- Germany is the most densely forested country in Central Europe.
- Deciduous trees cover a good 45% of the stocked forest area and conifers cover almost 55%.
- A conversion of our forests towards more hardwood and mixed stands has been observed for several decades. The proportion of hardwood has increased by around 12% since the 1990s.
Forest, the green heart
Forest produces oxygen and purifies the air. Deciduous forests produce 15 tons of oxygen per hectare every year, coniferous forests even come up to 30 tons per hectare and year. A single hectare of forest filters up to fifty tons of soot and dust out of the atmosphere every year.
Forest is a home
The forest is a habitat for countless animal and plant species. Of all terrestrial habitat types, the forest hosts the most species. Around 4,300 species of plants and fungi and more than 6,700 species of animals live in our Central European forests.
Useful function of our forests
Forest produces our climate-friendly, renewable raw material wood. In Germany, around 60 million solid cubic meters are felled every year, which is generally significantly less than regrowth, with the exception of a few exceptional years caused by calamities.
Recovery function of our forests
Forest offers rest, relaxation and a favorable climate for those seeking relaxation. The forest air is demonstrably healthy and the forest is used intensively for exercise and sporty activities.
Protective functions of our forests
- Soil protection
Forest prevents soil erosion by water and wind.
- Avalanche protection
Forests can prevent avalanches and mudslides from forming and slow down smaller avalanches.
- Water protection
One square meter of forest floor stores up to 200 liters of water. Meltwater and rainwater seep away slowly and become clean groundwater thanks to the good filtering capacity of the soil.
- Climate protection
Forests are the largest terrestrial store of carbon. In addition to the oceans, forests are among the current carbon sinks. Trees absorb the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide directly from the air for their growth and store the carbon in their wood. However, our forests are only a CO2 sink if they record an overall net increase in biomass production. This is achieved through sustainable use and use of wood in durable products.
Our forest is in need!
Our forests are severely affected by climate change because, as long-lived ecosystems, they can only adapt to rapid and severe climate change to a limited extent. Storms, the extreme drought of the years 2018-2020 and the bark beetle infestation - these have taken a toll on the forests in Germany in recent years. For the years 2018 to 2022, a calamity wood volume of 222 million solid cubic meters has been recorded (as of March 30, 2022). The forest area to be reforested is currently around 380,000 hectares!