Exclusive Interview with a lynx

Oh hi, I didn’t see you there.

Ha yes, I have been watching you for some time now. You did not see me at all. No wonder, because I am a master of disguise. You humans like to call me the wizard of the forest, because of my fluffy ears and pointy beard. People often only find my big paw prints, but they don’t see me. And I love these games of stalking and sneaking up on other animals. You know my big furry paws help me with that? It’s really my favourite thing to do.

Why do we do the interview so early?

Well, it’s quite simple. Most of the time I am only active during dusk and dawn. I’ve got a lot to do every day, you know. My territory is about 400 square kilometres, that is more than 50,000 of those football field! And I need to check if there are intruders around. I have to mark my area with some pee or scratch marks, that will warn the others not to come here.

Aren’t you lonely up here?

I like to be alone, really. Well, most of the year. Only during early spring, I will look for a new partner, but the rest of the year I prefer to live by myself. And actually, I’m not really alone. I like to live in places where there are enough other animals around. I would say my best friends are roe deer.

Oh deer!

Haha yes, funny. I love those roe deer, they taste so good. I prefer to eat about two kilograms of meat per day, so those roe deer are the perfect meal for a few days. It is like room-service, dinner comes walking to me every time. I just use my powerful legs and jump right on them. And although they are quite fast, they are not so flexible when I chase them through the woods. But if there are no roe deer, I usually go for some smaller rodents. Sometimes I like to catch something like a red deer, but those guys have dangerous antlers. I prefer not to get stabbed by those things.

Should humans fear you?

Nah, not really. I prefer to stay hidden in this mountainous forest. I must admit, sometimes I would like a sheep, but only if it’s not too much effort. Nowadays people finally start to understand why it was so easy for me to catch sheep. These owners did not protect their animals. If I come down to the farms now, I see more and more of these electric fences and stupid dogs. They are really problematic and ruining the fun for me, I rather stay in the woods in that case.

Do you have trouble, finding enough food here in Europe?

It is not really the problem of finding enough food. There is a lot of wildlife in Europe, so there is also enough food for me. But my relatives in many countries disappeared because they were hunted down for their fur. Now people are not allowed to hunt me anymore, so my family grows slowly. Most of my cousins are actually found in eastern Europe and Scandinavia. Unfortunately, my uncle Alus recently died in south Germany, he was also killed by your kind. Alus was a nice guy to me, never really hurt anybody.

What about the Lynx reintroduction plans in Great Britain?

Yes, that would be great! My ancestors used to live in Great Britain 1,300 years ago, until they were all killed for their fur. Look at the place now, they have an overpopulation of deer damaging the plants and trees. And their crows and pine martens are stealing the eggs of the capercaillies, beautiful birds. Not to mention the foxes that eat them once in a while. Oh, how I would love to get some pine martens as an evening snack! But I must admit I am a little bit worried. My friend, who escaped in Wales last month, was killed because people couldn’t properly catch it. It seems that you think killing is always the solution to solve your problems.

Thank you for your time, will we meet again?

Most likely you won’t see me anymore. But I will be there somewhere, hiding in the woods.

Curious to read more? Click on the interview with the brown bearwolverine and wolf!

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3 thoughts on “Exclusive Interview with a lynx

  1. Dear Huw Denman, we passed your comment on and please let us forward the response from the lynx to you:

    Hi Huw! Thank you for your comment, you are right! I have heard about the impact of neighbouring crows and foxes on the birds. Indeed, it could be better for the capercaillies if my relatives catch some crows and foxes once in a while. But I must admit that I personally would still prefer the pine martens as an evening snack. The feathers of the crows always get stuck between my teeth, and the foxes always give me a mouth full of fur… But thank you for the advice! If you people decide to reintroduce some of my family members in Great Britain again, I will forward your advice to them. I will even put it on my list of intentions for 2018! Yours sincerely Lynx

  2. You misguided lynx! I’m sure you’d like to eat a pine marten as a snack but they’re not responsible for the decline of capercaillie in Scotland. In fact, trials have shown where the capercaillie habitat has been improved, numbers have risen. Foxes and crows, which live at higher densities than pine martens would make a better snack for you. Yr eiddoch yn gywir, Bele’r coed

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Join more 100+ forest experts demanding a radical change in German forestry management.

Sign the Open Letter to the German Federal Minister of Forestry and Agriculture

Open Letter to the German Ministry of Food and Agriculture

Federal Ministry of
Food and Agriculture
Minister Julia Klöckner
11055 Berlin

Dear Minister Klöckner,

The current situation of the forest in Germany is worrying. It is a forest crisis not only driven by climate change. The current crisis management of the forestry industry is backward-looking and harmful to the forest. The declaration announced at the meeting of ministers in Moritzburg can be described as a `Moritzburg declaration of bankruptcy´. We call on the state forestry industry to, instead of expensive rushed actions, finally carry out an expert analysis of its own work and to involve all stakeholders in this process. What is called for is a consistent departure from plantation forestry and a radical shift towards a management that treats the forest as an ecosystem and no longer as a wood factory.

