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The bark beetle crisis has affected spruce forests in the north-eastern quarter of France since the summer of 2018 and is experiencing a very worrying development. Bark beetle populations are constantly growing and moving, causing massive mortality in trees and forests in Grand Est and Bourgogne-Franche-Comté.

All the lights are red, the intensification of the bark beetle crisis is clear. Following the exceptional climatic conditions, the findings in the field are very alarming. They show an increase in the number of spruce trees ravaged by bark beetles and make sanitary cuts inevitable in the affected forests.

The volumes of bark beetle are expected to double within two years. At the end of June 2020, according to the French Forestry Health Department of the Ministry of Agriculture, 4.6 million cubic meters of wood are estimated to be affected since 2018, including 3 million only in 2019. Professionals estimate that a doubling of volumes of bark beetle wood is expected for 2021 in view of the climatic context of spring-summer 2020.

The geographic extension of bark beetles threatens neighboring massifs. In addition to the amount of wood affected, it is the geographic extension of bark beetle populations in France that worry. Indeed, in 2019-2020 after the lowland areas, insects progressed in the south of Vosges massif. From now on, the plateaus of Doubs and Jura, as well as the center of the Vosges at medium altitude are seeing the infestation progress.

When a forest plot is contaminated, it becomes imperative to carry out a sanitary cut in order to stop the proliferation of insects. As the regional market is saturated, French private managers (forestry cooperatives) and public organizations have organized themselves to remove these woods as quickly as possible locally, by maximizing their use in timber when the quality of the timber still allows it, then to industries in other French regions.

This solidarity initiative of the sector is welcomed by all. However, the 6 million euros in aid ministerial allocated until December 31, 2020 for the evacuation of damaged timber has already been fully consumed. To continue the evacuation of timber, 3 million euros in aid additional 2020 are essential.

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