The oak and hornbeam forest


The oak grove charmaie

The major part of the for­est on the Aar­nescht is of the type “oak and horn­beam”. Besides the beech tree for­est, which is the most spread for­est type in Lux­em­bourg, the oak and horn­beam for­est is the oth­er major nation­al wood type. The oaks grow nat­u­ral­ly on the heavy clay grounds of the ösling val­leys (you can find the same con­di­tions on the Aar­nescht) or in the Gut­land. Here and there the beech trees are pre­dom­i­nant, as in for­mer times the oaks were more often used for con­struc­tion purposes.

The most pre­cious prop­er­ty of the oak and horn­beam for­est is the pres­ence of so many dif­fer­ent tree species, bush­es and herbs in a mul­ti­lay­er struc­ture. This abun­dance of species is to be explained by the “open” struc­ture of the for­est, allow­ing the light to enter through to the ground level.

The old forest management system: the coppice-with-standards

The cop­pice-with-stan­dards is a mix­ture of high stem for­est and cop­pic­ing. Some of the oaks and beech­es were pre­served until matu­ri­ty as “achiev­er”. Their fruit served for pig-fat­ten­ing and their stems for con­struc­tion purposes.

Cop­pic­ing is the result of cut­ting down young tree stems to the ground lev­el. New young shoots are grow­ing and are ready for har­vest after sev­er­al years (7–20). The aim of this pro­ce­dure is the pro­duc­tion of fire­wood and barks for tanning.

Thermophile oak wood

On the warm and sun­ny west side the oak wood is sit­u­at­ed before the oak and horn­beam for­est type. This ther­mophile oak wood is very rare with the pres­ence of the Downy Oak (Quer­cus pubes­cens). The numer­ous orchid species and the Wild Ser­vice Tree (Sor­bus tormi­nalis) are char­ac­ter­is­tic for this type of forest.

AA-74bWild Ser­vice Tree
Sor­bus torminalis
AA-74a Downy Oak
Quer­cus pubescens

Upper layer

The oak is a high dom­i­nant tree and needs a lot of light.

Herb layer

On this lev­el you have many ear­ly bloom­ing flow­ers, which in ear­ly spring take prof­it of the first sun­beams warm­ing the ground, allow­ing the flow­ers to bloom before the leaf of the tree crowns is out.

AA-75xLess­er Celandine
Ranun­cu­lus ficaria
AA-75 Cepha­lan­thera damasonium AA-76 Primula
AA-77Daph­na Plant
Daphne mez­ereum