Sustainable Tourism in European Forests

How to get to know the forests?

Forests change with every season. In spring, they bloom, in summer, they become green and are full of chirping sounds, while in winter, they cover themselves in their winter coats, and in autumn, they lay out a carpet of all kinds of colors. Tree canopies protect us from scorching heat and heavy rain. They present an ideal place for all kinds of adventures, be it a simple walk or wildlife watching. Forests are undoubtedly one of the world’s most important ecosystems, so we need to respect and protect them.

How to behave in the forest?

When in a forest, there are certain rules to follow, if you want to experience full enjoyment and ensure the same for its inhabitants. You shouldn’t leave any garbage behind, as the smallest piece of trash can present danger for the animals. Stay on marked trails because by wandering off the trodden path you can damage the plants and contribute to greater trail erosion. Even the slightest damage to the bark can prevent the tree from growing. You should also watch after your dog and make sure they don’t go chasing after an animal. You also shouldn’t pet wild animals. It’s also important that you don’t eat too many berries and mushrooms because forest animals love them too. And don’t forget – if you remain completely silent, you’ll be rewarded with forest animal encounters. It’s also true, though, that staying completely silent can be dangerous, too, as it can prevent a bear from noticing you and avoiding you.

The European forests

The whole Europe was once covered by forest that consisted predominantly of oak. In the last several years, more than half of that forest disappeared due to the actions of humans. Only a little over two-fifths of the continent are now covered by forests, and few of them are forests, but the forest area is still increasing due to the former agricultural lands being heavily overgrown. the forest cover increased by an area the size of Portugal. Forests have always had a mystical significance for people. They were once regarded as the border between this world and the afterlife and were seen as a dangerous place of magic, which was why only the bravest adventure-seekers dared enter the woodlands, especially at night. There were mysterious creatures living in the dark woods, such as fairies, witches and monsters that children would often listen about in long winter evenings and which they certainly didn’t want to encounter

Europe’s most beautiful forests

The remaining old-growth or virgin forest of Europe can be most easily seen in Białowieża Forest, which is a large forest reserve on the border of Poland and Belarus. It’s still home to wolves and European bison. Some trees, like spruces, oaks, and ash, have reached over six-hundred years. Dead trees, on the other hand, are vital for biodiversity. Interestingly, the forest was first protected as a game reserve in the 14th century. The goal was to protect the European bison, which then faced extinction anyway, but was later successfully reintroduced. There are more than 900 European bison living in the forest now. The latter, however, is now threatened by deforestation.