To rebuild the spire of Notre Dame cathedral of Paris, a thousand century-old trees have been specially felled.

Notre Dame rebuild

A certain type of trees

Victim of a terrible fire on April 15, 2019, Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral lost its roof and its famous spire. Emmanuel Macron had promised reconstruction from 2021. But to rebuild this famous spire, a thousand trees were cut down… To be able to rebuild the spire of Notre-Dame, the architects will have to survey the forest in search of a certain type of tree : century-old or bicentenary oaks 50 to 90 cm in diameter and 8 to 14 m in height.

Trees from Ferrières

It is in the forest of Ferrières that 58 hundred-year-old oaks have been specially felled and skimmed. Owner of this 3,000 ha forest, located in Ferrières-en-Brie, south of Marne-la-Vallée, the Green Spaces Agency (AEV) of the Ile-de-France region has decided to donate these oaks, for some bicentennials, to contribute to the reconstruction of the cathedral and its spire, which had been ravaged by the flames. Two oak trees felled in the forest of Bondy (Seine-Saint-Denis) complete this contribution to the restoration of the monument.

So precious for the French forest heritage

After announcing a reconstruction of the cathedral in 5 years, the government wanted to harvest trees from the four corners of metropolitan France. A way for the executive to reaffirm the universal and eminently national character of Notre-Dame de Paris, which therefore requires a mobilization that is also national. But beyond this narrative of the unity of France, an ecological debate is also raging around the spire of Notre-Dame. The Minister of Ecology, Barbara Pompili, was indeed challenged on the need to use centuries-old oaks, precious for the French forest heritage and essential to certain ecosystems.

The experts are reassuring

In any case, forestry experts are reassuring about the quantities available. French forests have enough oak trees to rebuild the frame and the spire. According to Philippe Gourmain, France has “a stock of oak trees of about 600 million cubic meters, or more than a billion trees, from 5 centimeters to one meter in diameter”. “This stock increases each year by 14 million cubic meters, and the annual removals represent barely half of this growth in the stock” he explains.

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