NewsWhere the trees have disappeared

Where the trees have disappeared

The “Forest Monitor” shows the damage that has occurred in the past dry years

The forest losses in Germany due to drought, storms and pest infestation are apparently greater in some regions than previously assumed. A “forest monitor” from the private natural forest academy shows that the loss of coniferous forest has amounted to up to ten percent in recent years, depending on the federal state. Nationwide, for example, spruce and pine trees are four times more affected than deciduous forests, according to the academy.

The forest monitor uses satellite data to show the development of forests in the years 2016 to 2020, which on average were particularly dry. Especially 2018 stood out here. A map of Germany shows how much coniferous and deciduous forest the individual federal states have lost. In addition, it can be seen in which regions the forest has suffered particularly and thus lost its vitality. The academy created the monitor together with specialists from the data company Remote Sensing Solutions GmbH.

According to the monitor, the largest losses in coniferous forest in recent years were suffered in North Rhine-Westphalia (10.3 percent), Saxony-Anhalt (8.2 percent) and Hesse (8.1 percent). “In the deciduous forests, the situation is much more relaxed, if not good,” said the academy. The negative leader here is Saxony-Anhalt, where 1.9 percent of the deciduous forests have been lost. In Brandenburg and North Rhine-Westphalia there are no more trees on 1.3 percent of the deciduous forest areas. Overall, the analyzes by the Forest Monitor show that the size of the areas with forest damage, around 245,000 hectares, roughly corresponds to the information provided by the Federal Government.

According to the academy, the basis of the forest monitor is an analysis of freely available data from the European Copernicus satellite program. The Sentinel-2 satellite has been mapping the land surface of Europe using high-resolution cameras since 2016. The colored areas on the map show how the forest is doing. Red colors indicate bare areas or completely dead stands. Orange shades show forest areas with a significant deterioration in the vitality of the forests in recent years, for example due to the death or removal of individual trees.

The past few years have shown that the consequences of climate change make a regular, nationwide review of the forest condition necessary, explained Torsten Welle from the academy. “The processes associated with climate change are changing the forest so quickly that a sample of around 10,000 trees from the annual forest status survey is not sufficient to describe the forest’s vitality status across the board.” of the forest to monitor. This would enable decision-makers in politics and forestry to assess the situation in the forests more clearly and more quickly than before on the basis of current satellite data.

The Natural Forest Academy is an independent research institution founded in 2016 on the subject of forests and nature and climate protection with locations in Berlin, Lübeck and Hamburg. The chairman of the Academy’s scientific advisory board is Knut Sturm, who has been the division manager of the Lübeck city forest since 2010. Its near-natural forest management concept is also supported by the academy.

Link to the map:

https://map3d.remote-sensing-solutions.de/waldmonitor-deutschland/#

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