Our Magic Forests


THE EMPIRE OF WATER

2000 years ago, forests covered almost the whole landmass of the world. The loss of these forests is one of the most profound changes on our planet. Our forests are more than green oases. They allow water to evaporate and ascend, as if gravity was turned upside down. Each forest is like a gigantic sponge – from the canopy to the forest soil. Even the Germans, who love the forest with fervour, are just beginning to understand it.

Forests are the biggest fresh water reservoirs of the world – for everything in the forest is set out to save water for bad times. The treetops collect a major amount of rainfall before it gets to the ground, where the humus-rich soil absorbs it like a sponge. Tree roots that are covered in a soft felt by their mushroom friends, store the valuable good. And it miraculously reaches back up to the treetops from the roots – without any motor pumps. Up here it is needed for the photosynthesis. For without water the sugar production in the leaves grinds to a halt and the stomach of the whole forest growls. While the leaves up high gather the energy of the sun, the closed canopy provides a green twilight and a steady cool and moist climate inside the woods. However, too much water leaves many trees to drown. Much like us they die of suffocation. Alluvial forests are therefore the terrain of specialists – and the home of beavers, the sole forest inhabitants who cut down trees. Regardless of the location: Each forest is a gigantic “water bucket” in a global chain of pumping stations. Forests pump the water vapour of the seas inland. The big continents would fall dry without them. Not just because of this, our forests are our most important allies in the fight against climate change. And thus scientists do research with “climate towers” and “treetop-cranes” on the miracle forest.

Forests are the biggest fresh water reservoirs of the world – for everything in the forest is set out to save water for bad times. The treetops collect a major amount of rainfall before it gets to the ground, where the humus-rich soil absorbs it like a sponge. Tree roots that are covered in a soft felt by their mushroom friends, store the valuable good. And it miraculously reaches back up to the treetops from the roots – without any motor pumps. Up here it is needed for the photosynthesis. For without water the sugar production in the leaves grinds to a halt and the stomach of the whole forest growls. While the leaves up high gather the energy of the sun, the closed canopy provides a green twilight and a steady cool and moist climate inside the woods. However, too much water leaves many trees to drown. Much like us they die of suffocation. Alluvial forests are therefore the terrain of specialists – and the home of beavers, the sole forest inhabitants who cut down trees. Regardless of the location: Each forest is a gigantic “water bucket” in a global chain of pumping stations. Forests pump the water vapour of the seas inland. The big continents would fall dry without them. Not just because of this, our forests are our most important allies in the fight against climate change. And thus scientists do research with “climate towers” and “treetop-cranes” on the miracle forest.

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First airing 11th June 2017, 7:30 pm, on ZDF

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