Forest condition report

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Forest condition report , formerly known as forest damage report , is a term used at the level of the German federal states for the result of an annual forest condition survey , in which the vitality of the forest is recorded using a sample of around 10,000 trees . At the federal level, the results of this forest environmental monitoring are published annually by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) under the title Results of the Forest Condition Survey .

Legal bases


Based on the Geneva Air Quality Control Convention of 1979, the European Parliament and the EU Commission adopted Regulation No. 3528/86 “Protection of forests against air pollution” in 1986, making the annual survey of the crown condition binding for the EU member states . This so-called Level I program was supplemented in 1994 by Level II (forest climate stations). Since then, forest condition monitoring has been carried out on two levels: on the one hand, on observation areas systematically distributed across the entire member state (level I) and, on the other hand, on intensive observation areas (level II) selected from the level I network. Most recently, the EU-wide implementation and co-financing of forest monitoring was bindingly regulated in EU Regulation No. 2152/2003 ("Forest Focus"). This ordinance expired on December 31, 2006, meaning that there are no binding regulations for the EU member states.

A further development of the financing took place within the framework of Regulation (EC) No. 614/2007. In the years 2009 to 2011, the further development and implementation of a Europe-wide forest monitoring system as part of the LIFE + project Forest Monitoring System ("FutMon") was funded by the EU Commission, represented by the General Environment Directorate . The aim was to establish a harmonized European forest monitoring system with improved method standardization and effectiveness, which provides policy-relevant information about the state of European forests. 38 institutions from 24 EU member states were involved in the project.


With effect from January 1, 2014, the ordinance on forest environmental monitoring (ForUmV) came into force on the basis of Section 41a of the Federal Forest Act (BWaldG). The annual crown condition survey in a 16x16 km grid (Level I) and the intensive monitoring (Level II) are part of the joint basic data collection of the federal states.

The following basic data on the vitality of forests and the interdependencies in forest ecosystems are collected ( Section 1 ForUmV):

  1. Crown condition ,
  2. Tree growth,
  3. Needle and leaf analysis,
  4. Ground vegetation,
  5. atmospheric substance inputs ,
  6. Stray case,
  7. Soil water by quantity and composition,
  8. Soil condition,
  9. meteorological parameters ,
  10. Phenology ,
  11. Air quality.

The Thünen Institute compiles the data on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) and evaluates them ( Section 41a (2) BWaldG).

Data collection


The first surveys in the federal states were carried out in the summer of 1983. In 1984 the first reports followed in the whole of Germany and from 1986 also in Europe. The trigger was the concept of "fir dying," the horrors of the Black Forest , the southern Alps border and from the Swiss Jura in the public transported (s a. Waldsterben ). According to today's understanding, the current trigger was a severe dry spell in the early summer of 1976 , which particularly affected previously damaged silver firs. A very hard winter with severe frost damage followed in 1978/79.

Much especially scientific material was to present that would be suitable, the effects of "acid rain" and this underlying pollutant sources such as exhaust gases from industry and road transport to "new types of forest damage" to assess. With the so-called forest damage report, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture should record the sick trees. It was also hoped to be able to demonstrate the effect of measures that had already been introduced around 1970: These included on the one hand legal regulations such as the Federal Immission Control Act , the TA Luft or the ordinance on large combustion, gas turbine and combustion engine systems and on the other hand their specific technical Implementation. This affected both the individual consumer with the introduction of the vehicle catalytic converter and unleaded petrol , the industry with the retrofitting of filters and flue gas desulphurisation, as well as the forestry, where the application of lime (calcium carbonate) in the forests was recommended.

Ordinance on surveys on forest environmental monitoring (ForUmV)

The data are processed in accordance with Section 2 ForUmV based on a terrestrial sampling procedure with systematic sample distribution over the entire area of ​​the Federal Republic of Germany at least in a 16 x 16 km square association. The observation areas for surveys as part of an intensive monitoring system are intended to depict the important forest ecosystems in the Federal Republic of Germany as well as different characteristics of significant location and pollution factors. The federal states select at least one observation area per 256 thousand hectares of forest area. The same trees are examined once a year between early July and late August. The benchmark is the thinning of the tree tops compared to a fully leafy or needled crown. The deviation from complete foliage is estimated in 5% steps.

