Hainich National Park, Germany

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DougBidlack
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Hainich National Park, Germany

Post by DougBidlack » Sun Jun 06, 2010 1:50 am

ENTS,

my wife Ellen and I were able to visit Germany for a little more than two weeks from the very end of April to mid-May. Our visit was prompted by my Oma (grandma) turning 90 this year in July. Since we could not visit for more than a week in July, we decided to go earlier in the year for a more extended stay. Only ten years earlier we had gone for Oma's 80th birthday party which was held in the Czech Republic. This event had even more significance for me and Ellen because I proposed to her on the morning of Oma's birthday in a lovely beech forest.

This trip was also to be mostly a family trip since we were going with Ellen's dad, Steve. Steve had never before visited Germany. My parents arrived the day before and they picked us up at the airport. So, even though I was hoping to see some nice forests and trees, I was well aware that this would be a family trip first and foremost. Not that I was complaining too badly.

My mom is originally from the city of Bamberg and this is the place where we have always started all our vacations in Germany. Several times we never really went very far from this wonderful city. My Oma still lives in this city and she never learned to drive; she always walked or biked to wherever she needed to go or on infrequent occasions a relative would take her somewhere by car. My Uncle Bernd and Aunt Hilde are recently retired and moved back to the area as well, so Bamberg again became our destination for our first 11 days. For this reason I feel like I need to say something about Bamberg before I start talking about Hainich National Park, trees and forests. I hope this isn't to upsetting to folks.

Bamberg is a city in the northern part of Bavaria. This northern region of Bavaria is known as Franconia and it has only been a part of Bavaria since 1803. The people of this region refer to themselves as Franconians and not Bavarians. Franconia is noted for their regional wine which comes in funny looking bottles and for their sausages and a number of sweet treats, but the area is really noted for their beer. There are close to 300 breweries in Franconia and Bamberg is smack dab in the middle of Franconia. Bamberg, a city of 70,000, has 9 breweries and it is a great base for any beer sampling in Franconia. Perhaps the most famous beer from Bamberg is a Rauchbier (smoke beer) that is a beechwood smoke flavored beer. I believe Bamberg was first considered to be a city by 973 as I remember the 1,000 year celebration in 1973. The most prominent building is the Bamberger Dom (the Bamberg Cathedral).
Bamberger Dom and Bamberg from trail to Altenburg
Bamberger Dom and Bamberg from trail to Altenburg
Bamberger Dom
Bamberger Dom
Michaelsberg church
Michaelsberg church
On the second day of May we were to meet Kouta at Hainich National Park. Hainich National Park was a two hour drive North for us into the state of Thuringia which was once part of the former East Germany. The forest is 13,000 hectares and it is the largest continuous area of deciduous forest in Germany. The National Park is 7,500 hectares but I think that not all of this is forested. So I think we met Kouta at 10 AM at the park and we decided to go on the canopy walkway at first. On the way to the canopy walkway we encountered this nice English Oak.
Steve and English Oak
Steve and English Oak
It measured 18.1' in girth. I did a quick shoot up with the laser to see about how tall the tree was and I believe it was just under 100'. While on the canopy walk we came upon a European Ash that was easy to measure and Kouta wanted to see how I would measure it with my Nikon Prostaff Laser 440 and Suunto clinometer. He also wanted to see how close we would get. I came up with 103.8' but I didn't write down the number that Kouta came up with. I know it was very close. I think Kouta had the Nikon 550?
The European Ash that we measured
The European Ash that we measured
Kouta spent a great deal of time teaching me about the various species of trees that we saw along the canopy walkway.
Canopy walkway 1
Canopy walkway 1
Canopy walkway 2
Canopy walkway 2
According to the website, there are about ten tree species that can be viewed from the canopy walk but I seem to recall a few more. Here are the ones that I remember. I hope that Kouta will correct me on these. I'll give latin names first, then the names that we use in the US, then UK and lastly in German. I hope these are correct.
Acer platanoides = Norway Maple (US and UK), Spitzahorn (Germany) = Pointed Maple
Acer pseudoplatanus = Sycamore Maple (US), Sycamore (UK), Bergahorn (Germany) = Mountain Maple
Carpinus betulus = European Hornbeam (US), Common Hornbeam (UK), Hainbuche (Germany) = I believe this translates literally to Grove or Woodlot or Thicket Beech
Fagus sylvatica = European Beech (US), Common Beech (UK), Buche (Germany) = Beech
Fraxinus excelsior = European Ash (US), Common Ash (UK), Gemeine Esche (Germany) = Common Ash
Prunus avium = Mazzard or Sweet Cherry (US), Wild Cherry (UK), Vogel-Kirsche (Germany) = Bird Cherry
Quercus petraea = Durmast Oak (US), Sessile Oak (UK), Traubeneiche (Germany) = Grape Oak or Grape Cluster Oak ? (I'm not sure)
Quercus robur = English Oak (US and UK), Stieleiche (Germany) = Pedunculate Oak (also known as Common Oak in UK and other countries?)
Sorbus torminalis = Wild Service (UK), Elsbeere (Germany) = Serviceberry (not sure of literal translation of Els)
Tilia cordata = Littleleaf Linden (US), Small-leaved Lime (UK), Winter-Linde (Germany) = Winter Linden
Tilia platyphyllos = Bigleaf Linden (US), Broad-leaved Lime (UK), Sommerlinde (Germany) = Summer Linden
Ulmus glabra = Wych Elm (US and UK), Bergulme (Germany) = Mountain Elm
There was a third maple that we saw at Hainich, but I'm not sure if it was from the canopy walk. It was:
Acer campestre = Field Maple (US and UK), Feldahorn (Germany) = Field Maple
We also saw far down below
Salix caprea = Goat Willow (US and UK), Sal-Weide (Germany) = don't know literal translation of Sal (Weide = Willow)
After the canopy walkway we ate lunch and it began raining. We still decided to take a walk in a 'core area' of the park that would have taller trees.

