Originally woodlands with oaks, birches, and beech trees domineered here. As human population increased in the high middle ages the forest was doomed: building wood and timber for heating was needed. People cut down large areas and let animals graze there. The heather that ensued was shaven off together with the soil and used in the stables as bedding and as fertiliser. The soil became depleted and could not provide enough nutrients for new shoots.
New forest – old forest
In the 19th century the Prussians reforested the empty spaces with pine trees. These trees can cope well with meagre soil. However, the reforestation with just one tree type made the forest susceptible to insect attacks and fire. Several times, nearly the entire woodland burned to the ground.
The thinning out over the past 25 years has led to more sunlight reaching the ground which has resulted in other types finding a foothold and the creation of a healthy mixed forest. In the past years the forestry office has planted beech trees, English oaks and sessile oaks in order to slowly transform the coniferous forest back into a natural deciduous forest.