Planned clearing of the Dannenröder forest: green ordeal

DA hammer penetrates the trees, and two people fasten corrugated iron to the roof of a tree house. Around 200 people now live in the Dannenröder Forest. Some of them have built huge tree houses and piled tree trunks on the forest paths. Wire ropes are repeatedly stretched across the paths that lead far into the forest and high into the treetops, where a platform then hangs. Below is a sign: “If you cut this, a person will fall down.”

Julian Staib

Political correspondent for Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, based in Wiesbaden.

With such radical measures, forest occupiers want to prevent the clearing for the expansion of Autobahn 49 in Hesse. The project has been planned for more than forty years. Construction is now to begin. The expansion extends the already existing part of the A49 from Kassel towards Gießen. So far, the motorway ends in between – and the traffic continues to torment itself on federal highways. In 2016 the Bundestag decided to build it. The state government is carrying out the project, the district parliaments are in favor, and the courts have dismissed all claims, most recently the Federal Administrative Court in July. Nevertheless, the resistance on site is immense. The project is an acid test for the Hessian Greens.