Once we arrived at the trailhead it started to pour and only Kouta, Ellen and I decided to go for a walk. We became fairly wet but I do think that Kouta made at least one measurement of a Black Poplar (Populus nigra) when the rain was quite light. I don't remember the number that he came up with. This tree was in a fairly flat floodplain area where the forest floor was covered with a species of Allium. We later walked up a good slope and it appeared that the tallest beeches were growing on this steep slope. I know I didn't take any measurements and I almost didn't take any pictures as we were running out of time. I'm not sure if Kouta took any measurements, but I know he did take some pictures too. Here are some of mine.
Most of the forest was dominated by beech
Most of the forest was dominated by beech
Close-up of beech in beech forest along trail
Close-up of beech in beech forest along trail
European/Common Ash in floodplain forest with Allium groundcover
European/Common Ash in floodplain forest with Allium groundcover
Unfortunately we didn't get any good measurements due to the rain and time constraints but I had a very enjoyable experience meeting Kouta and visiting Hainich National Park. For me, meeting other members of ENTS is even more rewarding then measuring trees as I have only met really wonderful people that really care about trees and forests.

I'll be posting at least one more time on this trip to Germany and more likely at least a couple.

Doug

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dbhguru
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Re: Hainich National Park, Germany

Post by dbhguru » Sun Jun 06, 2010 7:04 am

Doug,

Wonderful post. It is helping to pull us from the quagmire of controversial topics. I think it is cool to be able to trace your roots back to wherever and visit relative abroad. My wife's people are from Poland. Her maternal grandmother lived with them in Newark, N.J. and always spoke Polish.

My European roots go back much farther. There was some German blood on my mother's side mixed generously with English and some Dutch. There was a Welshman in the wood pile there somewhere. On my father's side it was the interesting mix of Scotish, Irish, and French. I'm a Heinz 57.

From everything we're learning, the early European forests didn't take a backseat to Eastern U.S.A. forests. Big stuff on both sides of the pond.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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DougBidlack
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Re: Hainich National Park, Germany

Post by DougBidlack » Sun Jun 06, 2010 9:24 am

Bob,

I'm actually only half German. My dad met my mom because he was stationed near Bamberg while he was in the Army. My dad is also a Heinz 57. I know that he is English, French and Cherokee at least and probably a good bit more.

I managed to delete a section of what I had written about Bamberg while I was previewing everything. I'll try and recreate it here. It goes after the two pictures of the Dom but before the picture of the Michaelsberg church.

The Bamberger Dom contains the tombs of Henry II and his wife Cunigunde. Henry II founded the Diocese of Bamberg in 1007 and it was later raised to an Archdiocese in 1817. Henry II became King of Germany in 1002, King of Italy in 1004 and Holy Roman Emperor in 1014. He was canonized in 1147; he was the only German King ever to be canonized. Cunigunde was also canonized in 1200. The tomb of Pope Clement II, the Pope that canonized Henry II, also lies within the Bamberger Dom. It is the only papal tomb outside of Italy or France. Bamberg prospered for several centuries once it became a Diocese and unlike many German cities that were heavily involved in the absolutely brutal 30 years war, Bamberg continued to prosper after this war in the 1600's. The entire old town of Bamberg was chosen as a world UNESCO site due to the rich history of Bamberg as well as the fact that it emerged nearly unscathed from the second world war.

The picture of the Michaelsberg church was taken from the rose garden behind the Neue Residenz. It is another of the more well known locations within Bamberg. The only bad thing about Bamberg becoming a world UNESCO site is that it gets overrun with tourists, especially in summer, now that everyone knows about it. I guess it is a little like a very nice area in the US becoming a National Park.

Doug

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Lee Frelich
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Re: Hainich National Park, Germany

Post by Lee Frelich » Sun Jun 06, 2010 10:16 am

Doug:
Thanks for the story and pictures.

