About a quarter of the biosphere reserve is covered in woods. The total area is about 12,500 hectares, of which 58 percent are coniferous. In the main, the woods are pinewoods growing on sandy, nutrient-poor soils.
22 percent of the forested area consists of purely deciduous trees which fare best on moist and nutrient rich soils. The individual stands are quite small, and they include the remnants of the once extensive riparian forests. Of these, about 50 hectares remain in small pockets within the biosphere reserve. The remaining 20 percent of wooded land consist of mixed deciduous and coniferous forests.
Most of the woods are private property, whose owners receive advice and support from the local offices of the Lower Saxony Chamber of Agriculture. The remaining area, i.e. 42 percent or 5,259 hectares, are state owned and administered by the forestry authority in Göhrde through its six district sub-offices.
On account of the way they have developed and their frequently near-natural character and structure, the biosphere reserve woods are of considerable significance from the nature conservation point of view. This is reflected in the fact that they have been placed in the maximum protection zone C. Of greatest concern for nature conservation experts are the remaining riparian forests in the floodplain; without concerted efforts to preserve them there is a real danger of their disappearing completely from Lower Saxony.
The state owned forests are managed according to the principles of sustainable, ecological silviculture (‘LÖWE’). Amongst other aspects, special attention is accorded to their value for the protection of plant and animal species. The forestry and biosphere administrations have entered into close cooperation to achieve these aims.
To encourage a similar approach on the part of the owners of private forests, a framework has been established for entering into contractual agreements on sustainable management. This includes the preservation of stands of old wood, nesting trees, hollow trees and windfall as well as leaving some areas to develop undisturbed. Altogether, priority is given to natural forest development and, where appropriate, a return to traditional management methods.
About a quarter of the biosphere reserve is covered in woods, 58 percent are coniferous