Niedersächsische Landesforsten | Bienroder Weg 3 | 38106 Braunschweig | 0531-1298-224 | 0175 -9125885 |

Niedersächsisches Forstamt Clausthal

Silviculture and harvesting methods in the Harz region


Historical facts and current problems about silviculture in the Harz region

•Intensive mining industry since 1515 caused forest exploitation

•two kingdoms two different systems of forest management (17th/18th century):

–Braunschweig – mixed forest with broad-leafed trees (livestock farming)

–Hannover – high amount of conifers  (mining)

Toxic deposits  from nearly 5 centuries of mining

•3.350 ha Reparation cuttings  till 1948 (reforestation caused spruce monocultures)

•1.400 ha wind-thrown area in 1972

•Recent forest damages through climatic changes – weakening of the ecosystem

•Increasing population of bark beetle, mice etc.

Difficult terrain (steep slopes, boggy patches) altitude 180 – 762 m above sea level

•Large amount of stands in the “maturing state” (short before harvesting dimension, f. ex. Norway spruce 45 cm; no further thinning required )

•Long borders with the national park (game, tourism...)


Personnel structure of the forest district Clausthal

•7 management areas (Revierförstereien) with in average 1.800 ha

•1 nature-education camp

•50 employees


Natural structure (new forest inventory 2004)

•Productive forest land: 12.535 hectare  (244 ha service for private owners ) 

•313 m3 per ha biomass 3.924.525 m3 in total

•10,1 m3/ ha yearly increment (growth)

•7,7 m3/ ha annual harvesting 73.000 m3 in total

•Tree species:

88% Norway spruce; 6% Beech; 3% Birch, Rowan, willow; 3% oak, Cherry...




chainsaw/ skidder - method (motormanual):    33.000 m3 (own work force)

harvester/ forwarder - method:       40.000 m3 (hired companies/ contractors)


Goals for the next decade

•Continuous harvesting of mature stands (64 %! Reforestation after 1945)

–2004-2013: 540.000 m3 (next decade 700.000 m3 )

•Optimising of the logging track system

•Intensive planting program (70 ha per year, Douglas fir, Beech, Norway spruce...)

•Adapting the game density to allow:

–Natural regeneration of the main tree species

–Douglas fir planting program without fencing