German forests currently store 2.6 billion tonnes of CO2 – govt report
Clean Energy Wire
Germany's forests currently contain 2.6 billion tonnes of carbon in living biomass, deadwood and soil, the government has said in a report on the state of the country’s woodlands. The forests' annual carbon storage effect amounts to 57 million tonnes of CO2 and that of wood products to 4.2 million tonnes. "In addition, wood can replace other materials that are produced using fossil or mineral raw materials and thus avoid emissions," the report says, adding that the storage effect occurs when the carbon is stored in durable wood products, such as in wooden buildings. "Overall, the forest sink offsets around seven percent of annual greenhouse gas emissions in Germany and thus makes a significant contribution to achieving the greenhouse gas emissions targets set by the German government," the report states.
The report stresses that the effects of climate change are already strongly felt in Germany's forests. "The severe storms in 2017 and 2018, the extreme drought and heat waves in 2018 to 2020, and the mass proliferation of bark beetles have led to disturbances and massive damage in Germany's forests," the report says. A total of 277,000 hectares of woodland are severely damaged and need to be reforested. This equals more than two percent of Germany's forests measuring 11.4 million hectares in total, covering around a third of the country's surface area. As a result of the damage, the capacity of forests to store CO2 has been considerably impaired in some regions. "Forests are sensitive to climate change and at the same time play an important role in climate protection," the report says. Since 1990, Germany's forested areas have grown by 200,000 hectares.