The Toerring Forest Story in Seefeld, Germany
Writing and Photos by Talking Forests
On a partly cloudy German morning, Talking Forests pulls up to a forestry office near the Seefeld Castle.
How did we get this opportunity? Tom Hanson, the District 1 board member representative of Society of American Foresters invited us to go on this tour. Tom serves Alaska, Inland Empire, and Washington State. His friend Armin is from Germany, but they own land in Washington State. Tom said "The family owns 5,800 acres in Whatcom County. I have managed that forest since 1980."
Tom's friend Armin manages the Toerring forests in Seefeld, Germany. Armin and also joined by Count Cajetan gave Talking Forests a tour of the land and the story behind growing, harvesting, and salvaging different types of trees on their property.
The first stop was a Douglas-fir regeneration unit where they planted 2,000 2-year old bareroot plugs per hectare to hopefully have a survival rate of which offers a sustainable return in the future. We examined a few trees and checked for browsing, insects, and antler rubbing. These are all things that can affect the growth rate of seedlings.
We then visited a out building made of mostly wood where they bring a portable mill to mill salvaged trees from the property. Armin showed us the lumber he recently produced out of an older Douglas-fir tree that fell on the property and the grain size and quality was on point. He also pointed out a fenced in Red Oak hardwood plantation that was trying to grow without getting browsed by deer. This may have been the first time we have seen Red Oak seedlings.
The well-maintained gravel road in this forested area was favorable as it was a smoother ride than what we are used to with potholes and erosion on the back roads in the states. We stopped at a sight that was not so favorable. A Spruce tree stand that was devastated by the Spruce beetle. Armin got his saw out to show us some damage done to the bark and cambium layer of the tree. He said he would have a crew out to cut some damaged Spruce trees here in a few weeks to salvage those trees.
We stopped by a unit of trees that had a good growth rate, evenly spaced and were pruned for optimal growth with very little understory. This is the tree farm model that we are used to seeing in the states. After rounding the bend in the road, we come to a hillside view of the Wörthsee and Pilsensee Lake. The trees here have been susceptible to wind and deer antler rubbing, but some persist.
My favorite part of the tour was when Armin and Cajetan showed us the 39-meter-tall 100-year-old Douglas-fir plantation and which has a Darrington, WA genetic strand in them. We learned that they would like to plant Douglas-fir now and hopefully harvest it in a 50-year rotation much like the West Coast of the USA achieves. The Spruce beetle is devastating and they are going to use Douglas-fir as an alternative, but they have to create genetics of German descent for it to work. The salvaged Douglas-fir tree we mentioned earlier was from this amazing resistant stand of trees!
The Spruce beetle is devastating and they are going to use Douglas-fir as an alternative, but they have to create genetics of German descent for it to work. The salvaged Douglas-fir tree we mentioned earlier was from this amazing resistant stand of trees!
For more information about the Toerring Forest click here!