German environment minister proposes climate reward for forest owners
Germany’s environment minister Svenja Schulze has proposed rewarding forest owners who gear their forests towards nature and climate protection instead of timber production, reports Spiegel Online. "If the state helps private forest owners to rebuild their forests with taxpayers' money, society must also benefit," Social Democrat Schulze told Spiegel Online. German agriculture minister Julia Klöckner from the Christian Democratic Union has recently announced plans for large-scale reforestation projects to improve the "grave state" of the country's forests. Contrary to Schulze's proposal, Klöckner's plans appear to have continued timber production in mind. The two will take part in a national forest summit on 25 September.
Storms, extreme droughts, a high number of forest fires and bark beetle infestations caused great damage to German forests in 2018, and their "grave state" is expected to deteriorate further in 2019. More than 110,000 hectares of forest are bare and must be reforested, estimates agriculture minister Klöckner, who has called for 500 million euros for reforestation and maintenance.