Lots of birch trees are the death of the moor?
Birch trees need somewhere with a lot of moisture. They extract water from the moor and quickly overgrow large areas. It takes lots of time and effort to maintain the expanses of the Great Moor and to keep them free of birch trees. Grazing by moorland sheep (Fig. 2) hampers the growth of birch trees by the sheep eating the fresh birch leaves. However, the birch trees hit out again.
The young moorland sheep also know what's good to eat (Fig. 3). Fresh grass or birch? It looks like the choice between pizza and spinach.
The young birch trees are cut back with a brush cutter or by other methods. At our site, we removed all birch and pine trees from behind the pools in 2014.
By 2019 there was a small area of woodland at the same place (Fig. 4)
A fully grown birch tree can vaporise up to 1000 litres of water on a hot summer day. Water that is needed to wet the moor
Fire clearance (Figs. 5 and 6) achieves the same purpose. The birch trees are weakened. They spout much less the following year.
Ultimately, the only way to succeed is to deliberately hold back the water. The question remains how the hydrological balance will develop in the Great Moor. Why did the springs dry up? What effect has groundwater extraction by the city of Wolfsburg had at Westerbeck?
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