Featured: Castle Canstein - Central Germany

In the Fatherland of Forestry: Baron Alexander von Elverfeldt and Castle Canstein

Castle Canstein - Central Germany
Castle Canstein – Central Germany

This article was published in American Forests, 1992.

The goals and dreams of the Baron of Castle Canstein reflect lessons learned over centuries of forest use and abuse.

“With a huge key, the Baron unlocked the heavy wood door. The room in the tower was cool, dry, and dim, just as an archives should be. The thick stone walls had been built in the 17th century for that very purpose, and now hold metal shelves lined with acid-free storage boxes. In them are parchments in crabbed 13-century script documenting the construction of Castle Canstein, a meld of Celt and Saxon in central Germany. Also on the shelves are venerable leather-bound books and thick old newsprint, evoking earlier ages. Finally, the room contains an 1844 inventory of the estate’s forests, now owned by Baron Alexander von Elverfeldt.
“Those same sites today produce 10 times more wood than they did in 1844,” says the Baron, stooping to reach for something on a shelf. At 62, the Baron is slim and light on his feet, and it’s easy to imagine courtly ancestors. He grins more readily than the average German, a trait he traces to the open, easy ways he learned during a year spent wandering through America in the 1950s. A brief stint working for the U.S. Forest Service in Oregon was one of many experiences that shaped Herr Baron’s global perspec­tive on forestry and propel his current involvement in international forestry.”

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