Sustainable and natural reforestation with the Moritz mini felling tractor

Creating a project area for the KWF Conference 2024

The area to be reforested has increased significantly in recent years. This is due to drought, bark beetles, storms and forest fires. Pfanzelt will demonstrate how to naturally reforest without large equipment in a large-scale project that will be carried out over several years.

When the excursion comes to the conference grounds

The site is located directly on the KWF Conference 2024 trade fair grounds, so everyone can get an idea of reforestation directly on site at the trade fair, 2.5 years after the start of the project. The project is being carried out by Pfanzelt and other partners, such as the KWF and the federal forests.


Summary | Two years after launch

A good half a year before visitors to the KWF conference can visit the project area, our leader and forestry manager Werner Rocke have a very positive interim result. This applies to the procedures implemented and adapted to the structure of the area as well as to the current status of the seeds or planting.

Project area

The area is approx. 1.5 hectares. Most of the area’s forest stock fell victim to a storm and bark beetle. The old stock, of which very little remains, and small areas with natural regeneration are preserved. The material still lying on the surface (tops, branches) and sticks are also not processed if possible. So that reforestation can take place near-naturally and adapted to the terrain, a combination of planting and sowing strips and 8 x 8 m planting squares is established. The focus is on ensuring that maintenance can be carried out mechanically as much as possible in the coming years.

In order to be able to document all tasks related to Moritz, the machines have been equipped with data loggers that record not only the working time and the diesel consumption, but also the area performance etc. for the project.

2. Fence construction

In December 2021, a 500m long and 2m wide fence was routed around the area. The fence was then completed in February. The Moritz remote-controlled implement carrier was the ideal helper here.

4. Care and maintenance

To facilitate machine maintenance, the planting and sowing strips were laid out at a distance of two metres. The MAX forestry mulcher with its working width of 1.2 metres can therefore easily remove unwanted growth between rows. Removal of the individual plants in the row is not necessary for this method.

1.5 years after project start

In spring 2023, another check was carried out on the project area. In particular, the drought damage from last year was examined. If you look at the 2022 forest status report for Hesse, you can read the following there:

  • 8 out of 12 months were in some cases significantly too dry and, with the exception of September, all months were too warm.
  • In parts of the state of Hesse, the pronounced dryness of the soil has now been ongoing for five years.

Failures of planting due to drought are also visible in the project area. The failures of the Douglas fir were very low. This is probably due, among other things, to the fact that the areas planted with Douglas firs were mostly partially shaded during the day. There were major failures in the sessile oaks. Almost 600 dried-up plants were registered here. However, there are also pleasing results from Douglas fir sowing.

Maintenance in the second year

At the beginning of July 2023, we carried out the first culture maintenance of the year. Due to the rainy months, the accompanying vegetation was very lush and the Moritz was strongly called upon with the MAX forestry tiller. In some cases, the marker poles, which were just over a metre high, were already difficult to see. In 2023, additional maintenance with the brushcutter was dispensed with in consultation with district forester Werner Rocke. This was a direct consequence of last year’s results. On the one hand, there was some filling due to human error, and on the other hand, the plan was to use the narrow accompanying vegetation, which of course must not be so thick that it dams, to obtain shade for the plant rows. The maintenance of the area took around six working hours in this process.

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