Despite the rain at the beginning of May it is not sufficient to replenish the water storage in the forests after a much too dry April 2020 and the past drought years 2018/2019. The forests are at risk of further damage. The German forest industry continues to face major challenges and needs political support. 

According to the German Weather Service (DWD), the amount of precipitation in April 2020 in the whole of Germany was only around a third of the long-term average value of 16 mm. This places April in the ranking of extremely dry months. After rain and cooler days in the first half of May, the temperatures should now rise again: the forest fire risk index (WBI) of the DWD predicts forest fire level 4 for north-east Germany again at the end of May.

In addition to the risk of forest fires and drought stress, the bark beetle is again threatening the previously damaged stocks. “We have to reckon with large quantities of calamity wood again this year. A spruce infested by the bark beetle that is not felled quickly and transported away can infect up to 20 healthy trees, ”comments Leonhard Nossol, president of the raw wood working group.

“The combination of dryness and a lot of dead wood in the forests is literally dangerous, especially at a time when the forests are very popular as contact-free recreation areas. It therefore remains important not to leave so much dead wood in the forest that could increase danger of wildfires, ”adds Lukas Freise, Managing Director of AGR.

This year, too, the industry is faced with the major challenges of removing the quantities of damaged wood from the forests, processing them and at the same time preparing the forests for upcoming climatic extremes. “To do this, it is imperative that the aid promised by the federal government arrives quickly where it is urgently needed. We also need political incentives to boost the processing of wood in industry, which is currently often the bottleneck for the removal of the damaged wood and thus forest protection,” says Freise.

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