You are here: Home Blog Archive ConFoBi goes Nationalpark

Figure 1 – Amazing scenery part 1, a few shades of fog, clouds and sun 

Figure 2 – Amazing scenery part 2, the fearless group of the second day.

ConFoBi goes Nationalpark

One of the central themes of ConFoBi is that protected areas are not sufficiently big enough and not sufficiently connected to protect biodiversity on large temporal and spatial scales. Thus, it is important to integrate conservation measures in managed areas, in our case forests. Some of our study plots are located in protected areas but not inside the National Park Black Forest, we concentrate our work further south. Nevertheless all the ConFoBi disciplines are curious to discover what challenges a National Park faces, especially if it was just recently established and is located in a nearly identical ecosystem.

In mid-November, ConFoBi took the opportunity to have an excursion to the National Park Black Forest. This was facilitated by the fact that there are many personal connections between members of ConFoBi and the scientists of the National Park and Stefanie Gärtner is even part of both worlds.

A group of brave ConFoBi members, including our current visiting PhD student from Padova Alessia Portaccio, took up the challenge and went north. After arrival we realised immediately, winter is coming up! We acclimatised indoors in the NaturFreundehaus in Kniebis, enjoyed their hospitality and a great introduction into the Park as well as the social science research conducted by National Park staff given by Susanne Berzborn. It was fascinating to see what they do and that the important social science component is well integrated from the very beginning. Afterwards we collected our spirits, went outdoors and enjoyed a great walk with the park ranger Lukas Schmidt. Besides 50 shades of fog and sun, we received great insights into more details of the National Park and the daily life of a great ranger. Warmth and calories were recovered back in the NaturFreundehaus, surplus energy was directly spent in vicious matches of table tennis and wild rounds of fast paced Uno with ever changing rules. More calories were recovered next morning at breakfast and afterwards burned in the National Park. Stefanie Gärtner took us on a tour into the heart of Black Forest wilderness. We were intrigued by an attempt to speed up the process of becoming a wilder area and were rewarded by a Three-toed woodpecker who seemed to be quite unfazed by researchers admiring it. Afterwards group dynamics and duties had their turn and two people remained for the final walk in the area.

As with everything new and projects which desire to change things which have been established for long times, the National Park was founded in 2014, it faces controversial discussions. We are thankful for the opportunity to gain personal first hand insights and to discover the long way the National Park has already gone and wish everyone involved all the best for the future steps!

by Johannes Penner (Coordination)