Last summer I went to a wetland in the outskirts of Berlin, Krumme Lake Grünau. An area with old pine tree plantations, old oak trees and patches of birch trees around the wetter parts of this area. Stretching for over a 6 km distance, this is definitely an important habitat for rare flora and fauna.
Consecutive years of extremely little rain in summer caused groundwater levels to fall, beyond the reach of oak trees’ root systems.
Though, last summer was dry, very dry. Consecutive years of extremely little rain in summer caused groundwater levels to fall, beyond the reach of oak trees’ root systems. I feared for bushfires back then, destroying all pretty vegetation and young oak trees. Although it wasn’t the fire that did so…rather the low groundwater table caused the trees to turn their leaves brown, and thus a lack of water.
The birches seem to have dried like wooden sticks, became porous, and so weak, that main stems and branches broke off like thin matches.
To my surprise, yesterday, two (summer) bushfires destroyed large parts of the forest. Many shrubs burnt, but most pine trees seemed to be only burnt on the bottom surface. Unfortunately, none of the oak trees defolioted, all leafs were still hanging, even though they were turned brown, they didn’t seem to fall off anymore. While winter has already fully started with temperatures of -3°C, I can now only guess that these trees might not have survived. All oak trees along the wetland standing at a higher altitude! The birches seem to have dried like wooden sticks, became porous, and simply weakening main branches and stems to cause them braking like thin matches.
This blog is part of a serie of blogs dedicated to report on the escalating climate catastrophe and our environmental crisis. The observations I made in the past months are more than alarming. I hope with the local and accurate reporting to inspires others to do the same.