Forstwissenschaftliches Centralblatt

, Volume 90, Issue 1, pp 390–394 | Cite as

Das Wirken von Dr. Georg Escherich für die Tropenforstwirtschaft

  • H. R. Schoenwald


Georg Escherich was born on January 4th, 1870, at Schwandorf in the Upper Palatinate, Germany. From 1888 to 1897 he received a comprehensive training in forestry. His passion for hunting gave him reason to leave for a trip to Norway in 1897 and several times afterwards to Central Yugoslavia.

In 1907 an adventurous game-shooting safari led him across the northeastern part of Ethiopia. In the course of this safari he recognized the great forestry problems in this country. On his second trip through Ethiopia he attempted to solve some of these problems by starting afforestation trials. Unfortunately, political disturbances in the country spoiled most of his efforts.

For his endeavours to improve forestry conditions in the country he was awarded the Star of the Second Class of the Empire of Ethiopia. In January 1913,Escherich entered the services of the German Central Government. Soon afterwards he was sent as a forestry expert to the then German Cameroon to explore the recently acquired district of Rio Muni. Two expeditions provided the valuable information on forest conditions in the coastal region. A third expedition led him through the eastern part of Cameroon as far as the present Central African Republic, and then south to the Kongo river.

Through his expeditions he had realized the great economic value of this central African region. With the help of the German Forest Services in Cameroon he initiated ideas and plans to improve the forest administration and especially to rationalize the use of the growing stock. Apart from these organizational tasks,Escherich suggested extensive research and trials to develop and implement suitable management systems.

All his proposals were laid down in his first study “On the Utilization of the Prime Forests of Cameroon and its Neighbouring Areas”, issued in March 1915.

During World War I he was put in charge of the temporary German Forest Administration at Bialowieza, Poland. The opening up of this historical forest served him as a model for his plans in Cameroon.

The loss of the German overseas possessions after 1918 prevented any realization ofEscherich’s plans in tropical forestry. In 1925, when he hoped to implement his project as a concession in Spanish Guinea, financial difficulties proved prohibitive.

In the years 1923 to 1933 he was active as consultant for improvements in forestry for Bolivia, in Turkey, and Italy.

In a world which concentrated mainly on exploitation of natural resources,Escherich realized at an early stage the necessity for rational utilization of forests, and proposed to increase their production by sustained and integrated management.

Escherich died on August 26th, 1941, at Isen near Munich.


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Copyright information

© Verlag Paul Parey 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. R. Schoenwald
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Weltforstwirtschaft der Bundesforschungsanstalt für Forst- und HolzwirtschaftReinbek, bei Hamburg

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