by Wolfgang Flüs
It's just bad. We can watch the forest dieback spreading more and more. Our Trees fight especially with great thirst or with various pests. They let their heads hang in the truest sense. Climate change ensures long periods of heat, serious Lack of rain or bad Naturkatastrophen. Those who suffer from this are above all our valuable trees. You can find more information in the report "What does climate change mean for our forests".
Here you will always be kept up to date with the most important news about forest dieback.
Where did the forest dieback originate?
As the forest will die great damage to forests which have appeared on a very large scale since around 1980. Hence the Concept of forest dieback also shaped in the eighties. Dying trees you acknowledge leafless trees or large gaps in the crown areabecause leaves fall off prematurely.
In 1980 there were considerable concerns about the forest stock, especially in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. A big discussion was the one that occurred acid rain. This means that it was a rain shower with a lower pH value.
Mainly is that air pollution responsible for acid rain due to acid-forming exhaust gases. It was then that air pollution in Europe was at its peak. Factories, heating systems and power plants blew theirs pollutants unfiltered into the air. The resulting acid rain sometimes made soils or lakes as acidic as vinegar. Plants and animals died, and the poison was linked to forest death.
What is the reason for the continuing decline in forests today?
Today, most of the pollutants in factories are filtered and no longer pollute the air as extremely as they used to. But still it will Forest dieback not stopped. The reason is Klimawandelwhich has a drastic effect on our trees and the entire forests. As you probably know, the trees play a major role in our quality of life and health. They filter pollutants from the air, supply us with oxygen and provide an important living space.
But the Klimawandel ensures that our trees are increasingly unable to take on this role. We have been from the for many years global warming affected. Our Average temperature rises So always further and above all faster.
Climate change has the consequence that the Periods without rain getting longer, which is why the Soil dries up. As a result, the trees get stressed by drought and are very thirsty. The Bark bursts, Leaves withern and fall off prematurely. It is precisely then that we speak of tree death. The Groundwater level is sinking further and further down so that the roots can no longer reach it. The attack on the trees is also made easier for pests, as the warm and dry temperatures allow them to multiply better.
If trees could scream, you would have to cover your ears as you walk through our woods. Unfortunately, this is not an exaggeration, but the bare reality.
Forest dieback - the chronology
Here you will find current and past reports that concern forest dieback.
July 2021 - forests are on fire all over the world
Record heat and drought in many parts of the world lead to disastrous forest fires that are becoming more common. The forest is doing badly. The forest is dying. Here is a look back at tragic forest and wildfires in the eventful July 2021:
The Western usa is currently plagued by forest fires and temperatures around 50 degrees. In the states of California, Arizona and Nevada, among others, the authorities are fighting the fire with extinguishing operations. After an extremely dry winter, the forest fires in the west of the country started unusually early this year. An interim result: From January to July, an area of 574 square kilometers was destroyed by flames in California. In the comparable period of 2020, the fires extended over a significantly smaller area (158 square kilometers).
The extreme heat also led in western Canada dozens of forest fires. The fires were primarily triggered by 12.000 lightning strikes that struck within a day.
Also in Russia Hundreds of forest fires are raging. Hundreds of thousands of hectares of forest areas in Siberia have been burning for some time. The extensive Siberian forests make a significant contribution to the fight against climate change as a CO2 storage facility. In total, millions of hectares of forest have already been burned this year.
Im Brazilian Amazon Thousands of forest fires raged in the past two months. In June alone there were over 2.000 forest fires, the worst month since 2007. In addition, environmentalists blame President Bolsonaro, who has been in office since 2019, for the worsening situation. You accuse him of promoting illegal clearing. The Amazon rainforest is of central importance for climate protection - it is considered the "green lung" of the earth. The trees can absorb and store CO2. However, when they burn down, die off, or are cut down, the greenhouse gas is released back into the atmosphere.
The record heat wave that hit the Mediterranean with temperatures above the 50 mark in check, has led to thousands of widespread wildfires since the end of July. Affected countries are several European countries such as southern Italy, the Balkans, Greece, Bulgaria and the coastal and holiday regions of western Turkey.
What is being done in Germany to protect the German forest?
In July, the central German federal states agreed on a strategy for a common forest policy that adapts to the current climate crisis in order to make the German forest more robust against climate change. The strategy is based on more mixed forest, natural regeneration, the priority use of native, heat-resistant species, more hunting, better protection against forest fires and more dead wood and wetlands such as bogs. In addition, the soil should be more spared during the wood harvest. Another method is to use seeds from tree species that are more resistant to heat. Here one can rely on specimens that are more resilient and secure the reforestation mandate of politics through DNA tests.
Forest condition June 2021
The forest is doing badly, it is under constant stress. Successive years of drought, long periods of heat and storms - more and more extreme weather. In addition, there is increasing air pollution and serious pests such as the bark beetles, which drill their way through the bark and wood of the trees. Only every fifth tree is still healthy with a full crown.
January to March 2020 - the warmest quarter in 100 years
According to the German Weather Service, the first three months of 2020 will be the warmest quarter in Europe for a whopping 100 years. The years 2018 and 2019 were already too dry. This was followed by a winter that was too warm and a spring that was too dry. Experts estimate that up to 2020 hectares of forest will be lost by the end of 400.000.
2019 - The catastrophe of the century for German forests - around 110.000 hectares nationwide destroyed
Drought, storms and bark beetles kill millions of trees and threaten the existence of forest operations. Around 300 million trees would have to be replanted to compensate for this damage.
2018 - Sharp increase in the forced use of wood after beetle infestation due to drought and heat - BMEL's 2018 wood market report
In 2018, the forests were particularly hard hit by heat and drought. As a result, the forced uses of wood have increased significantly. Storms and beetle infestations also ensured that logging increased by around 20,7% compared to the previous year.