Wanted: yew trees in the frankenwald

The neanderthals knew it, robin hood and otzi obviously did too, and doctors appreciate it because it is used to develop active ingredients for cancer therapy. And yet it is sought after, the yew tree – throughout the frankenwald. The multitalent is to return to the native forests and for it one drives now still completely different protections on.

But first, why is the yew tree so urgently sought after that a "citizen science project" has now been initiated to secure the help of the population?? Several experts were able to answer this question, as they met at a natural monument near bernstein, a yew tree that is considered to be the oldest tree in the frankenwald. The gnarled tree is about 800 to 850 years old, but it could theoretically live for another 2150 years. No spab, because individual yew trees can actually be up to 3000 years old.

Fritz maier from the bavarian state forests in nordhalben , gregor aas and laura lachenicht from the university of bayreuth, erik jansen from the forestry operation in nordhalben and senior forest councillor brigitta kohler from the office for food, agriculture and forests in munchberg, they all want to "get out of their science kafig", as gregor aas called it. They wanted to take the citizens with them and from this approach a "citizen science project" was born, which aims to search for yew trees in the whole frankenwald and to find and report them. They should become a permanent part of the frankenwald again.

"This rare tree species is in danger of extinction. Now we want to take measures to protect and claim them. The region has the right to rare animal and plant species and diversity. Beaver, lynx and wolf have already returned and the yew could do it too."Fritz maier is sure of it and gregor aas agrees with him: "the yew feels good here. It occurs almost on all types of soil and in different climates." This makes them a survivor and an interesting tree species in the climate change.

The project, which covers some 60,000 hectares of forest in both public and private hands, could not be carried out without the help of the local people. Laura lachenicht, who is mainly in charge of the project, is therefore addressing the public with a clear message: "you are supporting a project to preserve one of the rarest tree species in our forests ."

The "inventory" should also ensure that the finds are not "garden escapees", some of which are crosses of non-native species and simply come from the hardware store. The native yew tree, which has existed in europe for more than 20 million years, is to be introduced. Its wood, sought after mainly for the manufacture of weapons, is extremely elastic and was used, among other things, for the manufacture of bows and crossbows. According to laura lachenicht, a large part of the french yew has been transported to england to be made into longbows. They became world famous among others through robin hood. The need had been so rough that the yew became rare in native forests. Additionally, its toxicity has led drivers to remove yew trees from the roadside in order to protect animals. The wood is especially sought after for woodturning and the tree is of inestimable value for medical purposes.

The project, which is probably more medium-term and could take more than ten years, is intended to challenge biodiversity, says maier. In 2026, the first review of the progress made will take place. As a further step, he mentioned scientific studies that will, among other things, ensure that the best locations are selected and the path of the seed is traced.