“Part of German soul” under threat as forests die
Heat, drought and storms, as well as beetle and fungi plagues, have damaged an area of German forest the size of 200,000 football fields this year, leading politicians to raise the issue to a national level, writes Kate Connolly in The Guardian. “The forest is the best way to save the climate, but right now the forest itself is a victim of the climate catastrophe,” the association of German foresters told the paper. With the forest, a “part of the German soul” is also under threat, Connolly adds. "Forests have been at the heart of Germany’s cultural identity for centuries, and politicians are now seizing the issue – known as waldsterben (dying forest) – as a top priority.” Agriculture minister Julia Klöckner has promised that 500 million euros from Germany’s energy and climate fund would be set aside to save the country’s “most important ally for climate action”. State agriculture ministers from Baden-Wurttemberg, Bavaria, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia and Saxony have called for 800 million euros for the same purpose.
Germany’s forests have recently shifted into the focus of German climate policy efforts as prolonged droughts have begun to take a toll on the country’s biggest ecosystems. Chancellor Angela Merkel has promised funds from Germany’s climate and energy fund for reforestation.