The Forestry Research Area in Liliental

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The Soil

The soil structure in the Liliental area is characterised by the loess with its high chalk content and susceptibility to erosion. On the exposed sites, where soil erosion predominates, one can find virgin soil in which the humus free loess extends almost to the ground surface. Through tiny soil organisms and chalk rich soil solution, a transformation from organic matter into humus took place. This took place on the sites where the soil is not so eroded, and where consequently a more advanced soil development was possible. So called “Lösskindl” (“loess children”) can be found locally. These arose through the earlier leaching of the carbonate from the soil and subsequently became separated from the main mass to form the single chalk lumps seen today.

The capacity of the soil to hold water (field capacity) is variable. In areas of shallow soil as well as in areas of steep relief and high surface water runoff, the field capacity is small. Plants that can tolerate drought and carbonate-rich soils can be found here. Deeper and more developed soils in flatter areas, on the other hand, can maintain such a field capacity that natural Beech woods can flourish. The field capacity is even greater in sunken areas and at the bottom of slopes where the washed-away humus-rich soils collect. These superior sites of Liliental are reserved for the more demanding tree species of the arboretum, for example the redwood (Sequoiadendron giganteum [Lindl.] Buchh.).

In the valley of Mühlental, on the eastern edge of the area, a small stream sometimes floods the site. The chalk rich meadow area distinguishes itself therefore in its moistness from the other areas of Liliental. After a period of poplar and fir experiments, these areas are now intended for a wood of deciduous trees, which are well suited to the site.

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