THIRTEEN’s Nature Documents the Cycle of Regeneration and Transformation on Forest of the Lynx
Wednesday, April 26, 2017 on PBS
Actor Toby Leonard Moore narrates the making of an ancient forest
Austria’s Kalkalpen National Park, nestled between two great mountain ranges, is the largest tract of wilderness in the Alps, but it wasn’t always that way. The park was once the site of major logging and mining operations, but those activities ceased more than two decades ago. Abandoned and unmanaged by man, the Kalkalpen’s forests may look like they are under siege from the extreme mountain weather that impacts its landscape in the form of floods and landslides. But it is just part of the process of how the park is reverting back to its natural and primeval state. One of the symbols of this return to the wild is the reappearance of the lynx after a 150 year absence from these woods.
Three years in the making, Forest of the Lynx chronicles life in this remote wilderness and the complex partnerships among plants, insects, animals and trees. The program premieres Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at 8 p.m. (ET) on PBS (check local listings) and streams at pbs.org/nature.
The program follows the life cycles of the park’s inhabitants through the seasons. In the spring, a female lynx sets out to establish her own territory after a year of being reared and taught survival techniques by her mother. It is a solitary life as she has to hunt in a new territory while avoiding other lynxes. In a different part of the forest, another lynx gives birth to two kittens who need her constant attention. They need every chance to succeed as the film states that only one in four will survive its first year.
Meanwhile, the white-backed woodpecker, one of Europe’s rarest birds, is at work hacking into rotting trees to obtain insects and juicy larvae. It survives in Austria due to the vast quantities of dead wood. As it is mating season, the pygmy owl forgoes his attacks on songbirds and yellow-necked mice to woo a female. He wins her over by revealing his tree-hole, created by a woodpecker, as it provides a safe shelter for offspring.
As it gets warmer, trees continue to grow until they somehow know they’ve reached their limit. The film explains that the older trees reduce their intake of nutrients from the soil so that the younger trees have as much as they need. How these trees communicate with each other both above and below ground remains a mystery. What is clear however are examples of how trees try to combat invaders like bark beetles and alert neighboring trees to these attacks as well as respond to periods of drought.
By fall, the beech trees release their nuts which are either stockpiled by small rodents to survive the winter or left to germinate next spring. As winter descends, it is mating season for the chamois who inhabit the steep mountain slopes while the trees become inactive. As for the lynx, their limited reintroduction into the Austrian Alps is being impacted by poaching. But the growing awareness of the lynx’s plight should help protect future populations of this symbol of the ancient forest.
Nature is a production of THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET. For Nature, Fred Kaufman is executive producer. Forest of the Lynx is a ScienceVision Production.
Nature pioneered a television genre that is now widely emulated in the broadcast industry. Throughout its history, Nature has brought the natural world to millions of viewers. The series has been consistently among the most-watched primetime series on public television.
Nature has won more than 700 honors from the television industry, the international wildlife film communities and environmental organizations, including 17 Emmys and three Peabodys. The series received two of wildlife film industry’s highest honors: the Christopher Parsons Outstanding Achievement Award given by the Wildscreen Festival and the Grand Teton Award given by the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival. The International Wildlife Film Festival honored Nature executive producer Fred Kaufman with its Lifetime Achievement Award for Media.
PBS.org/nature is the award-winning web companion to Nature, featuring streaming episodes, filmmaker interviews, teacher’s guides and more.
Support for this Nature program was made possible in part by the Arnhold Family in memory of Clarisse Arnhold, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, the Lillian Goldman Charitable Trust, the Filomen M. D’Agostino Foundation, Rosalind P. Walter, Sandra Atlas Bass, Susan R. Malloy, Jennifer M. Combs, Timon J. Malloy and the Sun Hill Foundation, by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and by the nation’s public television stations.
WNET is America’s flagship PBS station and parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21. WNET also operates NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its broadcast channels, three cable services (KidsThirteen, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings. WNET’s groundbreaking series for children and young adults include Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase as well as Mission US, the award-winning interactive history game. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Theater Close-Up, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams and MetroFocus, the daily multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. In addition, WNET produces online-only programming including the award-winning series about gender identity, First Person, and an intergenerational look at tech and pop culture, The Chatterbox with Kevin and Grandma Lill. In 2015, THIRTEEN launched Passport, an online streaming service which allows members to see new and archival THIRTEEN and PBS programming anytime, anywhere: www.thirteen.org/passport.