In October 2018, a strong disturbance hit the Alps. It has been later called “Vaia storm“. Alpine areas including South Tyrol experienced wind gusts of up to 200 km/h, which caused very serious environmental damage and razed entire forest areas to the ground. In the Province of Bolzano, 5918 hectares of forest were completely destroyed, which is about twice the amount of wood that should be harvested annually to ensure sustainable forest management .
Seeing these beautiful areas destroyed by storm called ‘Vaia’, we asked ourselves and some friends how we could help Mother Nature to recover as quickly as possible. At the same time we wanted to highlight the importance of the forest ecosystem and alert everyone to the dangers of global warming and its devastating effects.
Moving from the simple idea of doing something to an actual project took months, full of stimuli and challenges. First of all, the Forestry Corps was contacted and, having taken an interest in the issue from the outset, provided the first operational and background information. The Corps pointed out, for example, that only a fraction of the damaged slopes are reforested: these are those subject to hydro-geological risk or close to infrastructures such as houses and ski slopes. On the other hand, for the other slopes, we rely on mother nature, which – also thanks to a favorable pollination period in 2019 – has already managed to give birth to many new saplings without altering the forest’s DNA.
Despite the operational practices used by the Corps, an area in Obereggen was jointly identified where spruce, larch and rowan trees from the provincial nursery can be planted. These will speed up the reconstitution of the forest and stabilize the slope.