Bmel forest in germany results of the forest condition survey 2022

Results of the 2021 forest condition surveyThe crown condition of German forests is assessed in annual sample surveys. This allows changes and risks to be identified and important decisions to be made to protect the forest.

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One third of Germany's land area (11.4 million hectares) is covered with forest. The most common tree species in Germany's mostly mixed forests are the conifers spruce (25 percent) and pine (23 percent), followed by the deciduous trees beech (16 percent) and oak (19 percent) (Source: Carbon Inventory 2017). Crown condition of live trees improved slightly on average in 2021 compared to the previous year. The percentage of sample trees that have died since the previous year has stabilized at a high level. However, an all-clear is not in sight.

The prolonged drought in the 2018 – 2020 growing seasons led to widespread premature leaf drop. In the case of spruce, it favored further mass reproduction of bark beetles. Compared to the previous year, the rate of dieback has increased once again. Primarily trees with an age of over 60 years are affected. It is after these bark beetles-. Drought damage since 2018 about 380.000 ha to be reforested.000 ha to be reforested.

The leafy crown condition of forest trees is considered an important indicator of their vitality. It has slightly improved in many tree species in 2021 compared to the previous year, but there is still a high crown defoliation in all species. The percentage of significant crown defoliation. The of the mean crown defoliation has slightly decreased compared to the previous year. Mean crown defoliation decreased from 26.5% to 25.7% on average for all tree species. The percentage of all trees with no crown defoliation is 21.3%, as in 2020. The tree species spruce, beech and oak hardly fruited in 2021. However, a pronounced fruiting, to the detriment of the foliage, is registered in pine as well as the other coniferous and deciduous trees. Oaks, for example, protect themselves from severe drought by actively shedding fine brushwood, so the tree thins its crown and thus requires less water. Once the drought is over, the tree forms new fine brushwood.

21 21 percent of the trees examined in our forests are without crown damage.

The dieback rate has decreased in 2021 for spruce, pine and the other conifers and deciduous trees. For the tree species beech. oak, on the other hand, it has increased.

The results of the 2021 forest health survey in detail

Since the surveys began in 1984, the percentages of damage levels 2 to 4 and the mean crown defoliation for deciduous trees, v. a. Beech increased sharply. The crown condition of pine. Other conifers, in contrast to spruce, shows no clear trend. The crown condition of pine and other conifers does not show a clear trend, in contrast to spruce. In spruce, a significant increase in crown defoliation has been observed since 2020. Overall, it should be noted that due to the balanced weather conditions in the past year, slight improvements can be observed compared to the forest condition survey 2020. However, the percentage of crown defoliation across all tree species is still at a high level and above the values before 2018, the first drought year.

9904 sample trees on 409 sample points were included in the 2021 survey. The survey covers 38 tree species. Of this, about 80 % is accounted for by the four main tree species: spruce, pine, beech and oak (pedunculate and sessile oak are evaluated together). All other tree species are combined into the groups "other conifers" and "other broadleaves" for the statistical analysis. Approximately 72% of the trees recorded are older than 60 years of age.


In the case of spruce, the percentage of clear crown thinning has increased from 44% to 46%. The warning level accounted for 32% (cf. 2020: 35 %). Without thinning was 22 % (cf. 2020: 21 %). The average crown defoliation has slightly increased from 29% to 30%. Compared to the other tree species, spruce has the highest mortality rate, mainly due to bark beetle infestation. In contrast to the previous year, spruce shows weak fruit formation.


Compared to the previous year, the proportion of significant crown thinning in pine decreased slightly from 26% to 25%. However, compared to 2018, the proportion of significant crown thinning has increased significantly by 10%. The warning level accounted for 59 % (cf. 2020: 54 %). Without thinnings, 16 % (cf. 2020: 20 %). The mean crown defoliation remains unchanged at 23 %. Overall, the damage development of pine remains at the same level. Fruiting of pine has increased slightly compared to 2020.


In beech, the percentage of significant crown thinning has decreased from 55% to 45%. The warning level accounted for 39 % (cf. 2020: 34 %). As in 2019, without thinnings 16 % (cf. 2020: 11 %). The mean crown defoliation has slightly decreased again from 31 % to 28 %. The results show that, compared to previous years, beech has fruited less and has not developed mast.


In the case of oak, the proportion of significant crown thinning has increased slightly from 38% to 41. In contrast, the share of the warning level decreased from 42 % (cf. 2020) to a level of 40 % Without thinning, 19 % (cf. 2020: 20 %). Mean crown thinning has increased slightly from 25% to 27%. Oak is thus showing the first signs of regeneration, but remains at a high level of damage. The fruiting of oak has decreased significantly compared to 2020.

The nationwide forest condition survey has been conducted annually by the states on a systematic network of random samples since 1984. The federal result is calculated from raw data provided by the states at the Institute of Forest Ecosystems of the Johann Heinrich von Thunen Institute, Federal Research Institute for Rural Areas, Forests, and Fisheries.

Background information on the forest condition survey

Changes can be detected and risks assessed through regular sampling surveys of crown condition. The information is an important basis for forest-. Environmental policy decisions to protect the forest. The forest condition survey is part of the forest environmental monitoring. One of the forest surveys according to § 41a Federal Forest Act. The Ordinance on Surveys for Forest Environmental Monitoring (ForUmV), based on Section 41 a (6) BWaldG, entered into force on 1. January 2014 came into force.

Forest condition depends on various factors

Various factors act on the forest condition, which can reinforce or weaken each other in their effect. These include the age and disposition of individual trees, current and past management, site factors, the occurrence of harmful organisms, the input of air pollutants, and others. Weather conditions have a strong influence. Depending on the extent and speed at which it occurs, climate change creates additional risks for forests.

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Forests play an important role in climate protection

Forests are not only sensitive to climate change, but at the same time play an important role in climate protection: German forests make an important contribution in this respect. With 358 cubic meters of wood per hectare, they are among the most stocked in Europe. Around 1.26 billion tons of carbon are currently sequestered in living trees and deadwood (source: Carbon Inventory 2017). The soil condition survey in the forest gives for the litter layer. The mineral soil to a depth of 30 centimeters a supply of another 850 million tons of carbon at. If the underlying soil up to 90 centimeters deep is included, the carbon stock in the soil even exceeds that stored in the trees. Germany's forest acts as a sink, according to the results of the 2017 carbon inventory. Relieves the atmosphere of about 62 million tons of carbon dioxide annually. However, the current forest damage could change the circumstances.

Carbon storage in long-lived wood products further enhances this positive climate impact of forests. Each cubic meter of wood contains about 0.3 tons of carbon, which is sequestered for decades in products such as buildings or furniture. If wood replaces energy-intensive materials in the process, greenhouse gas emissions generated in the production of other materials are saved to a considerable extent. In addition, the use of wood for energy purposes makes an important contribution to the reduction of fossil fuels.

The German forestry and timber industry thus makes a significant contribution to achieving the reduction targets for greenhouse gas emissions set by the German government. Preparing forests for climate change is an important task for the future in which forestry needs support.

The state of forests in the federal states in 2021

The federal result is calculated from data collected by the relevant agencies in the states on the nationwide 16 kilometer-by-16 kilometer network. Most of the federal states condensed the sampling network in order to obtain reliable results at the state level as well. An overview of the country results was included in the document "Results of the Forest Condition Survey 2021" recorded (Table 10 "Forest condition in the countries").

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