HEY HEY WALDREUNDE
HOW WE GOT HERE
Zisan and I are from the city so we really aren't familiar with the woods and don't know many people who are. This evolved when a good friend of ours, Milan – also from Berlin – changed professions and studied forestry.
Luckily there are vast forests just outside of Berlin and Milan chose to stay in the region.
Over the course of our visits to his new home and forest we were drawn into his world. We learned a lot from him about the ecosystem “forest” and how everything is interrelated.
Even small changes can disrupt the whole, bringing the ecosystem out of balance.
At some point Milan showed us a test field he set up 8 years ago – a fenced-off, small batch of forest right in the middle of the normal “Brandenburger Wald," dominated by coniferous trees with very sparse vegetation on the ground. In the fenced area though – putting it out of reach of deer and other big mammals – a heavily and diverse vegetated mixed young forest had evolved. The contrast was staggering and it became an Aha! moment.
We learned that the damage done by deer is enourmous – their preferred food is young deciduous trees ( ger. Laubbaum ) – rendering the measures undertaken by foresters to bring back mixed forests ineffective.
Historically – and now we really have to go back all the way to the roman empire – 70 % of Germany was covered with a dense mixed forest. It was only due to human intervention over the course of time that many forests changed from mixed forests to coniferous forests as they grow quicker, making the space easier for commercial use.
Mixed forests have a significantly higher biodiversity of fauna and flora – they produce more oxygen, absorb more CO2, can store more water and have greater cooling effects during the summer. They play a vital part in a system of protection against natural catastrophes like flooding caused by climate change. Consequently one of today's biggest challenges is to protect existing mixed forests and recultivate coniferous forests to become mixed forests.
WHY ARE THERE TOO MANY DEERS?
In the era of the GDR (DDR), hunting was mainly reserved as a privilege for high-ranking party members and diplomats. It was only done for trophy hunting purposes. To cater to the needs of hunting parties the population of deer was held artificially high, which continues to be a problem today especially in the forest region around Berlin.
Simply put, the only natural predators for deer in Germany are wolves and humans. And although the wolf population is recovering in Germany, the natural predators remain outnumbered to manage the deer population on their own.
The forester´s and hunter´s role to limit the population of deer is vital for a forest´s healthy ecosystem. Otherwise the damage to the trees by an out-of-control deer population will continue to have devastating effects on bio diversity. It would overthrow the efforts of recultivating mixed forests and reducing the domination of coniferous forests.
We saw the impact of Milan's work and decided to collaborate and use deer hides for our products.
With each item sold we support the planting of 5 young oaks in the woods of Berlin.
The ZAMT Berlin x Waldfreunde collection is another example of how a sustainable economy should work – it is local, artisanal, durable and actively supports action for environmental protection on our doorsteps.