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Planting project „Zeitenwende“ ("Turn of the times“): VR-Bank Bonn plants a thousand English oaks in Kottenforst

Planting project „Zeitenwende“ ("Turn of the times“) : VR-Bank Bonn plants a thousand English oaks in Kottenforst

To celebrate its 125th anniversary, the VR-Bank Bonn is planting an English oak for each new member in the "Zeitenwende" area in the Kottenforst. 1,000 trees have already been ordered. The English oaks replace conifers that had to be felled due to bark beetle infestation.

Everyone should have planted a tree in their lifetime. Rainer Jenniches and Martin Ließem from the board of directors of the VR-Bank Bonn can cross this item off their list. They went to the Kottenforst on Tuesday to plant two English oaks in the "Zeitenwende" area. It is the starting signal for further plantings. The bank wants to finance a total of 1,000 trees as a contribution to reforestation after the past years of drought.

On the two-hectare site, which can be reached by following the Gudenauer Weg straight ahead, all conifers had to be removed that had been attacked by the bark beetle after being weakened by drought. There, as part of the 2020 turn of the times project, is a collection of "trees of the future" that can cope well with drought. In addition to wild apple, sweet chestnut, wych elm and hornbeam, the English oak is also one of them.

A two-year-old tree, including planting, costs two euros, calculated Jan-Valentin Wiesmeyer from the Rhine-Sieg-Erft Regional Forestry Office. With tree guards against browsing and other measures, the cost per English oak is 6.50 euros. That makes a total of 6,500 euros. The money is sponsored by the VR-Bank Bonn on the occasion of its 125th anniversary. Officially, one English oak is to be planted for every new member the cooperative bank gains within a year. But the initiators have already decided on 1,000 from the outset and have already ordered these little trees so that they can be planted soon. Preferably before Christmas, said Wiesmeyer.

Every citizen of Bonn can donate trees

"If two hectares of forest can be reforested with this action, it's a good feeling," said Jenniches. Even if it is only a small area given the damage to the forest: according to forest educator Manfred Hören from the Regional Forestry Office, around 200 hectares of trees had to be removed. The economic damage was enormous, Wiesmeyer said: the spruces, which made up about 20 percent of the tree population in the area of responsibility of the regional forestry office, provided about 80 percent of the yield.

On top of this loss of income comes the financial cost of reforestation. According to Wiesmeyer, almost one million trees have been replanted in the past three years. "This is an investment for future generations," says Wiesmeyer. Because in terms of forestry, one can only profit from the new trees in 40 to 50 years. "Something has to move politically," he pleaded, "otherwise many forestry enterprises will not be able to survive.“

Any help is welcome in this regard, which is why Hören presented the two bank directors with a certificate of thanks, acknowledging the bank's contribution "to the development of climate-stable and multifunctional forests in North Rhine-Westphalia". At the same time, he called for people to join in.

If you want to plant specific trees, you can contact the Schutzgemeinschaft Deutscher Wald (German Forest Protection Association) - the regional forestry office is not the right contact for this. Alternatively, donations can be handed in at the Haus der Natur in the Waldau. Hören promises that all donations will be used for the work in the Kottenforst.

Original text: Stefan Knopp

Translation: Mareike Graepel