Natural forest reserve
As a natural forest reserve ( NWR ) greater are forest designated areas in which the extraction of timber and other forestry uses are prohibited. Country-specific different names are used for the reserves: natural forest reserve , natural forest , natural forest cell , natural forest parcel , spellbound forest , total reserve , process protection area .
A natural forest reserve is essentially left to natural development, so that, ideally, structures similar to primeval forests emerge again after a long period of time. In addition to nature conservation, their designation is primarily of scientific interest. An attempt is made to represent all important forest types in reserves.
In connection with the question of natural forest development without human intervention, the forest scientist Herbert Hesmer proposed in 1934 that parts of all forest communities between around five to 20 hectares in size should be separated as so-called "natural forest cells" that are excluded from any economic use and should only serve as research and demonstration objects. However, Hesmer's suggestion was only put into practice after the Second World War due to legal bases. In their modern form they go back to the initiative of the forest scientist Hans Leibundgut (Switzerland) and his pupil Hans Lamprecht (Germany).
The natural forest reserves are looked after at the European Forest Institute (EFI) in Joensuu , Finland and Barcelona , Spain . The network has 25 member states that have signed the EFI Convention and around 130 member organizations in 36 countries. The EFI also maintains a database of natural forest reserves.
In Germany there are a total of 742 natural forest reserves with a total area of 35,545 hectares (as of June 2018). This means that 0.3 percent of the forest in Germany , which covers an area of around 11.4 million hectares, is designated as a natural forest reserve.
In Bavaria , the first ordinance for the preservation and care of trees and forest protection strips along the roads was passed as early as 1773, which was continuously supplemented and improved. On September 9, 1855, a resolution was passed which made it the duty of the forest staff to prevent any damage to or destruction of "natural attractions". On October 8, 1884, all natural attractions of Bavaria were inventoried for the first time, but not published. In 1978, 135 natural forest reserves with a total area of around 5,000 hectares were designated. The state forest law for Bavaria provides that natural or largely natural forest areas can be established as natural forest reserves. They should represent the natural forest communities nationwide and serve the conservation and research of such forests as well as the safeguarding of biological diversity. Today there are 164 natural forest reserves in Bavaria with a total area of 7,514 hectares. Most of them are in the state forest , five reserves are in the communal forest and three are privately owned. The average size of the Bavarian natural forest reserves is 45 hectares. Further useless forest areas are located in the two Bavarian national parks, the Bavarian Forest and Berchtesgaden . The coordination of natural forest reserve research in Bavaria lies with the Bavarian State Institute for Forests and Forestry .
Rotting natural forest cell sign in Saarland, Jägersburger Moor , stake
Meersiepenkopf natural forest cell east of the Wupper in the Burgholz state forest
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Fl. in hectares
Source / status: BMLFUW / BFW, 2015
In Austria there are around 200 natural forest reserves (NWR) with a total area of 8,603 hectares. The natural forest reserve program is financed by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management and scientifically supervised by the Federal Research and Training Center for Forests, Natural Hazards and Landscape . The NWR program, which in the early 1980s comprised around 20 reserves, was intensified at federal level with the signing of the resolutions of the Conference of Forest Ministers in Helsinki in 1993 (MCPFE 1993, Helsinki Process).
It is designed as a contractual nature conservation model and is based on long-term (mostly 20-year) civil law contracts between the federal government and the owners. The forest owner participates voluntarily in the NWR program; he owns the land and the forest. The forest owner refrains from using it, for which he receives a fee. This is made up of a fixed base amount for the administrative expenses and the economic value of the portfolio. If the owner intervenes in the forest, the contract will be terminated and all compensation payments must be repaid. 68 of the natural forest reserves, i.e. about 1 ⁄ 3 , are made up of the Austrian Federal Forests .
The most important criterion for the selection of areas is the representativeness depending on the area of the potential natural forest communities in the individual growth areas . In Austria there are 118 EU forest communities in the 22 growth areas. The aim is to cover all of these forest communities and to achieve a protected area of 10,000 ha, with 0.25% of the 4 million ha of forest overall, relatively little in comparison with Switzerland.
In Switzerland there are 1,073 natural forest reserves, including the Swiss National Park , with a total area of 46,199 hectares, which corresponds to 3 percent of the Swiss forest area (as of 12/2018). The focus is on the Alps. The goal is 5 percent of the forest area and should be achieved in 2030 . The first forest reserves were created in Switzerland from the beginning of the 20th century: Scatlè (1910), Swiss National Park (1914), Aletsch Forest (1933).
Research in the natural forest reserves is carried out jointly by the Federal Research Institute for Forests, Snow and Landscape (WSL) and the ETH Zurich .
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- Overview: Selected literature on natural forest reserves , Federal Research and Training Center for Forests, Natural Hazards and Landscape.