Spruces in the Harz.

Large Spruce Forests are a typical sight here in the Harz. But a lot of them are dying due to the Buchdrucker Beetle, a form of Bark Beetle common in large Spruce Populations.

A lack of Rain and the very hot Summers we had these past few years due to that Beast called Climate Change made theTrees even more susceptible to the Bug.

Spruce Trees in the Harz.

But why do we have those massive monoculture Spruce Forests? That answer lies way back in the History of the Oberharz and its rich Ore Deposits.

Those Ore Deposits lead to the Area being massively used for Mining, mostly for Lead, Copper and also Silver.

Those Mines needed massive Amounts of Wood for Buildings, Machinery and Infrastructure. But most of the Wood was used to shore up all the Mineshafts in the Area.

More Spruce.

In Fact, the Need for Wood was so great, natural Growth was inadequate early one. A Solution was needed quickly.

And that Solution came in the Form of the Spruce Tree, or as it is called in Germany, the Fichte. Mixed Forests take a long Time to grow, and not all of the Wood is actually useful for Building.

The Spruce however grows relatively quickly and has a great amount of Strength. It is also flexible enough to not immediately break under Load, what is an important Factor in Mining Safety.

Also in the Harz.

After the Mining Industry shifted to Steel and Concrete Constructions in their Mineshafts and later closed down entirely, Spruce Wood still had a huge economic Value, and so no major Changes took place.

Spruce Monocultures were, and still are, a big thing in the Harz. Saying that Forests here are natural and left to themselves would be a huge lie. Economic Forces dictate what happens outside of the National Park and other protect Area.

A Spruce Forest.

But since the Spruce has proved to be highly affected by the Buchdrucker and also Climate Change, new Trees are being introduced in the worst affected Areas and Areas where Storms destroyed much of the Forests.

Trees planted include the Douglas Fir, but also various Maple Trees, Birches, Alder Trees and Lime Trees. After All a diverse Forest that can protect itself also protects Economic Interests in the Region.

My Brother, who is studying Forestry at University, also helped to plant a lot of Trees in the Harz. I am incredibly proud of him for doing so.

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