This article was published in American Forests, Summer 1997.
The stuff of legends, Germany’s 1,000 year-old oaks have thrived through centuries of foragers, wars, and political change.
“In the former East Germany resides a stand of trees older even than the 1,000-year-old state in which they stand. Perhaps the oldest trees in Europe, rivaled only by Poland’s Bialowieza Forest, Mecklenburg Western Pomerania’s dozen or so Ivenack Oaks, as they are known, are both an awe-inspiring state treasure and a historical record of forest management through the centuries.
On the day I visited, a small crowd had gathered by 10 a.m. to stroll the neat, wide paths through the grove. Like the other visitors, who come from across Europe, my guide-Christine Neise, the forester responsible for the 2, 400-acre state forestry district that includes the Ivenack Oaks-and I paused before each tree. As we stood beneath the multi-layered spreading crowns, speaking quietly, I admired the deeply furrowed bark full of spider webs, mosses, and slug trails that glistened here and there.”
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