Germany’s embattled forests shift into climate focus
Clean Energy Wire / Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
The protection and expansion of German forests is becoming increasingly important to climate protection, as prolonged droughts have begun to take a toll on the country’s biggest ecosystems. Chancellor Angela Merkel said the country’s climate cabinet has debated the options for reforestation as “very, very large damages” threaten this important carbon sink. With thousands of landowners struggling to limit damage to trees on their property, reforestation is “a great task” for Germany’s climate and energy fund, Merkel said.
German landowners fear losses of several billion euros as their forests suffer heat damage and bark-beetle infestation, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports. Larissa Schulze-Trieglaff, spokesperson of forest-owners’ association AGDW, told the newspaper Germany faced “the catastrophe of the century for our woodlands”, saying drought and bark beetles had already destroyed some 110,000 hectares of forest across the country. The drought makes trees less resistant against pests and has allowed several species of tree-eating insect to flourish, the article says.
A study by Zurich University found that planting huge numbers of trees across the globe could be an effective way to limit man-made climate change. Earlier this month, agriculture minister Julia Klöckner said she wanted to use revenue from emissions trading to finance the planting of millions of trees in Germany.