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Preface Assignment
Natural Geographic Region Area
Location Technical Manager
History Inventory

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last modified: 30-01-2003

Arboretum Freiburg-Günterstal: Preface  

The Freiburg-Günterstal Arboretum has been set up in the Municipal Forest District of Freiburg - Günterstal Forest Range - in cooperation with the Forest Faculty of the Albert-Ludwig-University of Freiburg and its Botanical Garden.  

Arboretum Freiburg-Günterstal: Assignment  

An Arboretum should be an enrichment of native forests both for the experts and the non-specialists. Providing a description of native tree and shrub species as well as of those from forests in other continents is of first priority for an Arboretum.  

For experts:  
the Arboretum is a spot of supplementary education: proving and enhancing knowledge of family order, generic term or species of trees and shrubs; determining them and becoming acquainted with them; gathering illustrative material; verifying economical usability and suitability for landscape architecture. It is supposed to help maintain and develop tree species endangered at their natural stands.  

For non-experts:  
the Arboretum is - as for a globetrotter - an opportunity to learn about trees and shrubs of other continents and countries. People interested in dendrology, forestry or horticulture meet new and versatile forest aspects that contribute to the diversity of forests and to the enrichment of landscapes. For native but so far unnoticed or mostly ignored tree and shrub species, e.g. Yew or Service Tree the Arboretum should be conducive.  
Tree species diversity of comparable geographical latitudes is strikingly higher in America or Eastern Asia than in Europe. The reason for this was the evasive movement of tree species during the Ice Age and their later remigration. On the European Continent remigration was - because of the East-West-extension of the Alps - either infeasible or possible only on a small scale. Many tree species that are going to be reintroduced today had been native before the Ice Age Period, e.g. Big Tree (Sequoiadendron giganteum), Red Cedar (Thuja plicata), Yellow Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) and others. From this point of view, reintroducing does not mean cultivating "foreign tree species" but the return of former native species. This is what the Arboretum wants to contribute to.  

Arboretum Freiburg-Günterstal: Natural Geographic Region  

The arboretum is situated in the Atlantic Climatic Zone from 290m to 430m m.s.l., precipitation comes to 1.000 mm/year, from which 600 mm go to the vegetation period (IV-IX), annual mean temperature is ca. 9° C, average temperature during vegetation period reaches about 17° C. Bedrock is Gneiss. Soils usually are deep, humous and clayey brown soils. The whole Arboretum area belongs to more or less inclined, sometimes steep slopes covering all aspects.  

Arboretum Freiburg-Günterstal: History  

Around the turn of the century large-scale cultivations of various tree species - especially Japanese and American - occurred in the Municipal Forests. Plantings of Douglas Fir were started provably in 1896. Today, Douglas Fir Stands of the Municipal Forest District are - beyond regional borders - widely known and are object of national and international excursions. From 1901 to 1911 several hundred thousands of foreign tree specimen were cultivated in the Municipal Forests. An example from 1902 may elucidate this. During that year the forests of Günterstal were planted - among others - with:  

  • 1.940 Mountain Pines (Pinus montana) 
  • 3.800 Douglas Firs (Pseudotsuga menziesii) 
  • 2.600 Caucasian Fir (Abies nordmanniana) 
  • 100 Siberian Larches (Larix sibirica) 
  • 370 Hybrid black poplar (Populus x canadensis) 

Beside the above mentioned species further conifers and deciduous trees were planted: Japanese Larch, Eastern White Pine, Sitka Spruce, Red Cedar, Japanese Cedar, Atlas Cedar, Ginkgo (Maiden Hair Tree), Black Walnut, Black cherry, Locust, Red Oak, Japanese Big-Leafed Magnolia, Sugar Maple and others.  
Reasons for success or failure in cultivation were quite miscellaneous. At first everything - anyhow obtainable - was planted. Geographical, geological and climatic conditions were disregarded. So it was mere accident, whether or not one of those tree species was successful in making its mark against growth energy of domestic species. Many a forester quickly found the cause of the failure: The "new tree species" is good for nothing... Vitality of some tree species however was that obvious a few years after their cultivation, that they were preferably grown, while others weren't taken into account anymore. The cultivation of Douglas Fir and Red Oak could count for a positive example, while - from today's view - predictable negative examples were efforts on Atlas Cedar and Kentucky Coffee Tree.  
Prior Forest Management Planning Reports prove the continuously ongoing use of foreign tree species, admittedly confined by the period of World War I and II. From those many years of experience in cultivation some up to 80 years old specimen, groups or even stands remained until now. Within the Günterstal forest area, besides the extensively dominating Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) conifers like Pinus strobus, Pinus banksiana, Picea orientalis, Pinus ponderosa, Abies nordmanniana, Larix leptolepis, Cryptomeria japonica, Pinus austriaca, Chamaecyparis lawsoniana are found as well as deciduous trees like Quercus rubra, Juglans nigra, Robinia pseudoacacia and Populus x canadensis. All cultivations of various tree species since the beginning of this century were - not only in the Municipal Forest - were aiming at finding tree species with a better growth performance and therefor being suitable for forestry in general.  
Today we know, that only few 'foreign' tree species meet the requirements of forest management as for example Douglas Fir or Red Oak do. And even in the future only few, beside those yet mentioned, will be used in forests; on Pleistocene soils in Northern Germany, for example Pinus contorta latifolia will gain in importance, while Sequoiadendron giganteum in climatically favored areas of Western Germany and some Abies-Species in mountain areas are cultivated and tested. On the whole however, these tree species will reach only little shares of the total forest area. Away from economical interests, foreign tree or shrub species become more and more important in medical and aesthetic sectors.  

Arboretum Freiburg-Günterstal: Location  

The Municipal Forest District of Freiburg, 5.000 ha in size, has 40 % of its area situated in the meadow lands of the Rhine affluents, 60 % belong to mountain forests of the Western Black Forest Slopes. The Arboretum is part of the mountain forest and surrounds Günterstal, a suburb of Freiburg City.  

Arboretum Freiburg-Günterstal: Area  

The whole area of the Arboretum is about 100 ha. It is and will stay integrated into the existing forest stands. They are part of 6500 ha forests (= 43 % forested area) belonging to the urban district (200m - 1300m m.s.l.).  

Arboretum Freiburg-Günterstal: Technical Manager

  Dipl.-Ing. Forst Hubertus Nimsch

Haus Nr. 31
79283 St. Ulrich/Bollschweil

Tel: ++49 ( 0 )7602 - 920309
Fax: ++49 ( 0 )7602 - 920319
e-mail: hubertus.nimsch@t-online.de