Germany is trying to rescue its fabled forests from climate change

forest

(Matt Howard, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Douglas Broom, Senior Writer, Formative Content


Germany’s forests are in a bad way. Two summers of extreme heat and a plague of pests and timber diseases have reduced their area by the equivalent of 200,000 football fields. Now the government has promised to take action to help restore them to health.

Forests have a special place in the hearts of Germans. “For Germans, the forest poses nothing short of a landscape of longing, the epitome of protective nature,” writes Dieter Borchmeyer, Professor Emeritus of Modern German Literature at the University of Heidelberg.

And, of course, they play a vital role in combating rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, absorbing 62 million tonnes every year in Germany – equivalent to 7% of the country’s carbon emissions. But their role as guardian of the nation’s environment is under threat.

Proportion of Germany covered by forests – 1990-2016
Image: Statista

Climate change is at the root of the problem. Storms, droughts, heat waves and wildfires have been compounded by an infestation of beetles and the spread of harmful fungi. Most at risk are traditional woodland species such as spruce, beech, ash, Norway maple and sycamore.

Protecting woodland

Forests cover almost a third of the German landscape, although that figure has fallen recently amid the driest conditions in 50 years. Agriculture minister Julia Klöckner says the future of the nation’s forests is under threat.

“Only if everyone unites will we manage the mammoth task that lies ahead of us – to save our forests not only for ourselves but for future generations,” she recently said.

There is disagreement about what to do. Foresters want to introduce new species able to cope with climate change like Douglas firs and Northern Red Oaks, but ecologists warn of the risk to forest ecosystems of introducing alien species.

Europe is home to 5% of the world’s forests – 182 million hectares – which cover 43% of the EU’s land area. The European Commission earmarked €8.2 billion ($9.1 billion) to reforestation and protecting existing woodland between 2015 and 2020.

In the 10 years to 2015, Europe’s forests grew by the equivalent of 1,500 football pitches every day, thanks to conservation and reforestation. In Scandinavia, forests used for wood pulp production expanded by an area the size of Switzerland.

What’s the World Economic Forum doing about deforestation?

Halting deforestation is essential to avoiding the worst effects of global climate change.

The destruction of forests creates almost as much greenhouse gas emissions as global road travel, and yet it continues at an alarming rate.

In 2012, we brought together more than 150 partners working in Latin America, West Africa, Central Africa and South-East Asia – to establish the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020: a global public-private partnership to facilitate investment in systemic change.

The Alliance, made up of businesses, governments, civil society, indigenous people, communities and international organizations, helps producers, traders and buyers of commodities often blamed for causing deforestation to achieve deforestation-free supply chains.

The Commodities and Forests Agenda 2020, summarizes the areas in which the most urgent action is needed to eliminate deforestation from global agricultural supply chains.

The Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 is gaining ground on tackling deforestation linked to the production of four commodities: palm oil, beef, soy, and pulp and paper.

Get in touch to join our mission to halt to deforestation.

Shrinking forests

Around the world, the picture is less positive. The Worldwide Fund for Nature says Earth is losing its forest cover at the rate of a football pitch every two seconds. It says 10% of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions are caused by deforestation, much of it due to illegal logging.

Last year, an area of rainforest the same size as Belgium was lost, according to the charity Global Forest Watch. The greatest loss was in Brazil, where forest fires and clearing for agriculture reversed a trend of reducing deforestation over the previous eight years.

Image: Statista

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization says there are signs of hope, however. Although the area of the globe covered by forest decreased from 32% to 31% between 1990 and 2015, the rate of loss has slowed and more forests are now being managed sustainably.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

German stock market is not affected by the Greek debt revolution while Athens is running out of time

Merkel had it her way with the refugees & immigrants but can Greece and Turkey deliver?

Summer pause gives time to rethink Eurozone’s problems

UN and partners appeal for $920 million to meet ‘dire needs’ of Rohingya refugees

Future fit: 3 ways fashion can be more sustainable

Better ID card security to curb document fraud

Monday’s Daily Brief: biodiversity and forests, labour and road safety, women’s rights, and fallen UN staff remembered

The European Parliament hemicycle in Strasbourg (Copyright: European Union, 2017 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Mauro Bottaro)

EU Parliament sends controversial copyright law reform back to discussion

Industrial products: Lifting the last impediments in the EU single market

EU and New Zealand launch trade negotiations

Four major resources for new European young entrepreneurs

Digital development: technology-enabled, but human-centric

This is what the gender pay gap looks like in eight countries

The Stray

Why people with disabilities are your company’s untapped resource

What brands get wrong about China – and how to put it right

Global Talent – Professional Internships

It’s just electronic cigarette, don’t worry?

What next for Europe? Three (completely) different Davos views

UN chief welcomes re-opening of key Gaza border crossing

A silent killer: the impact of a changing climate on health

Japan should reform retirement policies to meet challenge of ageing workforce

Facts and prejudices about work

“No labels for entrepreneurs!”, a young business leader from Italy cries out

Electronic Cigarettes: Are they really as safe as we think?

TTIP’s 11th round major takeaways and the usual “leaked” document

Germany’s strong anti-bribery enforcement against individuals needs to be matched by comparably strong enforcement against companies

UN rights chief slams ‘unconscionable’ US border policy of separating migrant children from parents

Why this city is paying people to move there

The remote doctor, can it ever work?

This new form of currency could transform the way we see money

These are the fastest trains in the world

1 in 4 Africans had to pay a bribe to access public services last year

Antitrust: Commission fines Google €1.49 billion for abusive practices in online advertising

On International Youth Day the European Youth Forum calls for true youth participation

Want a fairer society? This economist says he has the answer

Permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) on the table of NATO Defense Ministers amid US concerns

Close to final agreement on the EU Banking Union

3 things to know about India’s space programme

Rising insecurity in Central Africa Republic threatens wider region, Security Council told

EU and Australia launch talks for a broad trade agreement

A Sting Exclusive: “Paris is the moment for climate justice”, Swedish MEP Linnéa Engström claims from Brussels

Parliament toughens its position on banking union

UNICEF warns of ‘lost generation’ of Rohingya youth, one year after Myanmar exodus

Central banking in times of complexity

Climate change: ‘A moral, ethical and economic imperative’ to slow global warming say UN leaders, calling for more action

Draghi’s 2018 compromise: enough money printing to revive inflation and check euro ascent

Nordic noir: The unhappiness epidemic affecting young people in the world’s happiest countries

Trump blocks US warmongers from bombing Iran

Trump ostracized by his party and world elites but still remains in course; how can he do it?

Capital Markets Union: Making it easier for smaller businesses to get financing through capital markets

Further reforms can foster more inclusive labour markets in The Netherlands

Afghanistan: UN ‘unequivocally condemns’ attack in Kabul

MEPs criticise “America first” policy

An economist explains why women are paid less

Madagascar: UN chief commends leaders, State institutions following ‘historic milestone’ election

There is a forgotten solution to climate change that we must invest in – nature

Job vacancy data reveal better prospects for Britain, stagnation in Eurozone

Commission adopts €4 billion investment package for infrastructure projects across 10 Member States

EU fundamental rights under threat in several member states

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s