Germany is one of the most bark-beetle-affected countries in Europe. We are talking about a country where clear-cuts over 0,5 hectares are forbidden. However, the bark-beetle didn’t care about that. Now the clear-cuts are spreading out in parts of Germany and suddenly there is a lot of planting to do. Planting that wasn’t planned. Planting that is urgent.
How to replant Germany
From having almost no clear-cuts to plant, they now have approx. 300 000 hectares that need to be reforested due to the bark-beetle and drought calamity during the last four years. It´s not that the Germans didn´t plant before. They did, but mainly under nurse trees that were left to support the new generation of forest (and to avoid making clear cuts). Handling completely clear areas takes other methods. Methods that are not common in Germany, but in countries nearby.
So, companies like Swedish Bracke Forest, Finnish Risutec, and M-Planter are of course active on the German market now where they didn´t have much to do before. One can guess that other manufacturers of planting equipment also turns up to help the Germans to solve the problem.
Why cross the border?
But why should engineering people like the Germans settle for foreign solutions? When the market is there, solutions will turn up. Pfanzelt Maschinenbau and WFW are examples of two German companies that have presented reforestation solutions.
Pfanzelt has simply put yet another couple of applications on their little Moritz base unit. One planter and one seeder, both with ground preparation equipment as well.
WFW, Waldburg Forstmaschinen Wolfegg, is the official German dealer for Eco Log forestry equipment. As an accessory to the Eco Log machines, they offer a range of miscellaneous equipment under the name Multi F. With this equipment you can switch between brush cutters, shovels, or a combined scarifier and seeder. The seeder in this case is made by a German contractor under the brand name Forstsaat. I haven´t managed to get any pictures of this yet but keep an eye on their site. Something will pop up … Maybe we will come back to that in another article.
More local solutions?
I’m sure there are more local solutions. As mentioned above the Germans did plant before, also with machines. One popular method is a carriage behind a tractor in which one or two persons manually feed the plants into the machine that puts the plants in the soil after preparing the soil. Something like the OTL machine below. This machine can be very efficient with the right logistics around it. I guess that the challenge is to get someone to sit in it all day long, day after day.
But as mentioned above, the Germans are engineering people who have a history of building great machinery within many businesses. Cars, trucks, agricultural equipment, woodworking machinery, energy, and much more. So, why not build their own planting- and seeding machines? Maybe, it will be the Germans who finally comes up with a good solution for mechanized planting.