Bergwaldprojekt e.V.
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Why forest?
Natural forest communities are biocoenoses of innumerable species and are therefore particularly important for biodiversity, i.e. the abundance of life.
Near-natural mountain forests of the low mountain ranges and the Alps offer protection against erosion, flooding, drought, rockfall and avalanches. Together with the peatlands they are important for the climate. The forests filter the air and store carbon. They are valuable recreational areas and important economic goods for humans. More than half of Germany consists of mountainous areas, which are mostly forested.

The Situation of the Forest in Germany
For decades, Germany's forests have been weakened by high levels of pollutants from traffic, industry and agriculture. In addition to the primary damage to leaves and needles, the pollutants acidify the soil in the long term and damage the fine root system of the trees. Over-fertilization with nitrogen also damages forest ecosystems. Excessive populations of hoofed game (roe deer, stags and, in the mountains, chamois) still bite too many young trees. As a result of hunting and forestry mistakes, many forest stands are unstable monocultures, which are particularly susceptible to storm damage and insect infestation.
For years, forest ecosystems have been additionally strained by the effects of climate change. Officially 245,000 hectares of forest have died in Germany as a result of the drought years 2018 and 2019. The causes are man-made. Spruce and pine monocultures, which account for more than half of Germany's forests, are the most endangered. Shortcomings in professional practice, such as over-exploitation of stands and soil compaction, are causing severe damage to forest communities.
We must do everything we can to reduce the strain on forest ecosystems and strengthen the stability of our forests. The forest can only adapt to changing environmental conditions in the long term. Natural forest communities offer the best conditions for this. Forest restructuring in favor of native tree species and ecological forest and hunting utilization contribute to the diversity and stability of forests far from nature. In addition, as formulated in the National Strategy on Biological Diversity (2007), 5 % of the forest area should be taken out of use by the year 2020 in order to permit forest development not influenced by humans. In a meaningful network system, important conclusions for commercial forests can then be drawn from the natural processes and retreat areas for endangered animal and plant species can be created.

Bergwaldprojekt e.V.
The Bergwaldprojekt e.V. has been committed for 30 years with thousands of volunteers every year to the protection, preservation, care and maintenance of the forest, in particular the mountain forest and the cultural landscapes, and to the promotion of an understanding of the interrelationships in nature, the concerns of the forest and the dependence of humans on these bases of life. To this end, the Bergwaldprojekt works annually in approx. 150 project weeks with volunteers in forests, peatlands and open-air biotopes at various locations in Germany. The aim of the work assignments is

> to preserve the manifold functions of the ecosystems,
> to make the participants aware of the importance and the threat to our natural resources and
> to motivate the general public to use natural resources in a way that is compatible with nature.

Projects
Under expert guidance, e. g. planting and maintenance measures, erosion control measures, construction of paths, biotope maintenance and also peatland and stream renaturation are carried out. The charitable work takes place exclusively in public forests and nature reserves in cooperation with the local forester and nature conservation authorities.
Each project assignment is planned, prepared and supervised on site by an experienced and qualified project manager of the Bergwaldprojekt. They are supported by trained, volunteer group leaders. Every week there is an instruction in the work, how to use the tools and in the safety precautions.
Projects are offered as weeks of deployment for adults, family weeks, integrative weeks with disabled people and refugees, work assignments for companies (Corporate Volunteer Days) and weeks for pupils from the eighth grade and with educational institutions. We also offer individual planting days at different locations in Germany.
Participation is free of charge, and financing is provided by membership fees and private donations, contributions from project partners, cooperation contributions from companies, and funding from governmental and non-governmental organizations.

Results (Status: 2020)

> Nearly 4 million local trees planted (approx. 1,300 ha of forest area)
> 350 km of footpaths laid out in the mountains
> More than 400 ha of biotopes for capercaillie, birch and hazel game maintained
> Over 190 ha of peatlands rewetted
> Approx. 1,000 ha of mountain forest maintained
> Over 300 km of game protection fences dismantled
> Participants so far: 40.000

Participate
Persons over 18 years of age can participate. Participation is free of charge for the volunteers. The journey must be organized by the volunteers themselves – we recommend using the discounted Bergwaldprojekt-Ticket of the Deutsche Bahn (instructions for booking (German), if you have any questions please contact our information service: 0931 452 62 61 or by mail: info@bergwaldprojekt.de, we speak German, English and on request Arabic). The Bergwaldprojekt bears the costs for accommodation, food and project management and provides the necessary tools and vehicles. Approximately five weeks before the project weeks start, we will inform you about the details of the meeting point, individual equipment, etc. by mail or e-mail. If you are missing equipment, please call our information service, maybe we can provide you with some of the needed items. In case of cancellations within 21 days before the start of the project or in case of no-shows, we reserve the right to charge a service charge of 50 Euro.
The week starts on Sunday evening. All participants arrive together and leave the following Saturday morning. During the week everyone stays in the accommodation, we work, eat and sleep in common rooms. Details of the accommodation can be found on the detail pages in the dates on the website. If you have any questions about gender segregation etc. please feel free to call us. From Monday morning we work on the areas. Procedure of a typical project day:

> Getting up at 6.00 am, breakfast. Departure to the project sites in the forest,
> briefing on the work and off you go.
> Return to the hut in the late afternoon,
> relax,
> Dinner and cosy get-together.

The works may vary from those indicated in the program. One excursion of at least half a day is scheduled for each week. Meals are vegetarian or vegan and as far as possible adapted to the seasonal food supply and regional cuisine. Our cooks will be happy to accommodate any intolerances. A tetanus vaccination is recommended for each trip and health insurance is required. Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed to be brought along.

For further questions please contact our information service: info@bergwaldprojekt.de, Phone: 0931-452 62 61.

History and organization
The Bergwaldprojekt was founded in 1987 in connection with the debate on forest dieback. It is an independent organization and is represented in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein and Spain. The Bergwaldprojekt is economically, politically and religiously independent.

Vision
The Bergwaldprojekt e.V. wants to make an active contribution with its concrete work, in order to achieve long-term and lasting results:
> to preserve the biodiversity of the forest communities in Germany and to establish socially responsible and ecological forest use,
> to achieve a social change towards a sustainable way of life that is compatible with nature
>To enable people from different walks of life and cultural backgrounds to become involved in the natural foundations of our lives

Imprint

Bergwaldprojekt e.V.
Veitshöchheimer Str. 1b
97080 Würzburg

Phone: 0049 (0)931 - 45 26 261
E-Mail: info@bergwaldprojekt.de

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