On Thursday, 20.08.2020, we brought the plans for the Dannenröder Wald (Vogelsberg) to the Frankfurt city center. Background was the day of action of the alliance “WaldStattAsphalt” (Forest not Asphalt), which is committed to the preservation of the forest and of which we are a part.
Northeast of Homberg in the Hessian Vogelsberg district, over 85 hectares of a mixed beech forest with 250-year-old trees are to be cleared. The reason for this is the extension of the A49 motorway. The extension would lead through the Gleental nature reserve, which supplies Frankfurt with drinking water. The expansion of the motorway thus poses a threat to the drinking water supply in the region. The groundwater level has been falling steadily in recent years. The cause of this is climate change: the last 5 years have been the hottest since weather records began and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is also warning of new heat records in 2020.
In addition, the Dannenröder Wald and the Herrenwald forest, which is partially approved for clearing, are flora-fauna habitats (FFH protection areas) with rare plants and animals. The expansion therefore threatens biodiversity and contributes to the extinction of species.
Our forests are already struggling with climate change. The results of the Forest Condition Survey 2019 show that the Hessian forest has never been in such poor condition since the surveys began in 1984. Yet mixed forests such as Dannenröder Forst in particular bind twice as much CO2 as monocultures and are therefore indispensable in the fight against global warming.
For 40 years, citizens’ initiatives have therefore been trying in various ways to prevent the expansion of the A49. While clear cutting has been officially possible since 1 October 2019 activists have prevented this by occupying the forest.
The demonstrations and actions were also directed against the Hessian Minister of Transport, Tarek Al-Wazir, and his party, the Greens. Instead of providing effective climate protection and ensuring the preservation of a drinking water protection area, the Hessian Greens hide behind the coalition agreement with the CDU.
But the last thing we need – in a country with one of the densest road networks – is a new motoway. Instead, we urgently need answers to our ecological crisis!