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March 8, 2021

Germany to intensify timber industry reform

Germany to intensify timber industry reform

The German Ministry of Food and Agriculture's (BMEL) support programs for the modernization of the country's timber industry came into effect on Thursday.

One of the new programs, worth 15 million euros (18.1 million U.S. dollars), aims to promote investments in the value-preserving or value-enhancing use of damaged wood and in the promotion of the use of wood as a building material, according to the BMEL.

"The use of wood is active climate protection, because it stores carbon," said Minister of Food and Agriculture Julia Kloeckner in a statement. For example, building a single-family home from wood produces up to 56 percent less greenhouse gas emissions.

Another program, worth 20 million euros, promotes consulting services for companies in the timber industry, for example in the areas of digitalization, robotics and artificial intelligence, the BMEL said.

"We intend to strengthen the entire wood supply chain, from production in the forest and processing to use as a construction material. In this context, forest conversion toward more mixed forests and thus also deciduous trees is leading to necessary adjustments in the timber industry," said Kloeckner.

The condition of forests in Germany continued to deteriorate last year. "Never before have so many observed trees died as in 2020," according to an annual report on the country's forests published by the BMEL last week.

"The past three years of droughts, massive bark beetle infestations, storms and increased forest fires have caused massive long-term damage to forests" in Germany, the ministry noted.

In total, 1.5 billion euros would be made available in Germany to help forest owners and foresters convert forests to better adapt to climate change, according to the BMEL.

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