Trossachs in Autumn.
Trossachs in Autumn.

The word wipfel is the German term for a tree-top. From the top of a tree we get a unique, often exhilirating, view of the forest below and the world around. This web page includes writings, photo galleries and other media that provide a broader perspective, not necessarily dedicated to silviculture.

Wipfel 01 | Essay

A view from the treetops 

Wipfel 02| Photo-essay

Covered bridges on Route 910 

Wipfel 03 | Photo-essay

Koningin Elisabethzaal in Antwerp 

Wipfel 04 | Photo-essay

Ah, Vienna (Wien)!

Wipfel 07 | Article

Dublin Mountains Makeover [external link – RTÉ]

Wipfel 08 | Photo-essay

Recycling in the Forest of Kocanda

‘I am not an advocate for blanket revisionism, but this is one case where reassigning the Ukrainian name would be accurate and appropriate.’ Photograph: World History Archive/Alamy
Wipfel 09 | Letter to the Editor

Rebranding Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 2 [extrnal link – The Guardian]


Wipfel 01: A view from the treetops | Essay | April 2018 

Reflections on travel to the Black Forest.

Wipfel Essay 01/18

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Wipfel 02: Covered Bridges on Route 910 | New Brunswick | Canada| Photo-essay |October 2019

Covered bridges were once common in eastern Canada. Sadly, no longer. They are wooden structures that shed snow from the bridge deck in winter. Here on NB Route 910, in rural Albert County, New Brunswick, there are two fine examples still standing. It was a wonderful serendipity to stumble across them on a lovely Sunday drive. One (Turtle Creek No 4, built 1912) is no longer on the highway, but nicely preserved adjacent to its original location. The second (Weldon Creek No 3, built 1923) crosses Weldon Creek at Salem, NB. It is in fine working condition, and a great example of the engineering form, still serving its original function after nearly 100 years. The construction with local timbers attests to a time when Albert County was producing large beams of white pine and other species for a thriving forest economy. 

More on the Covered Bridges of New Brunswick here.

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Wipfel 03: Koningin Elisabethzaal | Antwerp | Belgium| Photo-essay | November 2019

Completed in 2017, the Koningin Elisabethzaal (Queen Elisabeth Hall) is a state-of-the-art concert hall and new home for the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra. Designed by SimpsonHaugh and Partners, the hall is embedded within an ensemble of historic buildings, adjacent to the famous Antwerpen Centraal Station. The auditorium itself has a conventional ‘shoebox’ configuration and the walls are lined with curved panels of oak. These features bestow outstanding acoustic qualities for orchestral music. Now settled into their new base, the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra is enjoying a period of critical acclaim. Other leading orchestras are finding their way to perform here. I can confirm it is worth visiting … and all the more special (and environmentally-friendly) if you arrive and depart by train.

More on the Koningin Elisabethzaal, Antwerp here (official site) and here (architect). 


Sample of the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra performing in its new hall: Stravinsky, Firebird Suite (Infernal Dance) 

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Wipfel 04: Ah, Vienna (Wien)! | Austria | Photo-essay | April 2017

Vienna is a city of contrasts. On the one hand, it is a city that retains, and celebrates, its Imperial magnificence and heritage. On the other, at a more human level, it is a place that is egalitarian and inclusive. Vienna consistently scores near the top of international league tables for quality of life and sustainability; the world looks here for a model of urban living in the 21st century. It is hard not to fall for the charms and the people of Vienna. This photo-essay includes just a few images from a recent trip. Taken with my trusty Nikon F100 and using Kodak Colorplus 200 film, the resulting “snaps”, for me, have a timeless quality … until you clue into the modern fashions, colours and cars that appear here and there. 

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Wipfel 05: The Biltmore Forest School and the Cradle of Forestry | Pisgah National Forest | United States | Photo-essay| October 2013

The Biltmore Forest School was the first professional forestry college in the United States. It was established in 1898 on the Biltmore Estate, near Asheville, North Carolina by Dr Carl Schenck (1868-1955). The estate was owned by George Vanderbilt (1862-1914) and at its peak amounted to approximately 50,000 ha (125,000 acres). The estate was one of the first forests in the USA to be managed on scientific principles, and provided the ideal training ground for professional foresters. Carl Schenck was responsible for management of the forest and was director of the forestry school. When he left the estate in 1909, the school continued under his aegis in a number of locations until eventually ceasing operation in 1913. The presentation here includes pictures from a study trip to North Carolina in 2013. Many original or re-constructed buildings can be seen at the Cradle of Forestry, a museum and heritage centre on the location of the original school, operated by the US Forest Service as part of what is now the Pisgah National Forest.    

Additional Resources: presentation  and article .

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Wipfel 06: Together: Pinus sylvestris and Formica lugubris| Boat of Garten | Strathspey | Scotland | Photo-essay | August 2019

Here from summer 2019 are a few pictures of a pinewood near Boat of Garten. There is a healthy population of northern hairy wood ants (Formica lugubris). Each ant colony has its own Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris); the ants cultivate and farm a population of aphids and help protect the tree from predators. The relationship is especially common on older, mature pine trees with wide-spreading crowns that reach to the forest canopy. It is a wonderful example of mutualism. Equipment: Nikon F100; Kodak ColorPlus 200 film.

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Wipfel 08: Recycling in the Forest of Kocanda| Kocanda Demonstration Forest | Czech Republic | Photo-essay | October 2018

The Kocanda Demonstration Forest is located in the Moravian uplands of the Czech Republic. The forest has been managed continuously for many generations, and in places some very mature, “old-growth” stands have been able to develop. Here we see large beech and other broadleaves, important features in the Czech forest landscape. As time passes these trees start to decline, then die, initially standing and then falling over to the ground. They appear to melt away under a blanket of leaves and moss. All this is thanks to the action of fungi, insects and forest creatures that help to break down the physical structures and recycle the trees, returning their nutrients and minerals to the soil. Equipment: Nikon D3100.

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Page Updated: 01 April 2020.