30 Aug 2019, 14:21
Freja Eriksen

Agriculture minister plans large-scale reforestation to tackle 'grave state' of German forests

Clean Energy Wire

German agriculture minister Julia Klöckner has plans for large-scale reforestation projects to improve the "grave state" of German forests, she announced at a meeting with forest owners, nature conservationists and other representatives of the forestry sector. The agriculture ministry estimates that reforestation and maintenance will cost at least 500 million euros. The "immense damage" caused by storms, extreme droughts, a high number of forest fires and bark beetle infestations in 2018 is expected to continue in 2019. More than 110,000 hectares of forest are bare and must be reforested, the minister said, while fires have destroyed the equivalent of 3,300 football fields in 2018 alone. "The trees that are missing cannot contribute to reducing CO2 emissions," warned Klöckner who called for a national forest summit on September 25. The ministry proposed planting varied types of drought-tolerant trees, improving the water storage capacity of forest soils and monitoring pests and risks, among other measures, to improve forest conditions.

Klöckner has previously cautioned that Germany's “most important ally for climate action” is in danger. As prolonged droughts have begun to take a toll on the country’s biggest ecosystems, forests have shifted into the focus of climate policy efforts and Chancellor Angela Merkel has promised funds from the German climate and energy fund for reforestation.

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