I see this area is only about 300 miles from Poznan Poland. From the perspective the Midwestern U.S. pretty much everything in Europe is right next door. Next time I am in Poznan it should be possible to make a trip there. Since I do not climb trees, the canopy walk might be my only way to see the canopy of a forest.

The tree species you listed are the same ones as in Wielkopolska National Park in Poland, which looks so much like central Minnesota or north central Wisconsin, that you couldn't tell which continent its on from pictures without closeup pictures to identify the species.

Lee

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James Parton
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Re: Hainich National Park, Germany

Post by James Parton » Sun Jun 06, 2010 2:07 pm

Doug,

Wonderful post! Bamburg and the surrounding countryside is beautiful and I am sure it was a treat meeting Kouta. I would love to see those beech forests in full sized pictures. They are beautiful.

My lineage is primarily Irish and Cherokee.

James
James E Parton
Ovate Course Graduate - Druid Student
Bardic Mentor
New Order of Druids

http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145

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edfrank
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Re: Hainich National Park, Germany

Post by edfrank » Sun Jun 06, 2010 2:35 pm

Doug,

An excellent account of a fantastic site. I don't know what else to say.

Ed
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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KoutaR
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Re: Hainich National Park, Germany

Post by KoutaR » Sun Jun 06, 2010 3:08 pm

Doug & others,

It was great to meet you. Perhaps the first intercontinental ENTS meeting!

You are right, the whole park area is not forested.

I did not write down my measurements, because none of them was particularly tall for the species. The tallest trees we measured were about 32 meters tall (Fraxinus excelsior and Quercus robur). The national park information says the tallest tree of the park is a 47 meter F. excelsior. Maybe it is a little bit too much, although there are taller trees in the heart of the core area. The Populus nigra I measured was almost 30 m tall. I have Nikon 550A S.

I did not write down all the species we saw from the canopy walk. I think you got them all. But I wrote down all the species we saw during our whole Hainich visit. I write such lists after my almost every forest hike. (Lists are my bizzarre passion.) Besides the species you listed, we saw following species capable to attain at least small tree size:

Betula pendula
Corylus avellana
Crataegus laevigata
Crataegus monogyna
Sorbus aucuparia
Sambucus nigra


and at the edge of the park following non-natural conifers:

Larix decidua
Picea abies
Pinus sylvestris


The trail near to the edge of the core area was a little disappointment to me, with many apparent human traces. One must really go off-trail further to the core area (although it is actually not allowed), where the forest is taller and more natural although also there some old human traces can be found.

I attach one photo from my previous off-trail hike to the Hainich core area.
Fagus sylvatica forest in Hainich National Park, Germany. The forest floor is covered by Allium ursinum. Some Fraxinus excelsior can also be seen in the photo.
Fagus sylvatica forest in Hainich National Park, Germany. The forest floor is covered by Allium ursinum. Some Fraxinus excelsior can also be seen in the photo.
Kouta

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dbhguru
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Re: Hainich National Park, Germany

Post by dbhguru » Sun Jun 06, 2010 8:17 pm

Kouta and Doug,

Your meeting is just awesomely cool. Yes, it is a first, by golly. It is a meeting of Ents from opposite sides of the Atlantic. Maybe next year Monica and I can add our names to the list. Monica has played in the Czech Republic and two of her three pianos were made in the Czech Republic. She wants to visit there again. Of course we'd want to hook up with you Kouta and Jeroen if at all possible.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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KoutaR
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Re: Hainich National Park, Germany

Post by KoutaR » Mon Jun 07, 2010 4:59 am

dbhguru wrote:Of course we'd want to hook up with you Kouta and Jeroen if at all possible.
Bob, it would be really cool to meet you here!
Kouta

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dbhguru
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Re: Hainich National Park, Germany

Post by dbhguru » Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:17 am

Kouta,

It is a very real possibility for 2011. If Lee Frelich schedules another visit to Europe, hopefully, we could all get together. Monica and I already have a place to stay in the Czech Republic. Dr. Mila Waldman owns an apartment in Prague, I think. Monica has close friends in several Czech communities to include the make of her two fortepianoes. Maybe she could wrangle things to get the rest of you accommodations. Monica might also be able to secure a concert opportunity. As you might imagine, one of her friends is a concert pianist - a Russian lady, I think. By the way, if you Google Paul McNulty, you can read about him as a piano maker. He has been trying to get me to come to the Czech Republic and look at trees.

Many of us have long dreamed of a real connection to Europe and beyond. While in the U.S.A.F, I spent time in Europe to include the Netherlands, England, France, Germany, Denmark, and Italy. I am starting to get a very big itch to return, thanks to you and Jeroen educating us on what may be available as large and/or tall European trees. I had no idea of the possibilities. We forget that forests grow and that post World War II descriptions of European forests no longer apply.

ENTS is incredibly fortunate to have you and Jeroen. You guys are way, way, way cool.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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