Uncategorized

Where Are Europe’s Last Fairytale Forests?

NewImageThe best way to explore  “last-of-their-kind patches” might be in the pages of storybooks, or in the chapters of our imagination:

‘in Kay Nielsen’s illustrations for the Brothers Grimm story of Hansel and Gretel, the deep woods are full of secrets. The trees are towering, gnarled, and knotted. Their canopies, crunchy and brown, blot out the sky. On the ground, clusters of ferns unfurl around tree roots; there are patches of grass, and verdant trees studded with blooms. In a glen, of course, sits that devilishly tasty house built from bread and cakes.

The woods are a character in the story. They are thick, tall, and deep—so much so that the young duo could wander them for days. Their allure, and a dash of horror, comes from the fact that they are unknown, and maybe unknowable.

In 2018, they aren’t many truly unknown corners of the globe—few places are pristine and untraveled the way they might be described in a fairytale. Still, dense clusters of primary forests—where trees have grown, for ages, largely undisturbed—exist in patches of the Amazon basin, Southeast Asia, and Canadian and Siberian Taiga. Slivers of Europe are still luxuriant with trees, too, and very old ones at that. But they’re dwindling.

A team of researchers, led by Francesco Maria Sabatini of Berlin’s Humboldt‐Universität, recently set out to map exactly where those oldest, least-disturbed forests are, and how many of them are left….’

Via Atlas Obscura