New Life after the Storm
Even the sheltered location could not save the forest around the Karersee from the destructive storm Vaia that struck northern Italy, Austria, Germany and Switzerland in 2018. In the night of 29 October, 5900 hectares of forest in 86 Southern Tyrolean municipalities were flattened by gale-foroe guasts of winds. Welschnofen accounted for around a quarter of the 1.5 million solid cubic metres of storm-damaged timer in the region. In the Latemar Forest alone, 120.000 solid cubic metres of wood were felled by the winds, which is 24 times more than the annual timber harvest.
Forest animals were scarcely harmed by the windthrow. They presumably notice natural events early enough to be able to flee. But their habitat has been transformed. Tree dwellers will become rarer under the changed conditions, while many other species will benefit. Including deer. The appetite of another inhabitant of the forest was quickly held in check: In order to avoid infestation by bark beetles, the fallen trees and branches were removed as quickly as possible and professionally stored.
Pioneers like rowanberry, aspen and birch will prepare the ground for spruce, which is the main species at this altitude. Young plants from the region’s nurseries are being used on a supplementary basis. What is needed now is patience: It will take 120 to 150 years for the forest to reach the same stock level as before Vaia.
Due to various natural events which occurred in 2018, some hiking trails or segments thereof may be temporarily closed.
For this reason, we recommend that you always first inform yourself about the safe condition of the given hiking trail or route before embarking on a tour in midrange elevations (1,200 – 1,700 meters above sea-level).