Deutsch  Language Icon  |  Gebärdensprache  |  Leichte Sprache  |  Contact

News from the Elite Graduate Programs

Field Trip to Bavarian Forest National Park

A group of students from the graduate study program “M. Sc. Global Change Ecology” visited the “Bavarian Forest National Park” from 9th to 14th October, 2018.

The national park was established in 1970 as the first national park of Germany. Initially, the park covered an area of 133 sq. km. After its expansion in 1997 it has even covered to 242 sq. km. It was officially declared a national park in 1969 and opened in 1970; however, the idea of nature conservation with a different approach was already in discussion in 1911. The area became more popular after the concept "let nature be nature", even after the bark beetle "infestation" destroyed a large forest area and particularly the Norwegian Spruce - the legacy can still be observed today.

During our expedition, we had a close look at natural functioning and ecological processes within the real forest ecosystem. We were much more focused on the application of remote sensing on studying forest ecology. The study program head Professor Dr. Carl Beierkuhnlein provided us insights into various aspects of ecological changes and landscape modifications driven by nature itself and humans. We went on several hiking trips to explore inherent natural phenomena and tried to understand human-nature interactions. We visited the park information center and also had a canopy walk. During our visit to the information center, we learned about nature and its socio-economic aspects that might influence the landscape management process. In addition, the visit shed clear lights on the historical development of the park. The canopy walk was one of the nicest experiences, where we could observe the entire landscape without any physical obstructions.

The Bavarian Forest was once a highly intervened ecosystem, which had rather served as a commercial forest. Today, it is a rarely observed example of nature conservation. I think this is possible because of the concept "let nature be nature". Yes, of course, it is really a good concept to not interevent natural processes: to promote natural evolutions, biodiversity conservation, and to keep various natural phenomena going on. But still, how long could once modified or even purely natural ecosystem survive without human interventions under such "extreme" changes brought by humans, the so-called "Climate Change"? How can we get rid of or avoid indirect human influences on natural ecosystems? I believe that this debate would lead us to find the solution to fight against climate change effects and to save or restore our pristine nature.

Overall, this was a very good opportunity to learn about nature and associated socio-economic aspects of an ecosystem. I think this expedition has broadened my knowledge to integrate human and natural ecology.

Author: Ram Sharan Devkota
Picture: Frank Weiser

veröffentlicht am