How can I describe natural landscapes
Leave nature to its own devices
Succession is the process that occurs when landscapes are left to their own devices. The land in our latitudes has the property to be managed. The succession process is always the same, even if the type of plants involved can vary.
Mosses and lichens first settle on a disused field, followed by grasses and herbs. Gradually, higher and higher plants follow until finally a forest emerges. And with the plants, the animal world is returning step by step.
Our primeval landscape
2000 years ago, almost all of Europe was a primeval forest. With the beginning of our era, people continued to expand. They cleared forests in order to settle on the reclaimed land and to practice agriculture.
The original German forest consisted mainly of deciduous trees. Their wood was used as a building material and became a sought-after source of energy with the beginning of industrialization.
Finally, in the 19th century, the forests were so deeply plundered that humans had to rebuild forests. Fast-growing softwoods such as pine and spruce, which still characterize our forests today, were preferred.
Last primeval forests in Europe
In Germany there are only a few forests that deserve the name primeval forest. Parts of the Bavarian Forest National Park on the border with the Czech Republic and some forest areas in the gorges of Saxon Switzerland are part of it. Here people have consciously withdrawn for decades. The forest is left to its own devices.
The last real primeval forest in Europe is in Poland on the border with Belarus. "Puszcza Bialowieza" is the name of this area. Tourists are only allowed to enter certain areas and only when accompanied by an official guide. The Bialowieza Forest has never been changed by humans. It looks correspondingly wild.
In addition, it offers a habitat for numerous animal and plant species that are otherwise rarely found in Europe - such as the bison. It was almost extinct in the 1920s by the time a wild herd of bison was released into the Bialowieza National Park in 1952.
Back to the natural landscape
A new trend in nature conservation has been observed for some time. So far, reserves have been created for endangered animals and plants in which their populations could recover in a controlled manner.
But now people are increasingly turning to giving back to nature what was once taken from it. Both small areas and entire landscapes are completely left to nature again - sometimes even without any human intervention. This process is known as "natural succession".
Amazingly, such projects are carried out, for example, along motorways. And one can observe that rare plants and animal species settle there by themselves, which would otherwise no longer find a habitat in our controlled cultural landscape.
Projects of this kind ensure that landscapes emerge again in our nature that really deserve the name "natural landscape".
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