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Posts Tagged ‘Forest Aesthetics’

Walter Cook shared with us his notes from a recent trip to Poland to attend a symposium on Heinrich von Salisch. Cook and Doris Wehlau translated the 1902 edition of von Salisch’s book Forest Aesthetics, which is available from the Forest History Society.

Heinrich von Salisch was a forester who lived in Postel, a hamlet north of Breslau, Silesia, in what was then Germany. In his book, Forest Aesthetics, published in 1885, with revisions in 1902 and 1911, von Salisch argued that forestry was about more than economics. Rather, there was room for not only protecting the forest’s attractiveness, but through simple compromises, land managers could enhance the beauty of the forest without forgoing income.

The English-language edition of Forest Aesthetics.

Last year, Prof. Jerzy Wisniewski, the recently retired head of the Department of Forest Protection at Poznan University, began preparations for a symposium on the life of von Salisch, on the occasion of the 90th year of his death. I was invited to the symposium, which was held on June 18-19, 2010, in Goluchow and Postelin; the former is a village in central Poland and is the site of the Polish government’s Forest Culture Center. (Following World War II, the province had become part of Poland.)

The program began with a tour of the Center, which has several components. A museum of forest history and forest-related and inspired art occupies the “castle,” the palace home of the 18th– and 19th-century owners. Another museum exhibits forest ecology, rare plants and animals, and an especially comprehensive collection of forestry equipment, from a sub-soil ripping plow to tree calipers, dibbles, and transits. A large area of the property is an arboretum, designed in the English landscape style. Animal pens house the rare European bison, the Polish horse, fallow deer, and wild boars. After lunch, the forty attendees, mostly German and Polish foresters, gathered in the classroom of the education building. This building, a converted 19th-century barn, also houses administrative offices and modern guest rooms.

The first speaker, Albrecht Milnik, retired forester from the forest center at Eberswalde, Germany, described the forests of Silesia, and von Salisch’s 625 hectares of forest at Postel. Von Salisch managed his forests for income, wildlife, and aesthetic quality by several adaptive silvicultural practices.

Monika Graulich, a retired librarian from Giessen, Germany, described the genealogy of the von Salisch family from 1769 to the present. She introduced Gisela Ludwig-Roese, a descendent of Heinrich’s uncle. Monika has also provided a new edition of Forest Aesthetics in German but in modern script. Monika had met me in Frankfurt before the symposium and drove me on a tour of the area of Hesse where I was stationed in 1952-54.

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