· Naturefund

500 Wild Service Trees in Northern Hesse

The rare Wild Service Tree

Naturefund, together with EURid wants to plant 500 saplings of the rare Wild Service Tree in Northern Hesse. The selected area is an acre of now disused farmland situated on a hill side close to a forest. The land, which is rich in lacustrine limestone, was purchased by the community of Calden. It covers an area of 4,500 square metres, 1,000 square metres of which already consists of valuable and renewable forest with different types of hedges. The rest of the land covers an area of 3,300 square metres, and the core area where the trees will be planted covers an area of 2,500 square metres. The plant spacing of the saplings at 2,0 m x 2,5 m apart will make a total of 500 Wild Service Trees.

The Wild Service Tree (sorbus torminalis) originates from the rose family and thrives in warm nutritious places, with lots of light. It is currently one of the rarest species of tree in Germany. It makes up less than 1 % of all forest areas. There are only isolated groups or single trees. You can find larger areas in France and Austria, but even there the Wild Service Tree is comparatively rare. There are also some mature specimens in the area of Calden, north of Kassel.

Now more and more of this species of tree will be reintroduced. The Wild Forest Tree has a distinctive root system which gives it a stability and allows it to flourish even in periods of drought. Thus, it can cope with climate changes such as increasingly hotter summers and strong storms. Due to the climate changes and the innate tolerance, the Wild Service Tree will probably play a big role as a multi-purpose tree species in middle european forests.

In an ecological sense, the Wild Service Tree is valuable for a large number of species. Its blossom in May and June provides nutrition and habitats for many kinds of insects. In autumn, its berries provide nutritional food for birds and small mammals.

Basic data about the area „Unterer Ringelsbuch“


Northern Hesse, near Kassel-Calden


4,500 square metres


Lynx, Black Stork, Common Raven, Black Woodpecker, Stock Dove, Grey Partridge, Northern Lapwing and many more.


Numerous orchids like Lady's-slippers, Cephalanthera, Soldier Orchid, Violet Helleborine, Giant Puffball.


The integration of the old border of the forest into the new forest area will provide more possible breeding ground, structural variety and ecological abundance. A new ecologically valuable border of forest will be created and develop into a rising gradient of forest border by this second order of Wild Service Trees.


The land is owned by the community of Calden, and the area is under the care of the federal institution „Hessen-Forst“.

Care concept

The area will not be fenced in order to leave it open for animals as a breeding and grazing area. The two year old Wild Service Trees must come from the native area of Northern Hesse and must be individually protected from browsing by wild deer. Between the lines of trees, hardwood meadow cuttings must be stuck into the ground to provide natural ground cover and ecological enrichment such as pollination.

Lynx in Hesse

At the start of 2012, the lynx has been spotted in the forest between Calden, Weimar-Ahnatal and Fürstenwalde. The lynx has been extinct in Hesse since 1833. About 150 years later, in 1985 there were the first hints of its return in Kellerwald, which is now a national park. Meanwhile, there have been more sightings of this animal.

The lynx is the biggest wild cat in Europe and third to the wolf and the bear is the largest wild predator in middle european forests. As a habitat, the lynx prefers large forest areas with dense brushwood. The size of its habitat can vary considerably due to the denseness and structure of the forest, breeding possibilities, availability of prey, the proximity of human settlement as well as the topographical proportions. The average habitat of the lynx covers an area of 250 square kilometres, which it roams through at a rate of 1,7 to 2,6 percent per day. The use and size of the area it inhabits is dictated by the way it hunts.
As a surprise hunter it mainly catches prey that behaves incautiously. The longer it remains in one particular area of its habitat, the more its prey becomes accustomed to its presence and behaves more reclusively. In order to hunt successfully, the lynx must continually change its hunting area within its habitat.

Its spectrum of prey consists more or less of all forms of small and medium sized mammals and birds, although its preferred choice of prey is the deer.

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