HEY HEY Waldfreunde x ZAMT Berlin

Berlin - Brandenburg, Germany 



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 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.


A fenced - off jungle - more deers more problems

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.

Milan maintaining the fence, photo reza nadji

Simply by keeping deers out - the test field is a super dense young mixed forest - after 8 years only.



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. So we asked: "Why is a mixed forest better " and "Why are there too many deer?"

Let´s try to find answeres for the first question by taking a look at Mixed forests.

Milan checking on the christmas trees which were replanted after the holidays, photo reza nadji

Historically – and now we really have to go back all the way to the roman empire – 70 % of Germany was covered with a dense natural mixed forest compared to todays 30% due to human intervention. Over the course of time mixed forests were cut down for construction purposes and to use the wood as combustion material for households and industries. Mixed forests were gradually replaced by monocultural coniferous forests as they grow quicker, making them ideal for commercial use. The natural forests were turned into a man made landscape. Which is ecologically a disaster.

Natural mixed forest in Brandenburg, photo milan hänsel

Because 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 and forest fires caused by

. Consequently one of today's biggest challenges is to protect existing mixed forests and recultivate coniferous forests to become mixed forests.


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.

To rise awareness to the importance of forest preservation and what it actually means we decided to collaborate by using the deer hides for our beloved can hip bag. We try to illustrate the interrelations of ecosystems and how a young mixed forest is vital to ease the negative effects of climate change and even can contribute to a more healthy world for the next generations.

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.