The German forests are to be reforested after heavy damage with millions of aids and better prepared for climate change. Federal Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner (CDU) on Wednesday presented additional funds from the federal government and countries of up to 800 million euros in prospect. The money is to be paid out in the next four years.
Klöckner said at a ministry's "National Forest Summit" that climate change hit the forest faster than expected. The damaged areas are larger than those initially assumed, it is about 180,000 hectares. Reasons are destruction by storms, Borkenkäfer and the extreme drought in the past year. This year too, it has been too dry in many places. Therefore, large afforestations with millions of trees are to be tackled.
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According to Klöckner, the federal government is currently expecting an additional € 547 million in emergency aid for emergency aid. To this end, supplementary funds from the federal states should flow, so that a total of up to 800 million euros come together. The concrete use will now be discussed further. In addition to reforestation, it should also be about practical relief for forest owners.
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Damaged trees need to be quickly released from the forests, explained Klöckner. The areas should not be emptied, however, because deadwood is habitat and source of nutrients. Necessary is also a "stringent hunt", so that tree sprouts are not eaten right away by deer. In addition, there should be a systematic recording of forest damage throughout Germany.
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Klöckner called for avoiding ideological debates. When reforesting mixed forests with a wide range of native adapted to the respective site tree species are preferred to promote. The federal government does not want to replace damage, but to help with climate adaptation.
"Trees have to be big and old"
The President of the German Forestry Council, Georg Schirmbeck, called the 547 million euros of the federal government a significant first step. But for the future, much more money is needed. The North Rhine-Westphalian Minister of Agriculture Ursula Heinen-Esser (CDU) welcomed the federal support. But it is important to be able to call up funds flexibly. "We have to plan for a decade and not just until the end of the next financial year."
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Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) emphasized that the forests had to be converted from monocultures to "stable climatic forests" that better withstand drought and extreme rain. Such forests have a basic foundation: "Trees must be big and old." It is the right way if the state supports it.
The IG BAU demanded significantly more specialists. "The climate-friendly conversion of the forest is a mammoth task, which can be lifted only with additional staff," said Vice-Chairman Harald foam. 11,000 additional forestry workers were needed, half of whom would be employed in private and public forests.
The Green Agriculture politician Harald Ebner said that more money is important and right, but it must be used properly. "The millions now just like autumn leaves scattered in the area for plantations with questionable prospects of success and unclear targeting, would be thrown out money."