Storms and drought destroy thousands of acres of German forests | News | DW | 26.04.2019
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Storms and drought destroy thousands of acres of German forests

Drought and storms are decimating Germany's forests, causing an estimated €2.5 billion in damage in 2018-2019. Some 160,000 football fields worth of forests will need to be replanted, the government has estimated.

From January 2018 to March this year, 114,000 hectares (281,700 acres), or about 1% of Germany's forested area, were damaged from storms and bark beetles, which thrive during periods of dry weather.

Read more: German forest fire risk spikes amid high temperatures, drought 

Reforesting the lost area could take years, the government said in response to a parliamentary inquiry from the opposition Free Democratic Party (FDP) that was published Friday in the daily Rheinische Post.

According to forecasts, 2019 may bring further warm and dry weather. Pine forests are particularly susceptible to bark beetle infestation during droughts.

Forestry industry takes a hit

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture estimates the damage in 2018 and 2019 will cost the forestry industry €2.5 billion ($2.8 billion). 

The ministry has made €25 million euros available for reforestation over five years. However, the forestry industry and owners are demanding nearly a half-billion euros in emergency aid.

Read more: Climate change: Millions of hectares of tropical forest destroyed in 2018

FDP parliamentarian Karlheinz Busen called the damage to trees "a catastrophe for forestry," and the government's planned budget to deal with the problem a drop in a bucket.

The lawmaker from the business-friendly FDP called for tax relief for the forestry industry so that it could invest in machines and speed up the recovery of forests.

Forests cover nearly a third of Germany, one of the highest rates in Europe.

Watch video 01:48

Fun in the Black Forest

cw/sms (dpa, Rheinische Post)

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