Swiss association of the mountain villages, regions and landowners pledges for shooting of wolves

The Schweizerische Arbeitsgemeinschaft für die Berggebiete (SAB), which represents among others Swiss alpine regions, villages and agricultural associations just released a positionpaper in which it argues that the wolf has no place in the alpine ecosystem anymore. According to the SAB,  the Alps are a human oriented cultural landscape and should not be converted into nature parks or nationalparks for the benefit of wild animals like wolves. The claim that wolves are a real threat to the tourism industry and to the regional development.

The local farmers increasingly protect their sheep with shepherd dogs, but these dogs pose a great threat to tourist hiking with pets on a leach. Unprotected sheep are often prey for wolves and that puts incredible emotional stress on the farmeers causing some of them to resign from their profession, In addition, the negative press from killing wolves is attributed to the membership of Switzerland in the Berner convention and the SAB therefore proposes to the Swiss government to cancel their membership to be able to kill wolves without violating European Laws. An additonal arguemtn that the wolves should be killed in Switzerland is  athat the wolf is not an endangered species anymore since the wolf population in Eastern Europe is on the rise.

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One thought on “Swiss association of the mountain villages, regions and landowners pledges for shooting of wolves

  1. My name is Vincent Kennard. You don’t know me but I am the author of The Wolf Chronicles which is a fantasy novel so it has very little bearing on what I am about to suggest.

    I am also the founder of The Wolf Army International. An international organization for the preservation and reintroduction of wolves in the wild. With that we mean the wilderness areas still available for them.

    When it comes to wolves I am no layman. I have lived with them for two years in the Urals and done a lot of research on their behavioural patterns. I have been studying them since 1978.
    I may have a solution to your problems with wolves taking livestock. I do not say that wolves will not ever take livestock. That will be folly. No they will but very seldom. If livestock are protected properly I doubt there will be more than ten incidents a year and usually it will be because of a slip up by the particular farmer. Yes be aware of their presence.

    The problem that arises and why wolves do take the easiest available prey which is often sheep, is as old as the conflict between man and wolves. That wolves are being robbed of their staple diet. Rodents, hare, rabbits, ground birds, deer, elk, moose and bison but in particular the small creatures.

    These small creatures form the base of most farmers sport shooting and hunting. They are also wiped out for being “pests” but what is forgotten along the way is that these creatures are the natural “easy” food for wolves that keeps them going through winter and bad times. It also serves as the introduction phase of the wolf juveniles’ hunting education.
    Unlike many people think, wolves do not hunt for fun which you will obviously know. They are also not successful with every hunt with a low success rate of about 20% when hunting large prey. So most of the time they are extremely hungry, especially with the lack of the easy staple diets.
    Re-introduce these small creatures indigenous to the areas where your wolves habituate and do it in great numbers and you will find a sudden downward trend on livestock depredation.

    Please also note:

    No matter what anti wolf factions try to profess, wolves do not increase indefinitely. They are self regulating in that way. When food and territory are available they will increase in number. When times are tough they will decrease as they have smaller to no litters, pup survival is low and pack battles with rival packs increase as they try to expand territories to gain more food. They are their own worst enemy.

    My vision for wolves globally is that they are quite capable of co living with us. We must learn to live with them. Not to reintroduce them close to cities and to educate livestock farmers to farm with awareness of their presence. Also educate them to reintroduce the small creatures where there is lack. Shooting wolves on a public hunt, or ad hoc basis will increase livestock depredation especially in the absence of natural “easy” prey. Shooting them has a destabilizing effect on their social cohesion, even the killing of young ones.

    Keep to the rules and we can learn to live with nature and one of its iconic predators by being educated, vigil, and aware.

    Feel free to ask anything on wolf behaviour. I will be only to happy to oblige.

    I hope you take note of my advice and I wish you all good luck in your endeavours to make Switzerland a wilderness friendly state.

    Yours sincerely
    Vincent A Kennard

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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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