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Would you like to learn even more about
the forest and its importance for our
living spaces?

Read full interview!

Wood is in greater demand than ever before. Can we keep increasing the use of wood and make greater use of our forests?

Hubertus Kraut: Not indefinitely. However, the smart use of forests can be increased. We should use wood for products that will last a long time, firstly to absorb carbon for longer to protect the climate, but also to protect our forests. Forests have been used for as long as people have existed. However, as the population has increased, so has the pressure to use forests, both quantitatively and qualitatively. Forests now provide space for development, wind turbines, solar panels, areas for dog walking, mountain bike trails, meditation or just classic hiking.

However, forests should also provide clean air and water and help with soil conservation and biodiversity. In the past, the main focus was on timber production, but these diverse requirements are now coming more to the fore. Climate change is also playing its part in endangering the potential of forests. The use of wood also fits into this range of functions. As the population continues to rise, areas of forest shrink globally, and the risks of climate change continue, these wide-ranging social services provided by forests will become more scarce.

 

Is the use of wood fundamentally sustainable?

Hubertus Kraut: Yes, if the wood is sourced from sustainable and preferably local forestry, where these requirements are legally regulated and monitored, the forest owners commit to the principles independently, and wood is used intelligently and sparingly. Sustainability doesn’t just mean the amount used, but is particularly about the environmental and social aspects. I consider this to be a given in Germany, Central Europe and many other countries around the world. Consumers can rely here on PEFC and FSC, the two most important certifications. If they also buy durable products that won’t just end up in the bin after a short time, then we’ll be close to achieving good sustainability.

 

And what about the forest in Brandenburg specifically? What impact is use having on the health of the forest?

Hubertus Kraut: It’s not just use that is having an impact, but also the climate. Fortunately, there was more rainfall in 2021 than in the previous three years. The proportion of significantly damaged trees therefore declined slightly. But the droughts and storms in the past four years have caused almost four million cubic meters of damaged wood. When you consider that approx. 3 million cubic meters are scheduled to be used every year in the Brandenburg forest as a whole, that is a huge amount. We need to replant these deforested areas as soon as possible.


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