Retour en haut de la page
< Back to news
Oak

Gazeteer of France’s great oak woods – Fénétrange, ducal and episcopal

11 June 2019

The continental type forest of Fénétrange owes its name to Jean de Fénétrange, whose widow founded a collegiate church in the middle of this massif in the Moselle region in the 15th century. It is at once national (8,000 ha; 19,700 acres), with woods belonging to the duchy of Lorraine and to the bishopric of Metz, as well as communal (1,000 ha; 2,470 acres).

Published in October 2018, the book The oak in majesty, from forest to wine highlights the concept of forest terroir: a specific soil, aspect, and rainfall, as well as a particular exposure to sunlight, to which should be added the species or variety of tree, the density of plantation, as well as average age, all of which will influence the grain and quality of the wood. The value of a mature high forest will thus depend on both the terroir and in the way in which it has been “led,” as French winegrowers say, or managed, in the words of the forester.

The book, fully illustrated with photographies, compile, through a gazeteer with a lot of details about geography, mesoclimate and history, a list of twenty-six beautiful oak wood forests, as the forest of Fénétrange.

 

The continental type forest of Fénétrange owes its name to Jean de Fénétrange, whose widow founded a collegiate church in the middle of this massif in the Moselle region in the 15th century. It is at once national (8,000 ha; 19,700 acres), with woods belonging to the duchy of Lorraine and to the bishopric of Metz, as well as communal (1,000 ha; 2,470 acres). Oak covers half of the massif located to the west of Sarrebourg, with 20% beech and 20% hornbeam. “On the fringes of the Lorraine plateau at an average altitude of 250 meters (820 feet) and with precipitation at 900 mm (35½ in.), the clay limestone soil is very fertile, but the silt over the clay tends to retain water,” observes Franck Jacquemin, director of the ONF’s local agency. “So we take care to haul the wood only at the beginning of autumn or during a frost.”

Sometimes known as the land of ponds, Fénétrange totals more than 100 hectares (250 acres) of small lakes, connected by a system of canals. A paradise for osprey, a fish eating bird-of-prey, and white-tailed eagle, also a fish lover, that can be told apart by their difference in size and wingspan. The black stork, a forest species, is also present. These are all indicators of an exceptional biotope, favorable to large oaks, 55% of which are sessile and 45% common. They are sold by the side of the road, a tradition in Alsace and in the Moselle region, and sorted into batches for stavewood and for flooring. The local record is held by a piece sold for 1679 euros the cubic meter in 2018.

 

Find out the entire gazeteer of France’s great oak woods, and much more, in The oak in majesty, from forest to wine written by Sylvain Charlois and Thierry Dussard.

Monthly Archive
All tags