Why the plant may now be attacked by the bark beetle
The bark beetle eats from the German forest. The tree that was hit by the pest was long considered unusable for decoration. Three companies from the Black Forest show that there is another way.
Wto enter a room whose walls are completely covered with wood, immediately feels a sense of coziness. Just looking at the natural material spreads warmth and security. Heart rate and stress levels decrease. But what is it? The closer you get to the wooden wall, the more clearly you can see small flaws in it. Busy corridors are embossed in the wood. The pattern makes it clear: It was not the worm that was in this tree, but the beetle – the bark beetle, to be exact. But what some consider a presumed defect is purely deliberate. The wall covering is made of ticket wood and is a very hot trend for interior design fans.
“The car-eating tunnels are our gimmick, they are specially embossed in the wood,” reveals the woodworker from the Black Forest, Dominik Kleiser, who together with his father Thomas and the operators of the sawmill Ketterer and carpenter Raphael Pozsgai, developed the concept “Beetle wood – we make what outside “brought to life. The three companies allegedly treat damaged wood and turn it into smart interiors.
“We want to remove the prejudice that wood infested with bark beetles is no longer worth anything,” Kleiser explains. “If the areas affected by the insects are removed, the wood can be processed just as well and look as good as healthy trees.” And it is also more sustainable, because unlike healthy wood that needs to be cut first, beetle wood is available in abundance.
In 2020, 80.4 million cubic meters of damaged wood were recorded in German forests, half of which were caused by book printers and copper engravers, the two most common bark beetle species, which primarily attack soft coniferous forests such as spruce and spruce. Due to the prolonged drought caused by climate change, the low-growing conifers are able to produce less resin, which usually clogs the bark beetles’ caves and prevents them from multiplying. But where there is no water, there is no resin, and then the beetle eats happily from tree to tree, reproduces and reproduces happily – it now has three generations a year.
To prevent the stock from growing, the dead trees must be quickly felled and transported out of the forest in no time. The longer the infested trunks are stored in the forest, the faster the quality of the tree decreases. “Moisture can penetrate the areas where the beetle has eaten into the wood, and fungi can develop, giving the beetle its typical blue color,” Kleiser explains. “The longer the tree stays in the forest, the more it loses its value.”
Damaged wood turns into exclusive designer furniture
This problem wood is then usually sold to Asia at a ridiculous price, where it is processed into paper or cheap furniture and brought back to Europe. A catastrophic CO balance and anything but sustainable. “That is exactly what is so ingenious about ticket wood. We process the wood that still has to be removed from the forest on site, so we protect the environment, ”says master carpenter Raphael Pozsgai, proud of the regional value chain.
At the Ketterer sawmill in Titisee-Neustadt, the areas affected by the beetle are separated from the rest of the wood and made ready to be further processed into designer furniture. Raphael Pozsgai designs exclusive designer furniture such as tables or system furniture, for which he has already won several awards. Dominik Kleiser and his father Thomas process the wood into wall and ceiling panels. “We have bought a new roller that we can use to emboss patterns in the wood and thus give the ticket tree an individual expression.”
Customers can choose between grooved looks, mesh structures, an old wooden look or the boxwood embossing, which is so well received that Kleiser is currently in the process of designing the interior of three holiday homes. “Unfortunately, floor coverings of billet wood are not possible because spruce and spruce are too soft, but individual wood walls are in trend, which immediately gives a room more coziness.”
The forest rangers from the Black Forest hope that the image of the bark beetle will change through use, and that more companies will start processing the natural product instead of felling new trees. “Everyone who drives through the Black Forest today sees many just spots,” Kleiser says. The Black Forest romance from the old Heimat films gives way to wooden skeletons and naked clearings. The future of the German forest looks neither lush green nor rosy. But projects like Käferholz are the perfect way to make a virtue out of necessity and one that really makes interior hearts beat faster.