Diverse forest with indigenous deciduous trees
We are aiming for a diverse, well-structured forest with many indigenous deciduous trees. Our ultimate aim is an 'oak-beech forest on acid soil' or an 'old oak-birch forest on extremely nutrient-poor sand'. These are European protected communities of very high biodiversity value.
The American oak you can see just past this junction unfortunately does not belong in that vegetation. Deciduous forests in North America are actually the natural habitat of these American oaks. The oaks were imported into our forests at the time because it produces good wood and it is such a beautiful tree. The leaves turn beautiful reds and yellows in the autumn, but these trees are undesirable. Scholars would call them an invasive alien species. These American oaks actually belong in the deciduous forests of North America, but it has been introduced into our forests because it is such a beautiful tree that produces good wood.
The fact that the tree was removed from its original habitat also means that it has no natural enemies. With its excellent germination capacity and a toxic tannin in its leaves, the American oak is able to develop en masse by itself and our native species will have a very difficult time. We don't want that, which why American oak is being controlled in this forest. This is difficult and takes a long time (precisely because of that germination), but it will happen. Just notice how many small American oaks you'll see in the next hundred metres.
Are you doing the 5 km walk? Then continue to junction 67. Proceed to junction 65 if you want to do the 10 km walk.
Winter 2022: 40 hectares of SCK CEN forests are being thinned out
Did you see some ‘marked’ trees along the way? Trees with bright markings? They will be felled and removed this winter. Are we threatening our nature with this? No, on the contrary! Through targeted tree removal, we will allow nature to flourish. We are creating growth space for young trees and especially breathing space for native species. Targeted forest felling will therefore boost our forest.
The tree trunks will be sold, the treetops purposefully left. After all, the dead wood will create new life. This might be mushrooms, beetles or woodpeckers. A plus for biodiversity!
Proceeds from the sale will be fully invested into other initiatives for the Nature Management Plan. The clearance works will begin early next year. During that period, some parts of the forest will not be accessible.
Looking for the walking maps for this nature walk?