 1915 between the Association of Municipalities of Greater Berlin and the State of Prussia, concerning the former domain forests in the immediate surroundings of Berlin. In 1920, the Association was transformed into the united municipality of Greater Berlin. Berlin thus obtained possession of extensive forest lands. The term “Dauerwald” in the German name of the contract did not refer to the naturally-appropriate management form supported by Möller (1922), which used the same German term, and which is referred to in English as the “Sustainable Forest” concept (q.v.). Rather, it referred to the permanent contractual obligation upon the Association, or upon the city of Berlin as its successor, not to sell the forest land for construction purposes; hence the different terminology in English.

Provenances: An autochthonous or non-autochthonous population of trees which grow at a certain fenced off place and have certain characteristic and genetically established qualities. The provenance is assigned the name of that place, e.g. West German Hill Country and Upper Rhine Trench.

Reference areas: Reference areas which are not economically used are certified for recurring comparison with utilized areas; they are to represent the most important stand types of the forest. The goal is to preserve local and site-specific information about the natural forest development and for ecological forest utilization.

Rejuvenation: Creation of a new forest stock by natural or artificial rejuvenation. In nature rejuvenation, the stock itself ensures seeding in the vicinity of mother trees, or by vegetative reproduction. This saves work and expense. In artificial rejuvenation, the desired species of trees are raised by seeding or plantation in a certain area.

Reparations lumbering: After both World Wars, the Allies engaged in lumbering in the German forests, particularly in the state-owned forests, to collect reparations payments. The principles of sustainability were not taken into account. After 1945, this obvious overexploitation, together with lumbering by the United Nations Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Administration carried out to provide firewood and other necessities for the over one million displaced persons and other needy groups of people in Germany, led to citizens’ protests and finally to the foundation of the German Forest Protection Association.

Sheep-walks: From the Middle Ages until early modern times, forests containing broad old oaks and beeches with large crowns, and a groundcover of grass, heather or blueberries. Among other things, the sheep-walks served for forest pasturing and pannage. The owners of the forest had to permit holders of sheep-walk rights to pasture their animals. However, intensive forest pasturing robbed the forest pastures of their natural regenerability, so that no natural rejuvenation could occur. Thus, these forests became increasingly impoverished. They still occupied a considerable area in the 18th century.

Site Mapping: Method by which all natural and ecological conditions important to forest growth are recorded as a basis for site-appropriate, effective forestry management. It forms the basis for a description and cartographic representation of site types or site units. These are basic forest-ecological units with roughly the same forest-structural possibilities and risks, and with roughly similar yield capacities. Site mapping primarily serves as a basis for selection of tree species and the determination of stand structure.

Sustainable forest: A forest structure in which a coherent stand is permanently maintained despite forest use. Gaps in the high growth caused by cutting of single trees are immediately closed again by growth of medium and lower growth (selection forestry management). In Brandenburg, the concept of the sustainable forest (Dauerwald) attained great importance for the first time during the twenties, when A. Möller (1922) argued in favor of naturally appropriate selection forestry, in reaction to the management system based on clear-cutting of pine. The sustainable forest concept was implemented at that time in the Fläming district of Bärenthoren.

Target-size utilization: Minimum diameter at which utilization of different tree species may begin in near-natural management. In Berlin, this regulation has replaced the rotation age system, which applied there until 1992.

1. Vetting: Forestry care measure in young woods to reduce the number of trees, regulate the competitive situation, and achieve a mixture of tree species. No marketable wood is yet obtained.

Wood production: This important branch of production since ancient times now uses approx. 31 million sq.m.of wood (rough timber) annually (down from 39.3 million sq.m. in 1995) in Germany, whereas the growth is several million higher. The German woods provide a sustainably utilizable potential of approx. 57 million sq.m. per year.