AdobeStock_118443572.jpeg

Stock photo forest

© Adobe Stock
Damaged wood - Central Europe

A mountain of damages

Article by Gerd Ebner, translated by Susanne Höfler | 19.09.2018 - 11:45

The third bark-beetle generation in Germany coincided with massive drought damages in August. Large spruce tree areas died within a short period of time. It was only at that point in time that the actual extent of damages became apparent. The drought affected Central and Northern Germany in particular, but had an impact on the entire country. Now in mid-September we must assume that the almost 20 million sm³ of windfallen wood will be complemented by around 10 m sm³ of beetle-infested wood (see table below).

Drought curbs fungi

As for windfallen wood, the drought helps in curbing fungi. There is little occurrences of blue stain and red stripe. By now, the windfallen wood volumes are practically fully processed. What is still missing at least in parts, however, is the removal from forests.

Damages struck suddenly

The major part of the up to 10 m. sm³ of wood damaged by beetles in Germany consists of spruce trees. The damages became apparent so abruptly that even to this day, not everybody is informed. "The price doesn't matter as long as it's gone." "Summer Sales" - selling practices are currently almost panicky at times. The negative low is €45/sm³ for BCD wood. The price for spruce trunkwood has been approximating the fuel wood price level. Forest owners accuse particular sawmill industries to exploit the emergency situation instead of contemplating strategies for the upcoming months. For the offered mixed prices of below €50/sm³ "I rather leave the wood in the forest", one forest owner reacts.

Green wood feeling stopped

Since green wood felling in German federal forests has been strongly reduced or even stopped, this assortment could become scarce.

With other roundwood assortments, however, the situation is a completely different one. The prices for industrial wood are more stable and for industrial hardwood they are even on the rise. Another type of wood that is in trouble in Central and Northern Germany is pine. Here, the culprit is the black fire beetle. Furthermore, a large Diplodia dieback can be observed. The dry summer was also harming a lot of larch trees where large extents of losses occur.

Damaged wood | 2017/2018
Beetle-infested wood and windthrow in 1000 sm³

 

Country

2017  2018

 

Logging*

2017 2018
Beetle-infested wood Windthrow Damaged timber Beetle-infested wood Windthrow Damaged timber Damaged timber %

 

Germany

6,000 4,650 10,650 10,000 17,000 27,000 54,000 20 50
2018 Strom "Friederike" caused 17 m. sm³; 10 m. sm³ beetle-infested wood estimation.

 

Austria

3,500 3,000 6,500 3,500 1,300 4,800 19,000 34 25
Conservative assumption: beetle-infested wood this year like 2017; Logging +7% compared to 2017; windfallen wood (Carinthia 1 m. sm³) plus thunderstorms (300,000 sm³)

 

Switzerland

320 50 370 400 1,300 1,700 4,700 8 36
Beetles 2018: upward tendency, but no explosion

 

Czech Republic

2,500 7,500 10,000 17,500 550 18,050 25,000 52 72
March storm; beetle-infested wood 15 to 20 m. sm³

Total

12,320 15,200 27.,520 31,400 20,150 51,550 97,100 28 53
+90 % 2017 auf 2018
* Logging: Germany 2017 Destatis; Austria: assumption +7%; Switzerland 2017 logging statistics; Czech Republic 2017 value plus 5.6 m. sm³