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"Harzgespräche" about the forest dieback


Students want to raise awareness of climate damage with a documentary film

Tree death, bark beetles, fire danger - the effects of climate change have been endangering German forests for years. According to the district, around 21,000 hectares of forest are bare in the Harz alone. The students Lea Yilmaz and Carina Fischbach want to draw attention to this problem. For their film project in the Digital Media Production course at Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences, they have produced a report on the forests in the Harz. They were supported by Dr. Lutz Fehrmann, who runs the YouTube channel "Forest Inventory" at the Georg-August University of Göttingen. The film can be viewed at

Anyone who spent their summer holiday hiking may have noticed: the forest in the Harz is getting smaller and smaller. According to official figures, two thirds of the spruces in the region have already died. The persistent drought and pests like the bark beetle are also making reforestation difficult. As enthusiastic visitors to the Harz Mountains, Lea Yilmaz and Carina Fischbach also encounter bare forest areas time and again. "For our study project we wanted to make a film about the environment. A conversation with my uncle Dr Hans-Jörg Fuchs, a lecturer in the Department of Forest Inventory and Remote Sensing at the Georg August University of Göttingen, yielded an interesting topic: the current spruce dieback in the Harz. It quickly became clear that this topic had great potential for a film adaptation. Because the consequences shape the landscape, the topic is highly relevant and topical. We wanted to educate tourists and raise their awareness of the reasons for tree death," says Carina Fischbach.

The students were able to win Dr. Lutz Fehrmann, a research assistant at Göttingen University, as an expert for their idea. "Dr Fehrmann was responsible for the thematic content of the film with his professional expertise. Lea and I took on the entire film production," says Fischbach. This included all tasks, starting with brainstorming, planning, concept development, contacting experts from the Harz region for interviews, preparations for filming, and ending with production and post-production. "The biggest challenge in the implementation was ultimately the coordination between the content of the interviews for the plot and the quality of the recordings. Two of us were responsible for the media implementation and had to keep an eye on two to three cameras, monitor the sound and give instructions to the people in front of the camera," says Lea Yilmaz. They were only supported by Dr Hans-Jörg Fuchs and the student Tao Jiang during the drone recordings.

The students worked on their project for about a year. The post-production alone, in which a data volume of 668.15 GB, about 15 hours of film material, had to be viewed and edited, took half a year. "Pushing our capabilities and skills to the limit during the process is something we see as a big win. We had to go through all the production phases and were able to identify our strengths and weaknesses during this learning test. Lea and I have benefited greatly from this project in our professional development," says Fischbach.

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