Greens commence deforestation of Germany’s enchanted forest to make way for wind turbines

The Reinhardswald in Germany. (Wikimedia Commons)
By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

The deforestation of parts of the central German Reinhardwald forest has begun as the woodland, famously featured in the Grimms’ fairy tales, is to be cut down to make way for wind turbines.

The forest, which contains trees that are up to 200 years old, is now being cleared for highway-wide construction roads to facilitate the erection of 18 wind turbines around Sababurg Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Nine of the eleven mayors from the neighboring municipalities, including the mayor of Wesertal, Cornelius Turrey (SPD), are campaigning against the construction of the wind turbines.

“The state of Hesse has driven this, Habeck is cheering it on. The Greens in the federal government want wind turbines in the forest. And without sense or reason. We are worried about fire protection, pollution of drinking water, and noise for the citizens,” Turrey told the Bild newspaper.

The Reinhardswald is sparsely populated, and the 200-square-kilometer forested area on a sandstone plateau is renowned for its use in the Grimms’ Fairy Tales and the “Sleeping Beauty” castle of Sababurg.

The project is being led by Hesse’s Environment Minister Priska Hinz (Greens), as the forest does not belong to any of the neighboring municipalities, but to the state of Hesse. In an interview with Bild, the Green politician defended the project: “Wind energy makes a decisive contribution to the energy transition and the preservation of nature. It is the only way to preserve forests and important ecosystems.”

Since construction began on the 241-metre-high wind turbines, animals have been fleeing the Reinhardswald, including lynx, of which there were only around 130 in 2018. No climate activists demonstrated against the deforestation and destruction of the rare animals’ habitat.

For conservationist and Federal Cross of Merit recipient Hermann-Josef Rapp, the deforestation is a tragedy. He has been working in the forest since 1972, first as a forester and in retirement as an expert who has led around 1,000 guided tours. He is regarded as the “voice of the Reinhardswald”.

“It is the treasure house of European forests. An ensemble in a class of its own. You can’t sacrifice it to the greedy wind power league.” Rapp said, who is involved in the “Save the Reinhardswald” initiative.

There is hope for him and the neighboring municipalities in Hesse’s Minister President Boris Rhein (CDU). After the state elections, he announced that he would govern without the Greens and instead with the SPD.

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