Alarming situation in the forests of Northern Germany: only one in five trees is healthy

10 czerwca 2024

The 2023 Forest Condition Survey reveals that Germany's forests are in critical condition, with significant funds allocated for forest restructuring.

Germany's forests are struggling: four out of five trees among the common species—spruce, pine, beech, and oak—are unhealthy. This is the outcome of the 2023 Forest Condition Survey published by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). The condition of the forest has scarcely changed since last year. "The climate crisis has a firm grip on our forests; prolonged droughts and high temperatures in recent years have caused lasting damage," summarized Federal Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir, noting that the forest has become a chronic patient.

Increase in Canopy Thinning Since the surveys began in 1984, visible leaf or needle loss in all tree species has increased. The most significant changes were observed in 2019. The overall damage remains at a high level, with little to no improvement compared to the previous year.

For spruce, the rate of severe canopy thinning has risen from 40% to 43%. Spruce has the highest mortality rate among the main tree species. For pine, the rate of severe canopy thinning decreased from 28% to 24% compared to the previous year. Beech saw an increase by one percentage point to 46%, and oak increased from 40% to 44%.

€250 Million for Forest Funding According to Özdemir, the forest needs long-term treatment. "This year alone, we have allocated €250 million for forest funding to prepare our forests for the climate crisis," he promised. Bavaria's Forestry Minister Michaela Kaniber emphasized the need for Özdemir to ensure these federal funds are fully available for forest restructuring. "Otherwise, these are just empty promises. We must not economize on saving our forests," she stated.

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