Much less damaged wood in Germany

Article by Philipp Matzku (adapted for; translated by Eva Guzely) | 10.12.2021 - 09:49

Damage in German forests 2019-2021, in 1,000 m³; in the periods 1-12/2019, 1-12/2020 and 1-12/2021 (Q4 2021 estimated) © Federal Ministry for the Environment and Nature Conservation ©

Based on data of the past three years provided by the federal states and the expected damage in 2021, the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture expects that the volume of damaged wood will total 213 million m³ (2018-2021). The economic damage incurred over the past four years adds up to €13 billion. 277,000 hectares are to be reforested.

Germany expects 42.7 million m³ of damaged wood in its states in 2021, which is 36% less than last year (2020: 66.3 million m³) and 38% less than in 2019 (68.8 million m³). This figure is the combination of the actual amount of damaged wood in the first nine months (32.2 million m³) and the volume projected for the fourth quarter (10.5 million m³). Hardwood accounts for 4.1 million m³ (9%) and softwood for 38.6 million m³ (91%). 

With regard to both softwood and hardwood, there is a slight easing of the situation compared to the past two years. The Ministry sees the main reasons for this in the relatively late spring and the cool, rainy summer, which slowed down the development and spread of bark beetles. Another reason is the federal and state funding for the change in composition of forests.

North Rhine-Westphalia is once again the hardest hit state this year with 8.7 million m³ of damaged wood (2020: 13.2 million m³). Bavaria is in second place with 4.5 million m³ (2020: 8 million m³) and closely followed by Rhineland-Palatinate and Thuringia with 4.4 million m³ each. Baden-Württemberg with 4.3 million m³ (7.3 million m³), Saxony-Anhalt with 4.1 million m³ (5.9 million m³) and Lower Saxony with 4 million m³ (6.7 million m³) also record more than 4 million m³ of damaged wood. Hessen reports the largest relative decrease in damaged wood, i. e. -68%, compared to last year (3.2 million cubic meters).

With the exception of the Federal Forests (503,000 m³; 2020: 289,000 m³), the volumes of damaged wood are on the decrease in all federal states.