New Wilderness Evolving Freely
Nature's processes are governed by natural cycles and self-regulating powers. In forests, they need centuries to develop – much time for us humans. But only if we can protect these processes on the long run, wilderness can succeed in our forests. This approach is called process protection.
The ecological potential played an important role for the selection which ancient deciduous forests would become Wilderness Development Areas in North-Rhine-Westphalia. They are not used for forestry. In most cases, the beech defines the beginning of the natural dynamics consisting of growth and decay, which is one condition to develop a sophisticated diversity. It is the only way to ensure that all structures required by the animals of the forest will be constantly available side by side making old and dead beech trees accessible. This makes the beech woods reliable. Reliable for red kites, wildcats and Bechstein's bats, which are under the responsibility of North-Rhine-Westphalia. Reliable for woodpeckers and other residents who forage for food in the trees and breed in their hollows. Reliable for an army of tiny animals and fungi that inhabit old beech trees and the deadwood. Reliable for specialised deadwood beetles who depend on the tradition of their habitat and the permanent availability of specific deadwood structures.