HAMBURG (DPA) – The most recent extreme heat damage caused considerable damage to German forests, according to a study by environmental organization Greenpeace.
Between 2018 and 2020 alone there was a decrease in vitality in an area of about 12,000 square kilometers, according to the study presented Tuesday in Hamburg, “Forests in Germany on the way to warm weather.” This corresponds to about seven percent of the considered forest area – or 13 times the area of the federal state of Berlin. In the study, Greenpeace speaks of a “loss of tree vitality of historical proportion”, with many trees dying and large areas of associated stands cleared.
The study authors view forestry as a joint responsibility. It was not only drought in the ground that was decisive for whether trees were damaged or even died in peak years. “Rather, the initial state of the forest stands, which in the past were shaped by their silvicultural treatments, played a decisive role,” said the report, prepared for Greenpeace by the Center for Economics and Ecosystem Management in Eberswald. Data analysis suggests that – if Germany had larger, denser and less intensively managed deciduous forests and accordingly converted to more coniferous monocultures – forest landscapes in regions most affected by drought would not have been damaged the most. ,
The study also gave European protected areas (“Natura 2000”) a poor rating: relative to the report, the loss of vitality was at least as great as outside. This is due to the fact that regular forestry use – “also occurs without restriction in most Natura 2000 areas”.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 211116-99-14927/2
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