Since the beginning of the 19th century, differe nt methods of natural regeneration and single-tree orientated systems of management existed in southern Germany and in Switzerland. In the early 1920s, Alfred Möller from Eberswalde created the term “continuous cover forest” (perpetual forest, Dauerwald), which was introduced in the practice of forestry and was controversially discussed by forestry experts. Considerably differing opinions on how to manage this type of forest and on its economical and ecological yield (output) were expressed. During the 1930s, the maxim of perpetual forests temporarily reached the status of a forest economic doctrine in the state forests but it was finally suspended because of additional need of timber in times of war and striving after economic independence. In the aftermath of war, renowned experts of forest science and practice in West and East Germany sought economical concepts of managing the overexploited forests in order to re-establish profit-yielding forests. These efforts led to the founding of the ANW, a forestry panel which turned down the principle of even-aged forests while stressing the importance of sustainability. This can be seen as an equivalent of the traditional principle of continuous cover forests during the 1920s and 1930s. However, after an enthusiastic start, the ANW sank almost into insignificance until the 1980s when the increasing perception of ecology loss re-directed attention towards its ideas. The demands from the ecologically orientated part of our society brought the idea of continuous forests back into current and future discussions in Germany and in other European countries.

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