On 1stAugust 2019, five forestry ministers of CDU and CSU-led states adopted a so-called “master plan” for the forest in Germany, which was affected by heat, bark beetles, fire and drought. As of 2020, the federal government is to make 800 million euros available as a reaction to climate change. This money is to be used to repair the damage caused, reforest the damaged areas and carry out `climate-adapted´ forest conversion – including the use of non-native tree species that have not yet been cultivated in the forest. Research should therefore focus on on tree species suitability and forest plant breeding in the future – keyword: `Climate-adapted forest of the future 2100´.

Remarkably, the damage caused primarily by the extreme drought of 2018 is attributed solely to climate change. Climate change is meeting a forest that is systemically ill due to the planting of non-native tree species, species poverty, monocultures, uniform structure, average low age, mechanical soil compaction, drainage etc. A healthy, resistant forest would look differently! The master plan emphasizes: sustainable, multifunctional and `active´ forest management remains indispensable – and thereby means that its unnatural state cannot be changed. Reference is made to the `carbon storage and substitution effects´ of wood products. The use of wood, e.g. in the construction industry, should be increased and thus the demand for wood should be further fueled – while knowing that the forest in Germany already cannot meet this demand. In fact, forest owners are suffering from poor timber prices due to an oversupply of trunk wood on the world market.

All these demands make clear: the current forestry strategy, which has been practiced for decades, should not change in principle. The concept is simple: cut down trees – plant trees. At best, the `design´ of the future artificial forests consisting of perfectly calculated tree species mixtures, that are believed to survive climate change without damages, can be changed. In all seriousness, the intention is to continue selling the public a so-called `future strategy´ to save the forest. This strategy seamlessly follows the model of a wood factory, that is met with general rejection and must be regarded as a failure in view of the coniferous plantations that are currently collapsing on a large scale. An essential part of the forests that have currently died is exactly the part that was reestablished in 1947 as coniferous monocultures on a much larger area than today. There is only one difference to the situation at the time: considerable amounts of money are to be made available from taxes for forest owners this time.

Climate change is progressing, and this, without a doubt, has massive impacts on all terrestrial ecosystems, including forests. To pretend that the last two years of drought alone caused the disaster is too cheap. On closer inspection, the disaster is also the result of decades of a forestry focused on conifers – in a country that was once naturally dominated by mixed deciduous forests. People do not like to admit that for more than 200 years they have relied on the wrong species of commercial tree (spruce) and have also created artificial, ecologically highly unstable and thus high-risk forest ecosystems. A whole branch of business has become dependent on coniferous wood. And now the German coniferous timber industry is on the verge of bankruptcy.

It would only have been honest and also a sign of political greatness if you and the forestry ministers in Moritzburg had declared: Yes, our forestry industry has made mistakes in the past, and yes, we are ready for a relentless analysis that takes into account not only purely silvicultural, but also forest-ecological aspects. Instead, you have confined yourselves to pre-stamped excuses that are already familiar to everyone and that lack any self-critical reflection.

Clear is: We finally need resting periods for the forest in Germany, which has been exploited for centuries. We need a new, ecologically oriented concept for future forest – not a hectic `forest conversion´, but simply forest development closer towards nature. This gives the forest as an ecosystem the necessary leeway to self-regulate and react to the emerging environmental changes. We need a systemic forest management that is no less profitable than the present one, but must be substantially more stable and resistant to foreseeable environmental changes. The aid for forest owners that all citizens are now required to pay through their taxes is only politically justified in the interest of common good, if the forests of the future that are being promoted by it, do not end up in the next disaster, some of which is produced by the forest management itself.

That is why the signatories request from the the Federal Government, and in particular you, Mrs Klöckner, a master plan worthy of the name:

On disaster areas (mainly in public forests!) reestablishment through natural forest development (ecological succession), among other things with pioneer tree species, is to be brought about. In private forests, ecological succession for reestablishment must be purposefully promoted. Larger bare areas should be planted with a maximum of 400 to 600 large plants of native species per hectare in order to permit ecological succession parallelly.
To promote ecological succession, the areas should no longer be completely and mechanically cleared; as much wood as possible should be left in the stand (to promote optimum soil and germ bed formation, soil moisture storage and natural protection against browsing). In private forests, the abandonment of use in disaster areas should be specifically promoted for ecological reasons and in order to relieve the burden on the timber market.

Regarding the promotion of reestablishment plantings in private forests: priority for native tree species (of regional origin); choose wide planting distances in order to leave enough space for the development of pioneer species. For the forests of the future: Minimize thinning (low-input principle), build up stocks through targeted development towards old thick trees, protect the inner forest climate / promote self-cooling function (should have highest priority due to rapidly progressing climate change!), prohibit heavy machinery, refrain from further road construction and expansion, permit and promote natural self-regulatory development processes in the cultivated forest and on (larger) separate areas in the sense of an compound system; drastically reduce the density of ungulate game (reform of hunting laws).

Like in the field of organic agriculture, which has been established since the 1980s, the crisis of our forests should be the reason today to transform at least two existing forestry-related universities. They should be turned into universities for interdisciplinary forest ecosystem management. This is a contribution not only to the further development of forestry science and silviculture in Germany, but also of global importance! The goal must be to produce wood through largely natural forest production and to start with it here in Germany, the birthplace of forestry.

Motto: SYSTEMIC FOREST ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT INSTEAD OF WOOD FACTORY

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