A Model Forest in Germany?

Dr. Carsten Schroeder, Forest Manager of the Bramwald Forest District, Lower Saxony,  Germany, visited both the IMFNS and the Eastern Ontario Model Forest this past May to understand clearly what a Model Forest is and how it can tackle some of the challenges of sustainable forest management (SFM). 

The situation in Germany is, in some respects, worlds away from Canada's experience: the Bramwald forest district contains 10,000 ha of hardwood (mostly beech) forest that includes a community forest that is more than 620 years old. The original 1,000 ha site, a gift from King Otto to the community, was given with the mandate that it manage the area as a community. For the past 450 years, the area's forests have been managed for sustained-yield beech-wood production. 

In other respects, however, the forest management situation has much in common with Model Forests in Canada and elsewhere. There are multiple levels of management without adequate integration or collaboration; multiple owners of land with no overall strategy to manage sustainably for a broad range of forest values; declining rural populations; and an inability to make forestry profitable. The net results are lost opportunities and continued risk to the resource base.

  Bramwald Forest District in Lower Saxony, Germany

No decision has been made to create a Model Forest in the Bramwald forest district; however, the IMFN and German stakeholders have agreed to begin investigating how the Model Forest approach might be applied to help build new partnerships, and invigorate debate on management options for the region. It is hoped that one of the more immediate benefits of this investigation will be the identification of some working links between established Model Forests in the international Network and the Bramwald area project supporters.