Good habits of the Sonian Forest

As a visitor, you can help ensure that the Sonian Forest, its fauna and its flora will have a long and beautiful future by adopting some good but simple habits. 

So respect the good habits of the forest during your visit:

To get to the forest without stress, you can take the train, bus or tram.
Cycling to the forest is not only fast but also pleasant, try it!
If you come by car, you should preferably use the large Park & Ride car parks to reach the forest by public transport. This way you avoid the full car parks at weekends and on sunny days.

No matter how small, if you pluck a flower or mushroom, you disturb the natural balance of the forest. Bees look for nectar in the flowers and take care of pollination. Mushrooms degrade dead wood and offer important nutrients to other plant species. And for forest animals such as squirrels, mice and beetles, mushrooms are a nutritious snack.

In the Sonian Forest, there are suitable paths for everyone. Every visitor can practice their sport in all safety and comfort. For the safety of other visitors, it is important that horse riders, cyclists and hikers stay on their own path. Barking dogs on a horse track or a pregnant woman with a stroller on a steep mountain bike track are examples of dangerous combinations.

If you walk on the soil too often, it gets compressed and hardens. Water and air cannot get to the roots of plants and trees anymore. The roots start rotting and the tree dies. If you leave the path, you also damage vulnerable plant species and disturb forest inhabitants.

Litter in the forest ruins the enchanting landscape and annoys other visitors. Moreover, litter is bad for humans, animals and nature: It can pollute the soil, or animals might eat it or get caught in it.

This rule is a good summary of all the other rules. By showing respect for nature and other visitors, every can fully enjoy the forest, now and in generations to come.

As a cyclist, slow down your speed, use your bell to attract the attention of other visitors and remember to thank the walkers who move aside for you.
As a walker, also be alert when you hear bells ringing.

If we want the forest to remain a safe place for roe deer, breeding birds and other animals, owners must keep their four-legged friends on a leash everywhere except in the exception zones. This is also appreciated by other forest visitors. Some people are simply afraid of dogs. They too are entitled to a quiet walk in the forest.

However small, if you pick a flower or mushroom, you disturb the natural balance in the forest. Bees are attracted by the nectar in the flowers and thus provide pollination. Mushrooms break down dead wood and thus provide important nutrients for other plant species. And for forest animals such as squirrels, mice and beetles, mushrooms are a nutritious snack.

Humans aren’t the only ones who appreciate the peace and quiet in the forest. For many animals, some peace is necessary to their survival. Breeding and migratory birds need all their energy to raise their chicks or start the hard journey to Africa.

It is strictly forbidden to light fires in the forest. In dry periods, one cigarette butt is enough to set the forest on fire in minutes.

Carving into trees amounts to hurting them. The wound is a portal for fungi and insects that may weaken the tree.

Wild animals can find enough food in nature. Feeding waterfowl may seem like a good deed, but bread does not contain the nutrients they need. Moreover, the bread starts rotting in the water and the pond becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. These bacteria cause serious diseases such as botulism, with paralysis or even death as a result.

Dead and rotting wood boosts the biodiversity in the forest. It is a source of nutrients for many micro-organisms and invertebrates, and forms an important part of the ecosystem in the forest. Animals such as newts, bats and pine marten often use lying or standing dead trees as a hiding place.

The fight against exotic plants such as black cherry and Japanese knotweed in our forests costs millions of euros. They spread like wildfire and displace local plants. At the moment, we have the situation under control, but in other forests, these invasive plants have already taken over.

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