In 2020, 80.4 million cubic meters of wood were felled in German forests. This means that logging reached a new record: never before since German reunification has more wood been felled in Germany than in 2020.
As the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) also reports, logging rose again by 16.8% compared to the previous high of 68.9 million cubic meters in 2019. This development is due to increased forest damage as a result of insect infestation, which is also favored by drought and heat: For example, damaged wood felling due to insect damage accounted for more than half (53.8%) of total logging in 2020.
Felling in the wood species group “spruce, fir, Douglas fir and other softwood” has more than doubled since 2017
With a logging amount of 62.2 million cubic meters, the wood species group “spruce, fir, Douglas fir and other softwood” accounted for more than three quarters (77.3%) of the total logging in 2020. For comparison: In the years 2010 to 2017, the annual logging of this wood species group was 25.2 to 30.4 million cubic meters, not even half as high and accounted for around 48 to 56% of the total logging (an average of 54 million cubic meters). The trend towards increased felling of this group of wood species, which has been visible for three years now, continued: 39.4 million cubic meters were felled in 2018, which corresponds to a share of 61.1% of the total logging of 64.6 million cubic meters.
Felling of hardwoods, pines and larches is declining against the overall trend
In contrast, the logging volumes of hardwood species as well as pine and larch declined in 2020. Compared to 2019, the amount of hardwood felled by 12.9% to 10.2 million cubic meters and for pine and larch by 13.7% to 8.0 million cubic meters.
Almost three quarters of the logging is caused by forest damage
The amount of wood felled due to forest damage has increased particularly significantly: the previous year’s very high level of 46.2 million cubic meters of damaged wood rose by 30.0% to 60.1 million cubic meters in 2020. This means that the number of damaged wood logs has increased almost fivefold since 2017 (2017: 12.3 million cubic meters). Both the amount of damaged wood and its share of the total logging amounting to almost three quarters (74.8%) have never been as high as in 2020. In 2020, insect damage was 43.3 million cubic meters for the logging and thus 72 , 0% of the damaged wood harvested responsible, a further 16.9% was caused by wind and storm damage. The amount of damaged wood felled by insects thus significantly exceeded the quantities of the previous record years 2018 with 11.3 million cubic meters and 2019 with 31, 7 million cubic meters. Compared to 2017, the amount has increased more than sevenfold: the annual damage caused by insects in the period from 2010 to 2017 was only between 0.9 and 6.0 million cubic meters.
An increase in the amount of damaged wood indicates a further spread of the bark beetle
The wood species group “spruce, fir, Douglas fir and other softwood” has a share of 88.9% of the total damaged wood harvest. The enormous amounts of felling in this wood species group and the increased amount of damaged wood caused by insects underline a problematic development that has often been discussed in recent years: the bark beetle spreads rapidly in native forests and primarily attacks spruce.
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