Dr.Hauschka Med

Perfect equilibrium between humans and nature:
swap horse chestnut for sensory enlightenment

Our forests have been dear to us ever since the Romantic era. Trees are not only the earth’s lungs; strong emotions tie us to them. Are chainsaws in the forest good then? Yes, as when used correctly they work to the forest’s benefit.

It is a Monday morning in January. Head forester Martin Gerspacher and his team stand in the forest in their municipality of Bad Boll, near the Swabian Alb, observing an impressive horse chestnut tree (Aesculus hippocastanum) that has grown there for about 40 years but they are today going to cut down. “This tree is in a former tree nursery area and was originally planted by the forest authorities,” commented Gerspacher, who goes on to explain that horse chestnut trees originate from the Balkans and were not previously found in German forests. “My predecessors used to plant all of the trees here in the forest. Today, we do things differently,” stated Gerspacher. The head forester focuses completely on natural growth and lets the trees sow their own seeds. “This is better than planting as trees don’t like the shock of being transplanted; such trees require far more care than ones that grow from naturally sown seeds,” Gerspacher knows.

However, a certain level of care is still required. To prevent the naturally-seeded trees from encroaching on each other, Gerspacher and his team fell approximately 3,000 trees in the Bad Boll forest every year – equating to an area of approximately 17 hectares. The municipality sells the felled wood to furniture and instrument makers or WALA, which uses the horse chestnut tree bark to produce a tissue-strengthening extract for Dr.Hauschka Med dental care. “If trees are particularly fine, we leave them standing and give them careful care,” commented the forester. Gerspacher also gives as much consideration as possible to the birds. “If possible, we don’t cut down what we refer to as ‘woodpecker trees’, which provide homes to our four species of woodpecker. We also make sure that the flight path doesn’t become completely overgrown as the woodpeckers would stop coming if this was the case.”

This careful treatment of nature is equally important to WALA. It has obtained bark from the Bad Boll forestry community for over 20 years. In doing so, WALA’s need to offset the increasing use of bark with more than pure payment has also grown. The idea of supporting the ‘sensory enlightenment’ forest trail that opened in May 2010 was therefore born. At a length of around two kilometres, the dirt trail winds its way through the natural-feeling Bad Boll forest past ten stations that not only heighten visitors’ own senses but also (re-)open their eyes to the diversity found within mother nature’s forests. We therefore come full circle in combining our enjoyment and love of the forest with its sustainable use: by taking away sensory experiences and giving back compensatory care, a balance is created that benefits both humans and nature – the ideal situation.