First Broadcast: December 15, 2007, 7:15 pm
After the storms named Wiebke and Lothar, the forest economy in Baden-Wuerttemberg ground to a halt. But recently, the forest has once again become profitable, with revenues of 4.4 million Euros coming in from the state forest. Wooden houses are fashionable, heating with wood is considered highly ecological. Fir trees are being re-discovered. The fir is the typical Black Forest tree. It grows best in a near-natural forest and is more resistant to storms and pests than spruce trees. In past centuries the typical Black Forest farm houses were all built from fir. The roof framework of the Freiburg cathedral is the oldest remaining structure made from fir timber. The Dutch naval fleet conquered the world’s oceans with their sails hitched to masts of fir. Even today, strong, straight fir trees in the Black Forest are called “Hollanders”. After decades during which foresters and house builders bet on spruce, architects and carpenters are today turning to fir.¨
The film demonstrates the exceptional characteristics of fir in a newly built house, where it is best utilized, and how this regional product from the Black Forest is seeking its niche in the global timber market. One thing is certain, without market demand for fir, the ecological restoration of our forests will remain an illusion.