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A rural forest

As forestry ( listen ? / I ) are currently managed forests designated. The conceptual division between forest and forest is fluid, only the demarcation from the primeval forest is clear . This means that today's delimitation is the opposite of the original. Audio file / audio sample

In earlier usage , forests were royal forest or Bannforst (Bannwald), later it was understood to mean forests with hunting rights , fishing and timber rights for specially authorized persons.

Word origin

In Old High German , the word Bannwald stood for today's term forest , in Middle Latin forestis .

In addition to forestis , other derivations and derivations from forest are conceivable:

  • also from the Germanic first (cf. first tree for the delimitation of the house entrance and enclosure), possible reference to specially protected forests
  • from the Germanic forha and forhaha , cf. Föhre and Föhrenwald, whereby the latter term is said to have also been used for deciduous forests
  • from the Celtic dvoresta (= outside)
  • from the Latin foris (= outside).

Compare the English forest and the French forêt , which today also mean forest or forest . In representations of English history it is emphasized that "forest" in the Middle Ages meant something like wilderness and did not necessarily have to be densely forested. The letter l in the Spanish and Portuguese word floresta is considered a wrong insertion from the humanism of the Renaissance period , when the word was to be traced back to the root word flor- ("to bloom").

Change of concept from the Middle Ages to modern times

The meaning of the term “forest” has changed several times in the past. The first documented sources with the term "forestis nostra" come from Frankish kings from the 7th century. At that time, this term was used to describe land that was abandoned and previously unused. Later the term was used at times to differentiate between large forest areas and smaller ones, which were simply called "forest". At other times, the terms were reversed or used synonymously.

In an Old High German dictionary the terms forestensis ("forest"), forestarius (" forest guardian / forester "), forestagium ("forest levy") and forstari ("forest manager") were found.

During the early Middle Ages, the forest had a general right of use , i. H. everyone could obtain firewood and construction wood , graze the farm animals in the forest and hunt wild animals . Areas where the landlord (king, etc.) prohibited certain uses were "forested", that is, "fenced in" in the figurative sense. The earliest restrictions on use related to hunting, and the so-called wild bans were imposed on such areas . When the demand for wood increased rapidly in the heyday of the High Middle Ages (population increase, urban growth, earliest industrial structures), the forest and its products quickly became an economic asset. In the competition for the raw material timber , therefore, the forest areas were in a broad sense of the timber highness subjected d. H. the landlord now exercised all rights to the forest himself. For this purpose, the first administrative structures in the sense of a forest management were created .

This inevitably resulted in considerable restrictions for the general public to use the forest. The scope and extent of the permitted use has been in so-called forest regulations set out in detail, by appropriate use rights, the basic needs of the population should be ensured with the products of the forest. Most of the time it was precisely defined who was allowed to cut how much firewood and construction timber and where pets could graze in the forest (such as the so-called " Eckerich "). Although the state forest administrations as legal successors of the camera masters were able to replace many of the easements with cash payments in the 20th century, some of the old rights still exist today. As an alternative to rights of use, the population was given separate forest areas for self-management (" Hauberge "), which were mostly parceled out around the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries and transferred to private ownership, but in individual cases were retained as joint property ("real cooperatives").

Today's term

While the terms “forest” and “forest” are colloquially used synonymously, there is a conceptual differentiation , especially in vegetation science: Forests are forest communities whose composition of tree species largely corresponds to the regional potential natural vegetation and insofar a near-natural stocking ( afforestation ), for example Buchenwald societies in the Swabian Alb . Near-natural and nature-friendly conditions also result from the fact that such forest stands are usually founded on the basis of existing forest coverings by means of natural regeneration and therefore usually have a pronounced structural wealth over a small area. In contrast, forests are used when non-native tree species, often conifers , in pure stands and artificially created by planting, represent forest coverings that are remote from nature (monotonous "wood fields", but montane, high-montane, subalpine and alpine forest communities naturally contain considerable proportions of Conifers such as firs , spruces , larches ).

See also


  • Clemens Dasler: Forest and Wildbann in the early German Empire. The royal privileges for the imperial church from the 10th to the 12th century. Cologne, Wiemar, Vienna 2001
  • M. Endres: The derivation of the word "forest". In: Forstwissenschaftliches Centralblatt. March 1917, pp. 90-101.
  • W. Kaspars: Forestis, Forst. History of a name and concept. In: Scientific journal of the Karl Marx University Leipzig. 1957/58, p. 87.
  • W. Kaspars: On the history of the term and word forest. In: Forest Archive. 1959/130.

Web links

Wiktionary: Forst  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. The new Brockhaus. Volume 2, Wiesbaden 1958, Lemma Forst .
  2. P. Guiraud: Histoire et structure du lexique français. Vol. I: Dictionaire des étymologies obscures. Reference from: Kluge: Etymological dictionary of the German language.