Forest

A long time ago, there was just water. Than, the islands arose. Washed and shaped by the forces of the sea and carried by the wind grains of sand piled up in the shallow waters. The resulting sand islands began to move south-east – towards the European main land – due to the strong and constant west and northwest winds typical for the North Sea.

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On their surfaces grains of sand are washed up at the coast and blown over the beach. Piling up as soon as they hit an obstacle, Embryo Dunes are formed. Wind blowing over those sand islands erodes sand from the windward side of the dune and deposits it at the lee side of the dune. In a slow and continuing process the Embryo Dune moves with the wind, away from the beach and grows larger. Those Young Dunes (Yellow Dunes) can reach a height of 10m or higher on Terschrelling. This small-scale process of drifting exposed sand is called Dune Migration and causes the movement of the islands for thousands of years.

The Dune Migration creates several rows of dunes. The further away from the coast line, the older they are. Those dunes are called Old or Grey Dunes. This dynamic and natural behaviour of the dunes, a constant process of changing and moving, kept Terschrelling and the other islands of the Wadden Sea drifting towards the coast of the main land till the Dutch settled on those islands. The dunes along the coastline served perfectly as a natural form of costal defence. But the wind kept blowing the sand over the island and moving the dunes, so man needed to stop this dynamic process.

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By planting vegetation on top of the Young Dunes sand erosion and therefore the drift of the young dunes is prevented. Additionally, a black pine forest was planted on top of the old dunes. Black pines match the nutrition poor soil conditions in the dunes. Since black pine trees are no native species on Terschrelling, they needed to be planted by man. Therefore, nuggets of peat and young pine trees were shipped to the island and planted by hand. The pine tree forest anchors the old dunes in place just as the vegetation but furthermore it changes wind stream (upwards channelling) and thus preventing dune drifting. The dunes and therefore the island of Terschrelling stopped moving. One speaks about Static Dunes now.

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Nowadays, the formerly monoculture forest is changing. Deciduous trees have been cultivated and a rich flora and fauna – including numerous birds – can be found. One the first look, one would not imagine the meaning and history of the forest and its location on top of the Old Dunes. But this hidden and invisible story of the place can be experienced. So come to Oerol 2017, meet the old forest at Duinmeertje van Hee and explore its secret history!

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