Germany, bark beetle crisis: Forestry associations demand 2.3 billion euros from the state

September 09, 2019
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At the end of August, the two big federations of foresters in Germany, the German Forestry Council (DFWR) and The Association of German Forest Owners Associations (AGDW) met Germany's Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner and asked for 2.3 billion euros of public aid to clean the forests attacked by the bark beetle, replant and adapt the forest to climate change. The meeting is intended to prepare the forest summit on September 25, 2019 in Berlin.

Georg Schirmbeck, President of DFWR, sums up the damage so far: around 110,000 hectares of forest have dried up and about 70 million solid cubic meters of damaged wood have been produced in 2018 and 2019. Due to the continuing drought and pest explosion, these numbers could continue to rise.

AGDW President Hans-Georg von der Marwitz made it clear that the forest ecosystem is in danger and sees its salvation as a task for society as a whole. To cope with the current crisis, quick help is urgently needed.

In addition to financial support, the presidents of the two associations demand that a chapter called "forest" be defined in the federal budget. Measures for forest conversion should also to be promoted and investments made in the exploration of climate-resilient tree species. For both Presidents, the focus is on adapting forests to climate change.

Hans-Georg von der Marwitz also calls for a CO2 tax for the forest, which will be used to reward the ecosystem's CO2 storage capacity. Forest and wood would make a contribution of about 127 million tons of CO2 per year and save about 14% of Germany's CO2 emissions. At the same time, the forest is the first to be affected by the effects of climate change. A CO2 levy should benefit the forest and its stabilization.

The two presidents also call for a timber construction initiative with the introduction of a timber construction quota by 2030 for public buildings.