Forest owners are “in the middle of a disaster”

Forest owners are 'in the middle of a disaster'

"We must not give up fighting for our forest." With these clear words, birgitt ulrich, the managing director of the habberge forestry association (FBG), informed the numerous forest owners and interested parties attending the hartleb inn in maroldsweisach about the state of the local forest. And he is suffering.

With 880 members, the FBG is an association of private and municipal forest owners who own a total of 21,600 hectares of forest. So far, the annual cut has been 32,000 solid cubic meters, but this is changing due to the calamitates. "We are now at a point where forest conservation comes first", ulrich made clear, further sharpening her previous words. During a forest inspection in april of this year in the hofheim area, she was still talking about an imminent catastrophe. Even though the event, which was attended by federal member of parliament anja weisgerber, among others, shook up the political scene and the federal parliament is considering what to do, the FBG managing director has now spoken of the fact that "we are in the middle of a catastrophe". Ulrich urged those present to write letters to their deputies so that they continue to advocate for the forest and its owners.

Forester patrick valtenmeier showed what kind of damage spruce has to contend with. While last year there was an increase in the number of copper engravers in the region, which destroyed the forest, this year there was also the book printer. These two species attack the bark of the mainly weakened trees and multiply rapidly. Among the wood-breeding pests, the striped bark beetle has already been spotted, and even the douglas fir is no longer spared from pest infestation. On the other hand, the beech is particularly hard hit by the heat. There is deep drought damage, especially in south-exposed areas. Cracks in the soil cut through the vital dark roots of the trees. The oak tree, on the other hand, is suffering from the oak moth and the oak moth. When asked about alternative tree species, the forester could only answer that almost all tree species are infested by pests due to the heat damage.

Birgitt ulrich recommended to be open to non-native species when choosing trees, and mentioned among others the chestnut, the silver lime and the robinia. To the fear of one participant in the discussion that he would not be able to market these varieties, ulrich countered that the market would adapt. According to valtenmeier, the goal is a forest restructuring with a good, climate-stable mixture.

Overall, the market is very tight at the moment, the forestry experts explained. Residual pallet and storage wood is under strong price pressure. But demand for fuel is good and prices are stable, just as in the hardwood market. The biggest problem is the chopped wood, which is practically no longer marketable. The FBG had set up collection points for damaged spruce wood. These are located in maroldsweisach, neuses, humprechtshausen, aidhausen and uchenhofen, among other places.

FBG coordinator florian beierwaltes from the office for agriculture, food and forestry informed about subsidy possibilities for forest owners. There is a financial requirement for felling and transport, but this must be applied for before felling begins.

Contractual nature conservation offers another type of claim. The so-called biotope trees have a special value for flora and fauna. They form a microhabitat in the forest ecosystem with specific characteristics for different species and thus increase the biodiversity in the forest. In general, the selected biotope trees are only suitable for firewood, so they have a very low economic value. For leaving them standing, however, the forest owner receives a state payment of up to 195 euros per tree. The trees must be left standing for at least twelve years in accordance with the requirements. And also for dead wood there is a demand. Dead standing or lying trees are an important habitat for 40 percent of all animals. Here, 95 euros can be generated once per tree, also with a term of twelve years. The local state forest rangers will provide further information and also initiate the application procedure.

Further information meetings of the FBG will take place on 29. July at the inn "frankenstuben in ebern, on 5. August in the country inn schramm in robstadt and on 7. August at the "herrenschenke" inn held in konigsberg. Start is always at 19.30 o’clock