BEECH VIRGIN FOREST PROJECT
The Forest Conservation Project in Germany
These forests are characterized by long-lasting stability, disturbances in the form of storms or fire are alien to them. Many highly specialized animal and plant species have adapted to such permanent forests. Most of them depend on particularly old trees; the rare middle spotted woodpecker, for example, can only colonize beech forests from a tree age of 200 years.
Ancient beech forests are the rainforests of Europe, and similar to the tropics, they are in very bad shape. Today, we no longer find any primeval forests in Germany, and the old trees are also becoming increasingly rare:
Beech forests from age 180 only account for 0.16 percent of the land area. And even these small remnant areas continue to be managed, so that usually only one-third of the trees remain in these old-growth forests. Deadwood, present in virgin forests at about 20,000 cubic meters of wood per square kilometer and an important habitat for 3,000 species of insects and fungi, is largely absent in managed forests.
Overall, the already small area continues to decrease, as logging is allowed to continue even in nature reserves.