The trampled trail in the upper Black Tisza curls fancifully, either delving into a dark, harsh forest, then crossing with stormy, crystal-clear streams that are blocked here and there by defeated giant trees, then crossing small darkened glades. After a difficult long walk on the trail, we go out into the wide expanse of bright green Carpathian meadows. Mountain meadow is illuminated by the rays of the generous and seemingly very close sun. How not to rest here, not to admire the fabulous beauty of the boundless bluish distances!
As if having guessed our thoughts, the conductor suggests making a halt. A conversation immediately begins about the plant wealth of this blessed land. Someone recalls the "bread forecast" Michurin. Middle-aged, but strong, like a Carpathian beech, our guide vividly reacts to these words.
More than half a million hectares are occupied by Carpathian beech forests. You can’t stay calm when you go to a small protected area - an island of buchins in the Chinandaevskoye lesnichestvo: giants of two meters thickness, with smooth light gray, as if armored bark, cover the sun with their mighty crowns and rustle with branches at the height of a ten-story building. In this protected 300-year-old forest, it is dark and cool even on the hottest summer days. According to the estimates of the local forestry scientist, about 90 thousand nuts can be collected from one such tree. True, they are not so big: not much more than sunflower seeds (a hundred nuts weighs only 20-22 grams). But a hectare of beech forest gives from 2 to 10 million nuts. Count what the whole Carpathian crop is, and there are still Crimean and Caucasian beech forests!
© Jean-Pol GRANDMONT
Again, a large list of benefits that can be obtained from a small beech nut and from the whole plant as a whole.
The first is oil, thousands of tons, no worse than Provence and the very nuts, no worse than cedar.
The second - proteins, starch, sugar, valuable acids.
Third - the drink, tasty, hearty, not inferior to cocoa.
Fourth - oilcake (protein feed for livestock).
Fifth - a hard nut shell (fuel).
Sixth - wood (goes for the decoration of cabins, salons, cabins, coupes on ships, on airplanes, in trains).
Seventh - tar and creosote extracted from beech wood (a therapeutic agent used for some skin diseases).
There is the eighth, ninth, tenth. But can you tell me everything?
Across the ocean is a cousin of our beech - American beech. It is close not only to the forest beech from the Carpathians, but also to the east - from the Caucasus, which, like the American cousin, forms vast forests - buchins.
In addition, there are many forms of beech wood created by man for decorative purposes or found by him in nature. Such is a beech with a spherical, pyramidal and weeping crown, with white-motley, dark purple and dissected leaves. These forms adorn our parks and streets.
Beech - a tree is calm, even slow. Only reaching 45-50 years, it begins to bloom and bear fruit. However, he has nowhere to rush, because the beech lives up to 300-400, and sometimes 500 years. The trees rustling on the Carpathian, Caucasian and Crimean mountain slopes, which were first greened in the 16th or 17th centuries. And next grows a young shoot, whose "bread" will go to people of the XXI, XXII, XXIII centuries. Will our distant great-great-great-grandchildren really appreciate his merits?
Used on materials:
- S. I. Ivchenko - Book about trees