Causes discussions: one of the felled beech trees in the Stocketwäldchen. © private
A tree felling action has aroused displeasure among residents in Weßling. Anton G. Leitner speaks of forest crime, district forester Harald Appelt of road safety.
Weßling – Anton G. Leitner from Weßlingen, otherwise better known as an author and poet, is annoyed by felled beech trees in the Stocketwäldchen in Weßling. The resident refers to breeding birds and the CO2 reservoir. District forester Harald Appelt justifies the measure, among other things, with the duty to ensure traffic safety and emphasizes that before felling, the treetop was searched for possible nesting sites. Leitner criticized the timing of the action – and alerted Claudius Birke, managing director of Starnberg's Landesbund für Vogel- und Naturschutz LBV.
Leitner vents his anger on social media: "Especially in these threatening times determined by climate change and climate catastrophes, I find such a way of dealing with nature and creation, which almost borders on 'forest crime' (...) just to cry." The trees had been marked for a long time and could have been felled long ago without endangering the bird brood. When asked about this, Appelt emphasizes that the nesting sites are being kept in mind. "As a rule, the experts can do this well from the ground. In case of doubt, the trees are climbed directly by the executing contractor. He has the necessary training and equipment," he explains. And he reiterates that it is also necessary to check in winter whether, for example, bats hibernate in the trees. Traffic safety does not only concern the protection of pedestrians, but it is also about trees "that endanger adjacent houses, gardens, roads, cycle paths or railway lines". Trees that pose a potential danger would be felled. He assures: "Because of dead branches, no one will come up with the idea of cutting down the tree." These would be removed by means of a lifting platform or tree climber. The fact that after 18 p.m. is normal in the summer, he said in response to another criticism from Leitner.
Informed by Leitner, Birke looked at the situation on the ground – and came to the conclusion that "there was no imminent danger" in the felled beech trees he had visited. Instead of selling the wood to private individuals, the trained forester would have preferred "the trunk torso as standing or lying deadwood" for bat caves, for example. The bird conservationist recalls that "the municipalities have a role model function in the management of their properties. They are obliged to manage their land in accordance with the objectives and principles of nature conservation and landscape management".
"We have commissioned the State Forestry Office to manage the municipal forests," Mayor Michael Sturm explained when asked, adding that the municipality also had a duty of care towards the people who used the heavily frequented forest path in the affected area.
"Forestry looks at the entire ecosystem," explains district forester Appelt. The extraction of raw materials is taken into account as well as the recreational function for forest visitors, drinking water and flood protection and forest nature conservation. In the resulting clearing, the foliage is converted into valuable humus. And the small trees developed better in the clearing, a new generation could grow up. "The removal of trees means a certain loss, but at the same time it creates an abundance of ecological niches in which specialized species can live." Birch prefers the natural cycle of a natural forest. However, he emphasizes that he does not want to deny the district forester's competence in any way. "It's my view of things as a conservationist."