Condition of German forests continues to deteriorate in 2020: official report

2021-02-24 16:05:19 GMT2021-02-25 00:05:19(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

BERLIN, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- The condition of forests in Germany continued to deteriorate last year, according to an annual report on the country's forests published by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture on Wednesday.

"The past three years of droughts, massive bark beetle infestations, storms and increased forest fires have caused massive long-term damage to forests" in Germany, the Ministry noted. The results of last year's forest condition assessment were among the worst since the first report in 1984.

"Our forests are ill," said Minister of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection Julia Kloeckner in a statement. "Anyone who is out in the forest can see the massive damage. The images of forests that have died over large areas are imprinted on many people's minds."

The report found that "never before have so many observed trees died as in 2020." Particularly forests older than 60 years were affected, but younger trees also showed a "negative trend." For the assessment, more than 10,000 trees in Germany are regularly observed and their condition is recorded.

The crowns of many tree species also continued to deteriorate last year. According to the report, only 21 percent of all trees in Germany would show no crown defoliation.

Germany's forests are "still under permanent stress due to nitrogen inputs, drought, intensive forestry as well as inadequate hunting," warned Joerg Nitsch, spokesman for the forest research group of Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) in a statement, adding that the "situation is serious."

The German government must "finally take effective climate protection measures and at the same time massively reduce pollutant emissions from transport, industry and agriculture," added Nitsch.

When presenting the report, Kloeckner said that 1.5 billion euros (1.8 billion U.S. dollars) would be made available to support forest owners and foresters convert forests to better adapt to climate change. Enditem