The province of Gelderland plans to plant 1 million trees and 1,700 hectares of new forest over the next 10 years. Most of the new forest will be located in existing nature reserves. The province reports that the millions of trees have to land in rural areas and in villages and towns in Gelderland.
The plan is intended to improve acidified forest soils, prevent forest drying and help managers develop young and diverse forests. “We also want more natural forests with more old and dead wood, which is good for biological diversity,” Gelderland writes in the plan.
According to the province, the health of the Gelderland forests is under pressure due to climate change, nitrogen precipitation and desiccation. As a result, trees such as larch and spruce are already dying in some places.
“Gelderland is the greenest province in the Netherlands. Thanks in part to our beautiful forests. We want to keep it that way, and that means we have to take good care of our trees. Trees and forests are of scenic, ecological, economic and social importance. They help determine how Gelderlanders experience their surroundings and where they feel at home. Trees and forests are therefore part of the Gelderland identity, ”says Commissioner Peter Drenth.
Gelderland forests suffer from nitrogen deposition and drought, in part due to climate change. This means that the forests must be resilient and resistant to the changing climate with extreme weather phenomena such as downpours and extreme drought and heat. By allowing more mixed forests to develop, they are more resilient.
The state government wants to convert 9,000 hectares of forest, in which wood is also produced, into natural forests, in which management is even more geared towards improving biological diversity.