Forests in Germany are “sick” and deteriorating at a record rate in 2020, the agriculture minister said, commenting on the annual forest report released on Wednesday.
Forests in Germany covers about one-third of the country’s total area, on 11.4 million hectares (44,000 square miles).
Main report findings:
- More trees died in Germany in 2020 compared to previous years.
- Only 21% of the trees observed had an intact crown – an indication of how healthy the tree is.
- A record 1.7% of trees died between 2019 and 2020 – nearly 10 times the average.
- Spruce was hardest hit: 4.3% of the trees were dead.
- Deciduous trees are exposed to canopy thinning, which means they lose most of their normal leaf mass.
Various factors cause tree death
Report which examines the condition of 10,000 trees each year Since 1984, several factors have been identified that have contributed to the decline in German forests.
Bark beetle attack is the leading cause of cypress death in the country. This is made worse due to the dry summers which allow the beetles deep into the bark.
The report also blamed the storm, drought and forest fires in the last three years that caused massive damage to German forests.
What is being done to stop forest disease?
“We have launched the largest ecological forest reconstruction program ever,” said Julia Klöckner, agriculture minister, Wednesday.
For this reason, the government hopes to encourage forest biodiversity with various types of trees.
The government has also pledged around € 1.5 billion ($ 1.8 billion) in funding to support urban and private forest owners.
Nature group BUND feels the government is not moving fast enough.
“The German government must finally take effective climate protection measures and at the same time massively reduce polluting emissions from transportation, industry and agriculture,” the group said.
kmm / aw (Reuters, dpa, AFP)