Misty with a chance of Bison
Dinner for mosquitos (Part 2)


Some trees are growing on a
fallen tree in a swampy area of
the forest.

I grew up close to the forest, a managed forest. I have to admit that I never spent a lot of time in the forest, and would not be able to tell you much about the vegetation there. This will change when we come back. I will go there and see things from a very different perspective. But let’s get back to the forest here. Felix already described in “Into Europe’s Wilderness” what makes this place so special. But is it so different?
You might think, is there really such a big difference. Forest is forest and trees are trees. Some people might still think so, after they have been here. The amount of litter we find in the forest is sad. Why are people like this? Is it such hard work, to pack the empty sweet wrapper back in your pocket and throw it in the next bin? Why do people travel to spent time in a forest, if they don’t really care? I guess I will never find answers to these questions.
Haha, looks like I got a little bit sidetracked again. Ok, is it so different? I think it is. It’s wild and rough but also magical and delicate. The trees are not growing in accurate lines. This already makes it look very different to the man made forests. When trees die, they are not removed. Having fallen trees lie around changes the look of a forest completely. In rather humid areas the dead wood is covered in moss and clover. Little ferns have settled here and small trees are growing on the trunk, the next generation of trees make best usage of the resources nature provides. The decomposing wood provides nutritients. The fallen tree has left a gap in the foliage and the sun can send it beams further down into the undergrowth, providing energy to make the small trees build up strength.
I like the broadleafed or mixed forest areas the best. The light is very different in comparison to a coniferous forest. It’s lighter, friendlier, allows for more little plants and shrubs to grow on the forest floor. This means more plants where frogs can hide. The amount of frogs is amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many frogs in my life. The fallen trees are covered in the largest variety of fungi one can imagine, you can even find some relict species, like the Coral tooth and the cauliflower mushroom, which I’m still trying to find. All colours, shapes and sizes are present. Well, they are actually everywhere in the forest. I am sure, a lot of them are edible and would make for a nice dinner, but I’d rather not risk it, since I have no clue which are OK and which aren’t. We are also too far away from the next doctor, to have a little taster…..
I have to admit, we have the chance to experience the forest very differently to how it is for the common tourists, since we have to go off track to do our work and also go into parts of the forest, where tourists are not allowed to go to.image
Deep within the forest you see a lot of really old trees. They are amazing. Some of the oaks are a few hundred years old. It is stunning to see them and to know that the will not end up as a dining table or chair. On the other hand it is equally sad to see that some of the really old spruce trees are loosing the battle against the spruce bark beetle. But this is nature. One of the places with very old oaks is right beside the stream which separates the strict reserve from the national park. It’s not just the trees that make us want to go there when ever we are close by. It’s is also a good place to see bison. And if anybody still thinks this is just another forest, think twice. What are the chances that you stumble across a bison in the wild in the forest near you? If you are really really lucky you could even see wolfs here.

Posted in Nature.