28 Apr 2020, 12:26
Freja Eriksen

Spring drought leaves German forests under "enormous stress test" – minister

Zeit Online / Clean Energy Wire

An unusually dry spring has subjected German forests to an "enormous stress test", agriculture minister Julia Klöckner has told the Funke media group, Zeit Online reports. "In recent weeks there has been far too little precipitation in many parts of Germany," the minister noted. Between 14 March and 18 April, less than 10 litres of precipitation per square metre fell in Germany overall, according to calculations by the country's national meteorological service, the DWD. Sunshine, very dry air and winds have also caused high evaporation rates, leading plants to suffer from a lack of water in many places. Klöckner warned that the past mild winter could aggravate the situation as tree pests such as bark beetles were more likely to have survived. German timber industry association HDH also warned that a continued drought could cause a massive loss of trees. "This threatens our ecosystems and the long-term raw material base of our industry. The timber industry and forestry are therefore extremely concerned," said HDH CEO Denny Ohnesorge.

In 2019, Germany experienced its third-warmest year since the beginning of regular measurements in 1881, while 2018 was Germany's warmest year ever recorded. Droughts have led rivers to run dry and caused immense damage to the country's forests, leading agriculture minister Julia Klöckner to earmark 800 million euros to make them climate resilient.

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