The condition of forests in Germany remains tense, according to new nationwide data. Overall, the tree damage “continues to be at a very high level,” according to the 2022 forest condition survey by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, which is available to the German Press Agency. There have now been “no significant improvements in the condition of the forest, but also no significant deterioration compared to 2021”.

Accordingly, 35 percent of the trees across all species continued to have significant damage last year – more than a quarter of the crown was already light. The “warning level” with a weak crown thinning of 11 to 25 percent was again assigned to 44 percent of the trees, while 21 percent still had full crowns. How dense foliage or needles are considered an indicator of health.

support for forests

Minister Cem Özdemir said: “The forest is a patient that needs our help.” The valuable ecosystem is suffering from the consequences of the climate crisis. “We must continue to act decisively so that our forests can defy the drought and higher temperatures in the future. That means: mixed forests instead of monocultures,” said the Green politician. He emphasized that a total of EUR 900 million was available as support for forest conversion.

According to the survey, the proportion of spruce trees with significant crown damage fell to 40 percent last year after 46 percent in the previous year. For pines, on the other hand, it increased from 25 to 28 percent. Accordingly, only “historically low” 13 percent of the pines were without gaps in the crown. In the case of beech, 45 percent of the trees still had significant damage. However, the proportion with full crowns rose from 16 to 21 percent. In the case of oaks, 40 percent still had significant damage, one percentage point less than in 2021.

According to the ministry, the survey has been carried out annually by the federal states since 1984 using a network of random samples. The condition of the crowns is assessed and assigned four “damage levels”. The federal Thünen Institute extrapolates the state data to a Germany-wide result. Forest covers around a third of Germany’s area.