why the German forest does not feel well and what can be done about it

Tree Planting Day is a type of celebration that is celebrated in many countries around the world. It is connected, first of all, with the restoration of forests.

Arbor Day: Why the German forest is not feeling well and what can be done about it

Wet winters were favorable for forests in Germany. However, bark beetles, which now fly out again, continue to cause problems. Therefore, the forest needs “restructuring”.

See also: Specialists: The Bavarian forest has recovered after years of drought

Restoration of forests in Germany, which have been hit hard by drought and hurricanes, is likely to take years. This year it is necessary to restore about 55,000 hectares of forest in 16 areas. This was announced by the association of forest owners AGDW on the occasion of Arbor Day next Monday.

This means that this year young trees will be sown or planted only in part of the bare areas. This is because the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, in its report on the state of forests, published at the end of March, proposes the restoration of about 380 thousand hectares throughout the country. This is reported by the online news agency t..

Arbor Day: The best starting place this spring

This spring, the initial condition for the forest trees is somewhat better, as last year it was less dry and the winter was quite wet. “Damage dynamics have slowed down a bit,” said Josef Ziegler. He is Vice President of Forest Owners. “If a normal summer comes now, the forests will be able to recover a little,” he added.

But the course of events largely depends on the weather, as noted by foresters and experts. In April, the first generation of bark beetles begins to fly out, which infects firs particularly strongly and can quickly lead to the death of weakened trees. If there is another dry year, it will encourage the spread of beetles.

The damage varies considerably by region

In the largest federal state, North Rhine-Westphalia, 115,000 hectares of forest have been affected by drought and beetles in recent years. According to the Wald und Holz NRW State Forest Service in Münster, this is 12% of the North Rhine-Westphalia forest area.

“On the one hand, reforestation is in full swing,” a company spokesman said. “On the other hand, we do not assume that the destruction of the beetle is over.”

According to forest owners, the situation varies greatly from region to region. “Forest owners in the main damage zones in North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse, Saxony-Anhalt, Lower Saxony, Saxony, Thuringia and northern Bavaria are still struggling with the effects of a three-year drought and severe drought. ». said the spokesman. Damaged areas need to be repaired. And in these areas, there is great concern for consequent damage. “For example, the resumption of the beetle invasion in May.”

The starting situation is more favorable, especially in the south of Bavaria. Bavaria’s state forests expect a reduction in beetle damage in the Free State this year.

Further north, however, state-owned forest companies are less optimistic. There, winter storms also caused more damage than in the south.

According to Wald und Holz NRW, beetle-infested trees should be cut down. And also get out of the forest as fast as possible.

Bark beetles are a serious problem

In addition, bark beetles hibernate in the ground. According to experts, up to 1.3 million people per hectare.

“So the issue of full readiness is not worth it,” he said. According to this, the beetles of the bark begin to fly out at a temperature of 16.5 degrees. 200 bark beetles can kill a healthy fir. “

Bark beetles and their

Beetles and trees collapsing from hurricanes are a current problem. But behind them are the long-term weather and climate change affecting Germany’s forests. Climatologists predict that summers will become permanently drier and storms more frequent and violent.

Quest: “Transformation” of forests

This means that leshozes and forest owners across Germany are facing the task of “restructuring” forests. That is, planting trees that can withstand drought and, if possible, better withstand strong winds.

In particular, this means transplanting fewer firs. In addition, arborists and foresters are conducting international latitudinal research on tree species suitable for planting in Germany.

The cost of reforestation is estimated in the double digits of billions. As many private forest owners have suffered losses in recent years, they are demanding government subsidies.

“Many tree species will not survive in the future climate,” explained Ziegler, AGDW vice president. “Mixed forests with heat-resistant tree species should be started as soon as possible.”

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Top photo: Aleksejs Bocoks / aussiedlerbote.de

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