May 10, 2024

The Old Gravel Forest in Nysum: Nature sets the pace for the plantings

Nature decides the pace when we plant new forests, and sometimes it takes a bit longer than anticipated.

Louise Frederikke Kofoed-Dam
Louise Frederikke Kofoed-DamCommunication & PR Manager
The Old Gravel Forest in Nysum: Nature sets the pace for the plantings
The Old Gravel Forest in Nysum, Denmark

At EcoTree, we understand the importance of aligning with nature's rhythms rather than forcing our own timelines. Sometimes, that means adjusting our plans to accommodate unexpected changes. This is precisely why we're postponing the tree-planting project in Nysum until the autumn of 2024. Let us walk you through the reasons behind this decision and how we're working to make this forestry project a sustainable success.

Our forest project in Rebild Municipality in Northern Denmark aims to transform a 31.2-hectare former gravel pit into a vibrant, mixed-species forest. Once complete, the Old Gravel Forest will consist of more than 100,000 trees from 15 different species, reintroducing nature and biodiversity to the area. However, when dealing with Mother Nature, flexibility is key.

We initially planned to start planting in the spring of 2024, but a particularly wet April threw a wrench into our schedule. The month was the wettest April in 88 years, with 104 mm compared to the monthly average of 37,7 mm (Source: DMI).

This heavy rainfall significantly affected our soil preparation efforts, causing delays that made it impractical to start planting without compromising plant quality and overall sustainability. Our commitment to avoiding pesticides and other chemical products means we rely heavily on manual labour, which becomes even more challenging on steep slopes with wet, unstable soil.

A better time for planting

By postponing until autumn, we can ensure that the ground is adequately prepared for planting, allowing us to create the best conditions for the trees to thrive. The extra time allows us to conduct necessary weeding and tilling over the summer, which would have been challenging under the wet conditions we faced this spring.

Additionally, this allows us to source higher-quality saplings for the project. Quality saplings mean healthier trees and a more robust forest in the long run. In contrast, planting in the spring would have required rushing through preparations and settling for lower-quality trees, ultimately compromising the integrity of the entire project.

A smaller area of Christmas trees will cut and re-intergrated into the soil to protect the soil health in the forest.

Protecting the soil's health

Another crucial factor in our decision to postpone is the impact that heavy machinery could have on the wet soil. The northern section of the project area contains old Christmas trees, which we plan to cut and ultimately re-integrate into the soil. However, doing this in wet conditions would cause significant damage, undermining our efforts to create a sustainable forest ecosystem. By waiting until autumn, we avoid this risk and preserve the soil’s health.

What to expect from the Old Gravel Forest in Nysum

Despite the delay, our vision for the Old Gravel Forest remains unchanged. This project is about more than just planting trees; it's about fostering biodiversity, supporting local wildlife, and creating a sustainable ecosystem that benefits both the environment and the community.

Our team will plant a mix of tree species, including Oak, Lime, Maple, Beech, Birch, Douglas fir, and Hazel. This variety ensures the forest's resilience to climate change and enhances its overall biodiversity. We'll also create forest edges around the perimeter to promote a healthy forest climate and increase the habitat value for local wildlife. Additionally, we're committed to restoring the two ponds and a stream that runs through the forest, providing vital wetland habitats for various plant and animal species.

In harmony with nature

As we prepare for autumn planting, we're reminded that working with nature requires patience and adaptability. We ensure the project has the best possible start by choosing to delay. This approach aligns with our commitment to sustainability and creating a forest that will stand the test of time.

Keep on reading! 

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