Full of surprises – Day 2 of EFUF 2019

Wahner Heide
Foresters at Gut Leidenhausen

Wednesday afternoon we gathered at Wahnerheide to have a hike of 10 km, dressed in hiking shoes as well as suits and accompanied by backpacks and leather bags. It was a funny sight, a herd of delegates following the German foresters.

The foresters gave us a taste of the Wahnerheide area, a nature reserve with around 700 endangered species. We’ve met one of the oldest creatures on Earth, a small toad living in puddles. These puddles therefore can not be destroyed and therefore the roads in the park cannot be altered.

Wahnerheide is a very diverse heather area, consisting of open fields where cattle and donkeys graze, to pre-war forests and an alley consisting of ‘Trees of the Year’, as in Germany once every year a tree is highlighted.

During the day we were in good company. There are not only professionals, but journalists, freelancers, students and people from the policy sector, a pleasant mixture of EFUF attendants.

The excursion wrapped up with a lovely surprise of the foresters, amazed as we realized we were standing in front of the dinner venue. Clive Davies (chair of steering group of EFUF) thanked the organizing committee, and the evening ended with a lovely dinner in the square outside.

A meeting during lunch

Dr Tiny Ningal and Joshua from the EFUF youth delegates.

Dr. Tine Ningal (left)  – University of Dublin, about trees and their capability to sequester carbon emissions (and microparticles):

“Trees are like planes… they need long a time to taxi on the runway. They need 10 to 15 years to grow and be cared for, until they take off, and start returning investments in terms of carbon sequestration.”

As through his research Dr Ningal found out that the trees that are champions at stocking carbon are Linden, Maple and Hornbeam. This has to do with their leaf size, the small hairs on the leaves (that also catch microparticles) and the angle of the leaves. 100% important is that they are well maintained, only a healthy tree is a helpful tree!

Forester explaining the field grazing management of Wahner Heide.

Did you know?

  • Prunus serotina is an invasive species in Germany?
  • Nowadays, children play outside only 50% of the time as their parents did?
  • You can fry and eat the flowers of Robinia pseudoacacia?
  • The bark beetle currently caused wood selling problems?
  • Wahner Heide is a former military zone?
  • There are still undetonated bombs located in the area?
  • Köln/Bonn Airport is paying for the maintenance the reserve?
  • All trees located next to the airport must be pruned in a specific angle for safety reasons?

Photo credits: Annebel Soer

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