Study field trip to Bavarian Forest National Park
On 15.10.2015 the LIFE project partners set out on a three-day study field trip of Bavarian National Forrest in Germany. The purpose of the visit was to acquire in-depth knowledge on natural park management, management of Natura 2000 areas, environmental education and development of tourist infrastructure.
Since all project partners strive towards integrated and coordinated management, the key stakeholders from different sectors and organizations, which are based in the Kočevje region, joined us on the trip. The study field trip was therefore an excellent opportunity for networking and sharing experience, knowledge and good practices amongst the participants.
Bavarian Forest National park, established in 1970, along with neighbouring Šumava National park, represents the largest protected area in central Europe (92000ha). It is known as the Wild Heart of Europe. The park provides visitors with countless possibilities to experience the primeval nature, while systematically placed network of recreational trails, along which informational points and larger info centres are placed, provide numerous educational and recreational activities. The park employs around 200 people.
On the first day of the trip, we visited the Forest History Museum in St.Oswald, where were presented with basic information about the national park and given guided tour of the museum. In the afternoon we visited the Lusen visitors’ centre, located in Neuschönau municipality. We toured the Hans-Eisenmann-Haus botanical and geological garden, animal pens and suspended trail through the canopies which are examples of good practices of recreational and tourist infrastructure and of the concept of interacting with visitors.
On the second day, we had a tour of the western capercaillie, white-backed and three-toed woodpecker, hazel grouse as well as many other animal and plant species habitats in the Siebensteinkopf, Racheldiensthütte and Lärchenberg areas. After a large scale bark beetle gradation, the mountainous coniferous forests were left for nature to take its course, so they represent unique example of natural forest ecosystem regeneration after a massive disturbance, without human intervention. Such forests provide conditions for various habitats to develop, which provide adequate living conditions for various rare and endangered species.
On the last day we visited the Dreikönigsloipe region in the Mauth municipality, where we observed a method of forest management at the outer edge of the forest, in which the only measures taken are ones to prevent the spread of bark beetles into neighbouring forests. Trees invaded by bark beetles are promptly removed, while other aspects of forest management, to our surprise are not implemented. We proceeded with a tour of one of four game wintering areas (mainly deer and wild boar). Although game population in the majority of the park area is not regulated, it is at its edges, mainly to prevent damage to adjacent private properties. Culling is performed in designated areas within the wintering areas into which the fodder is placed to lure the game. The culling is performed by professional hunters, who are employees of the park.
On the route home, we made a short stop in the picturesque town of Passau, where Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers converge.