This is how Özdemir wants to expand the protection of the forests - timber industry warns: Only every fifth tree is healthy
Created: 05/16/2022, 10:49 p.m
By: Kathrin Reikowski
Cem Özdemir stands in the forest in Steinhöfel behind a net trap for wild boar.
© Soeren Stache/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa
200 million euros for German forests: In consultations between Özdemir (Greens) and country colleagues, concerns about forestry are also discussed.
Berlin - 200 million euros in funding for German forests - Federal Minister of Agriculture Cem Özdemir (Greens) wants to intensify efforts to protect forests this year.
During consultations with his country colleagues on Monday, environmentalists urged an “ecological forest transition”.
Forestry demanded more support from politicians.
"The forests are our natural air conditioner," Özdemir explained after the special conference of agricultural ministers, which was exclusively dedicated to the topic of forests.
"But the damage caused by storms, drought and bark beetles have literally burned themselves into the landscape." This shows what the climate crisis also means for Germany.
"That's why we are expanding our support for the protection and preservation of the forests." There is a risk of forest fires in many places as early as spring 2022.
Özdemir for forest protection in Germany: forest owners complain about billions in damage caused by bark beetles
Among other things, Özdemir announced a new instrument to finance “additional climate protection and biodiversity services in the forest”.
900 million euros are available for this.
"The first module is equipped with 200 million euros and is scheduled to start this year."
In addition, Özdemir promised changes to the so-called Forest Damage Compensation Act.
The regulation that came into force in 1969 no longer meets today's requirements, his ministry explained.
In addition, “the framework conditions for forest conversion towards species-rich and climate-resilient forests with predominantly native tree species” should be created.
German forest owners are complaining about billions in damage from drought and bark beetle infestation.
In the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung
, the President of the German Forestry Council, Georg Schirmbeck, called
material damage "to the amount of 12.5 billion euros, spread over three years of the crisis".
The costs for reforestation, but also for adaptation to climate change, would be around 50 billion euros according to conservative estimates.
The state must support the forest owners: "My idea: one billion euros per year," said Schirmbeck.
Özdemir and meeting of agriculture ministers: BUND demands “ecological forest transition”
Also this year, Schirmbeck assumes that the bark beetle will again cause exceptionally large damage in the forests.
Added to this is the drought in spring, which particularly affects eastern Lower Saxony and Brandenburg.
The environmental association BUND called for consistent steps to preserve forests in Germany in the long term.
"Our forests have been weakened by several years of drought, overly intensive forestry and the large-scale cultivation of conifers," said BUND chairman Olaf Bandt to the editorial network Germany (RND).
"We demand an ecological forest transition."
At least one tenth of the forest area must be designated as natural forest, in which forestry is no longer allowed to intervene.
In addition, there is a need for "an immediate stop in publicly owned deciduous forests that are over 100 years old," Bandt said.
The rapid conversion of coniferous forests to deciduous forests and a different way of dealing with wild animals such as deer, which use new plantings as a source of food and thus damage them, are also necessary.
Özdemir's forest meeting: Timber industry warns against reducing forest use
For its part, the timber industry warned against reducing forest use.
“We need the regional raw material wood.
No other forest may be taken out of economic use or this use restricted, ”said the general manager of the Main Association of the German Wood Industry (HDH), Denny Ohnesorge, the RND.
Much more wood is already growing back than is being used.
"The federal states should refrain from such plans," he emphasized.
According to the federal and state forest status report, only every fifth tree in Germany is considered healthy.
At the beginning of his tenure, Özdemir issued a curious instruction.