Featured: Ivanacker Oaks - Germany

Sylvan Regards: Germany’s 1,000 Year-Old Oaks

Ancient Ivanacker Oaks in Germany
Ancient Ivanacker Oaks in Germany

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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