The Dying Forest
When the corona pandemic began, journeys to distant places weren't possible anymore. So I decided to explore places more closer to my hometown with my camera. One of my trips had taken me to the Harz National Park in Germany, a place I fondly remember from my childhood yet never visited again. But instead of green forests I encountered dead trees and deforested landscapes. I decided to stay anyway and document the condition of the park.
After two years of draught, several severe storms and the rapid spread of the bark beetle, the park faces an unprecedented crisis. Its forests are extremely stressed and weakened. Especially the large areas of spruce monocultures are affected by the beetle. One single tree can spawn more than 25.000 beetles and infect up to 600 other trees. Park authorities consider the forest‘s dieback a natural process of regeneration and decided not to interfere. They hope that the monocultures will be replaced by more resistant mixed forests in the end. However, the private forest owners of the surrounding areas had no other choice than to cut down huge areas of forest trying to prevent the spread of the bark beetle. By now they lost about two thirds of their tree population.