19 Mar 2024, 13:03
Jack McGovan

German forests absorbed six percent of country's emissions in 2021 - statistical office

Clean Energy Wire

Forests across Germany absorbed 52.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2021, which corresponds to 6 percent of the country’s annual emissions in the same year, according to the German statistical office (Destatis). The data includes the full ecosystem of trees, bushes and soil, but excludes carbon stored long-term in wood taken from the forest, such as in construction materials. In 2020, forests, which make up around 30 percent of the land area of Germany, absorbed only 41.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. The increase in carbon absorbed could be attributed to afforestation following damages caused by droughts and insect infestations in the previus years, according to Destatis.

Storing carbon in forests is an important part of Germany’s strategy to have net-negative greenhouse gas emissions after 2045. The coalition government’s Climate Action Law stipulates that the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector should store 40 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents by 2045. However, carbon storage in peatland, forests and other land areas is subject to significant fluctuations.

The forest ecosystem is a significant reservoir of carbon that is sequestered for decades or even centuries, the statistical office said. Throughout Germany, forests store a total of around 3.2 billion tonnes of carbon - the equivalent of 11.6 billion tonnes of CO2. The forest floor is the largest carbon store: Almost half (47%) of the total carbon in German forests is sequestered by the forest floor with its litter and humus layer, followed by standing timber (29%), other wood biomass (16%) and other biomass (8%), Destatis said.

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