The second coming

doomsday predictions with respect to the Black Forest in Freiburg, Germany, seem to have backfired. Back in the '80s, hysterical cries of imminent death of the forest had reached a crescendo. Thousands of trees then showed an unsightly yellowing and massive needle loss. The present state of the forest, however, belies the gloomy forecasts. Causes for its renewed growth are still being reasoned out. Trees today show 20 to 30 per cent more wood volume and are growing at a much faster rate. Heinrich Spieker, director of the Institute for Forest Growth at the University of Freiburg, says, "Since we began measuring the forest more than 100 years ago, there's never been a higher volume of wood per acre than there is now."