23. March 2022

How can we protect the forest?

What do we need the forest for?

What do you think of when you think of the forest? Fresh air, relaxation, cross-country skiing and relaxing walks? Germany is one of the most densely forested countries in Europe. Forests are a special place for relaxation and leisure for many of us. And of course habitat for many animal and plant species. But only a fraction of the forest area in Germany is natural woodlands. Most of the forests here are used economically. We use wood as a renewable raw material for building materials, fuel, for the production of paper or packaging.

How are the forests in Germany doing?

The German Government's current "Waldbericht" (forest report) was published in summer 2021. It contains little positive news: Only one in five trees in the forests of Germany has no recognizable damage in the treetop - the forest in Germany has never been so bad since the beginning of the survey for the forest report in 1984.

Extreme droughts, heat waves and strong storms have severely damaged our forests in recent years (the report covers the period from 2017 to 2021). Bark beetles could multiply massively in the weakened forests, so that large areas of forest died off completely. According to the forest report, a total of 277,000 hectares of forest in Germany are currently destroyed and are to be reforested in the coming years.

Climate protection through reforestation?

Anyone who has ever planted a tree knows that reforesting a destroyed forest cannot happen overnight. Forest conversion is therefore a long-term task, but it must also be planned accordingly in a sustainable manner.

Reforested forests should not only protect our climate, they should also be (more) safe from the negative effects of climate change. That is why native tree species that are adapted to the respective location and the expected climate play a major role here. Reforestation is therefore often referred to as "climate-friendly forest conversion". More resilient mixed forests should replace the previous forest plantations in the long term.

However, afforestation is not the best solution for climate protection for every area. According to BUND, for example, bogs worldwide store around twice as much CO2 as all forests put together. Draining wetlands in order to plant trees would therefore have the exact opposite effect and would harm the climate.

Will you work with us to protect forests and bogs?

Under the motto "Let's take action for climate protection", in 2022 we are dealing with the topic of climate protection in forests and bogs both in our workcamps and in our full-time team and with our voluntary group leaders and team leaders. Will you join us?