Forests are nature’s labyrinths encapsulating dense plantations, wildlife, mysteries, secrets, atypical trees, and unusual flora and fauna. Forests are those virgin territories that have won the battle against man’s-urge-to-deforest, and stand triumphant on our planet encasing a beautiful little world of their own. Some of these condensed woodlands have strange biodiversities that make them unusual from the other forests of the world. Some have no wildlife, while some have weird shapes of trees. Here is a list of 10 forests with unusual biodiversity that will definitely amuse you.
1. Crooked Forest, Poland
This Crooked Forest has pine trees that bend sharply to the north before returning upright after three feet of growth, thus resembling fish hooks. No exact reason has been found for their shape as yet.
The Crooked Forest in Poland is a grove of 400 oddly-shaped pine trees. Located near the town of Gryfino, West Pomerania in Poland, the strange growth of these trees remains a mystery to date. The pine trees were planted back in 1930. What is unusual here is that the trees grow with a 90-degree sharp bend northward and then curve back to grow straight up. This peculiar growth gives them the shape of a hook. Despite having an unnatural curve of about three to nine feet at their base, they are all healthy trees and most have a height of about 50 ft.
While there are many legends and theories explaining these crooked trees, the one that makes the most sense is that the local farmers manipulated the trees when they planted them in 1930. The trees received a force when they were seven to nine years old that resulted in their trunk curvature. Other groups of pine trees and vegetation in this forest are not affected.
Whatever the theory, the crooked forest has now become a site for amusement and many tourists flock over to this strange-looking forest to be amazed by the unusual biodiversity.
2. Otzarreta Forest, Spain
The Otzarreta Forest is an unusual forest in Spain where trees shed leaves all year round. The beech trees here shed dried leaves but appear green. The entire ground looks mesmerizing in a reddish hue.
In the midst of the Gorbea Natural Park in the Basque Country, Spain, lies a beautiful and striking forest christened Otzaretta. The Gorbea Natural Park is located in the Basque Country in northern Spain. It is spread across an area of 200 km2. It got its name from Gorbea, its highest peak (1,482 m). This Spanish forest is a real mystery that no one has been able to decode yet. This forest has a particular kind of beech trees that shed leaves all year round. The resultant forest ground looks spectacular with dried red leaves strewn all across giving it a very colorful look.
Normally, trees are known to shed leaves when they are dry, but this forest has trees that shed leaves all year round for no rhyme or reason! There is no scientific evidence to explain this phenomenon. Although, there are many local legends and myths associated with it that give it a spooky look.
Whatever the reason behind the shedding, the ground in this forest looks mesmerizing with reddish-hue leaves strewn all over like a carpet. This forest attracts a plethora of tourists year-round owing to this strange phenomenon. (1, 2, 3)
3. Avenue of the Baobabs, Madagascar
Dozens of Baobab trees line a dirt road near Morondava in Madagascar. The forest with these ancient trees is quite popular among tourists owing to the unique shape and towering trunks of its trees.
The Avenue of the Baobabs, or the Alley of the Baobabs, is a small forest by the dirt road between Morondava and Beloni’s Tsiribihina in the Menable region of western Madagascar. These trees are a prominent group of the Grandidier’s Baobabs and are estimated to be around 2,800 years old. This is one of the most striking landscapes in the country that draws millions of visitors each year. This region was granted temporary protected status in July 2007 by the Ministry of Environment, Water, and Forests. The grove of 20 to 25 baobab trees in this region are endemic to Madagascar and are about 30 m in height.
These trees are known as Renala, Mother of the Forest, in the local Malagasy language. These trees are the legacy left behind by the dense tropical forests that once thrived on this landscape. As the population grew in this area, the forests were cleared, but these trees were left. This unusual biodiversity, typical to this area, is highly valued by the locals for food and building materials. (Source)
4. Devil’s Tramping Ground, North Carolina
Famously known as the “Devil’s Tramping Ground,” a certain patch of land in Bear Creek in North Carolina has some weird myths and legends associated with it. The forest surrounding this bare land is quite dense, but there is no sign of plants or trees on this barren circle.
There is a 15-foot-wide dusty and barren circle located near the Harper’s Crossroads area in Bear Creek, North Carolina. What is strange about this patch is that it is a barren piece of land in the center of a dense forest with no plants or trees growing inside. Even animals or birds have not been known to cross this territory. There are many myths and legends associated with this patch, also known as the Devil’s Tramping Ground.
According to the stories dating back to 1882, it is believed that the Devil comes to dance on this ground. People also say that if you place a heavy object in the center of this circle, the next day, you will find it thrown back out overnight. Whether the myths associated with this area are true or false, it definitely falls under the list of most unusual forests. There is no precise explanation for this strange piece of land yet.
5. Goblin Forest, New Zealand
This forest in New Zealand has an array of kamahi trees with branches and trunks grown in a distinctive gnarled and twisted form, resembling the limbs of a goblin, hence the name.
The famous Kamahi Walk is situated near the area of Mount Taranaki known as East Egmont. The Kamahi Walk has been named the “Goblin Forest” because of the unusual-shaped branches and trunks of the trees. There are decades-old kamahi trees grown on the trunks of other trees. These look like the limbs of a ghost, giving a very spooky look to this forest.
The trunks and branches have grown through the existing branches of other trees and have become gnarled and twisted as a result. They now resemble the limbs of a goblin. The entire forest has these distinctive, gnarled trees. Furthermore, hanging mosses, ferns, and liverworts further add to the strange effect.
This area also leads to the Wilkies Pools, a series of natural plunge pools created due to the scouring action of gravel and water-borne sand. Tourists throng this area to walk through the Goblin Forest and take a dip in the Wilkies Pools. (1, 2)
Also read: 10 Reportedly Haunted Places From Around the World