Allgäu Forest Restoration

The Bergwald Project was started in Switzerland in 1986 and over the years, 15,000 people have been given the chance to work on forestry conservation projects. Since 1991 the Bergwald Project has planted over 180,000 indigenous trees in the Allgäu region of Germany, with the objective of maintaining the Allgäu Barrier and stabilising the ecosystem to give the forest the greatest ability to withstand global warming

The project aims to plant 6,500 trees, from Mono to Admix stands, to cultivate 5 Hectares of Biotope (habitat) for the rare Wood Grouse, to build 1.2km of mountain trails and to recreate 1 Hectare of upland wetland near Wertach. The work will be carried out by small volunteer groups, each group undertaking a mixture of work which might include planting, maintaining of tree stands, work to block drains and re-establish high level wetlands and trail maintenance and construction. The project weeks are supervised by experienced foresters and the volunteers also get the opportunity to build their knowledge by going on guided excursions with the foresters.

The Update

Taking place during August and September 2008, in Balderschwang, 10 volunteers cultivated 4 ha of badly damaged spruce that was not suited to the site. Stable elements of the trees were retained and promoted, enhancing conditions for the nesting, feeding and mating behaviour of the wood and black grouse. 500 indigenous silver firs were also planted.

In Hinterstein, 15 volunteers built 600m of a new trail in the rehabilitation zone of the forest. The trail is being used to access and manage the forest, introducing new grass, plants and trees incrementally; in turn attracting animal species and increasing biodiversity.

12 volunteers worked in the Höflealpe/Warmatsgsund barrier forest rehabilitation zone, planting 3000 green alder and common maple on very steep terrain to stop snow and land slide, preventing degradation of the slope.

13 of the volunteers were occupied at Ortwanger Berg and in the Heidach barrier forest area. Around 800m of trails were established or maintained, young trees were tended in vulnerable parts of the forest and spruce clusters were cultivated to establish spaces for snow deposits. In total approximately 10 hectares of barrier forest were cultivated and stabilised.