The 5% levels are combined into broader classes, the so-called damage levels:

Damage level Defoliation designation
0 0-10% Without crown defoliation
1 11-25% Warning level (weak crown defoliation)
2 26-60% Medium crown defoliation
3 61-99% Strong crown defoliation
4th 100% dead


The forest condition reports serve to fulfill the tasks of the Federal Forest Act (BWaldG) and to implement legal acts of the European Union or agreements that are binding under international law ( § 41a Paragraphs 1 and 3 BWaldG). According to § 1 BWaldG, the forest should be preserved because of its useful, protective and recreational functions, forestry should be promoted and a balance should be achieved between the interests of the general public and the interests of the forest owners.

The forest status reports are an important database for the Scientific Advisory Board on Forest Policy, on the basis of which it develops proposals for the implementation of the Federal Government's Forest Strategy 2020.

The reports also provide practical decision-making aids for risk management in forestry operations through silvicultural measures (e.g. choice of tree species, maintenance and utilization concepts) or for soil protection measures (e.g. soil protection liming). In addition, they make it easier for the individual federal states to plan the forestry framework according to the state forest laws on the basis of forest-specific data and influence the financial support of forestry.

Compared to the Forest Forum of the United Nations be reported on.

Long-term monitoring

Various factors have an impact on the condition of the forest, and their effects can either strengthen or weaken one another. These include the age of the tree and the disposition of the individual trees, current and previous management, location factors, the occurrence of harmful organisms, the entry of air pollutants and others. Depending on the extent and the speed with which it occurs, climate change leads to additional risks for the forest. The data from the nationwide forest condition survey show a spatial shift in the main areas and tree species that have been damaged since the 1990s. Whereas in the past soil acidification with its consequences in the soil or even direct smoke gas damage led to the death of trees, today spruce stands in locations below 500 meters are particularly affected by strong bark beetle infestation , beech trees due to drought and oak stocks due to insect damage ( oak processionary moth ).

The crown defoliation shows the health of forest trees. Various abiotic and biotic, man-made and natural factors act together as causes of damage. Abiotic hazards include natural causes such as forest fires and storms, but also human impacts such as land consumption. Biotic dangers are, for example, game browsing . The crown condition of the beeches and oaks has clearly deteriorated in the last decades compared to the beginning of the survey in 1984. Since the early 1990s, the spruce has not shown a clear trend of improvement or deterioration in the condition of the crown. The pine has been the tree with the least crown defoliation since the early 1990s.

Selected results and evaluation

Results in 2003

  • Spruce (Picea abies): severe damage: 27 percent, minor damage: 43 percent
  • Pine (Pinus sylvestris): severe damage: 13 percent, minor damage: 53 percent
  • Beech (Fagus sylvatica): severe damage: 30 percent, minor damage: 46 percent
  • Oak (Quercus robur and Q. petraea): severe damage: 39 percent, minor damage: 44 percent

The factors influencing the condition of the forest mentioned in the report are: weather , fructification , pests and the input of substances into the forest by humans.

The weather in 2002 and spring 2003 (until the end of the survey) was favorable because it was warm and rainy. The extremely long heat wave that began in August , with almost no rain at all, was essentially no longer included in the report. The fructification had almost no negative effects on the estimated values ​​in the reporting period. As a result of the warm weather, massive preventive measures were necessary: ​​Control of bark beetles , caterpillars such as caterpillars. B. the nun , high altitude disease of the beech, cockchafer , root rot and the chestnut leaf miner ; this was reflected negatively in the forest condition report. The high concentrations of ground-level ozone measured within the air pollutants would, however, only be found in the next report. Furthermore, the substance inputs of sulfur were put at 9 kg / ha and that of nitrogen at 18 kg / ha. In the European part of the forest condition report, a situation similar to that in Germany was described.

Results in 2012

Overall, the situation improved in 2012 compared to the previous year. The proportion of undamaged trees was 39% (2011: 37%), that of trees with minor damage was 36% (2011: 35%). All serious damage together accounted for 25% (2011: 28%).

  • Spruce (Picea abies): severe damage: 27 percent, minor damage: 35 percent
  • Pine (Pinus sylvestris): severe damage: 11 percent, minor damage: 39 percent
  • Beech (Fagus sylvatica): severe damage: 38 percent, minor damage: 40 percent
  • Oak (Quercus robur and Q. petraea): severe damage: 50 percent, minor damage: 33 percent


  • Wolfram Elling, Ulrich Heber, Andrea Polle, Friedrich Beese : Damage to forest ecosystems. Effects of anthropogenic environmental changes and protective measures. Spectrum, Heidelberg, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-8274-1765-7 .
  • Nicole Wellbrock, Andreas Bolte (Ed.): Status and Dynamics of Forests in Germany. Results of the National Forest Monitoring . Ecological Studies 237, Springer-Verlag 2017. ISBN 978-3-030-15734-0 ( eBook , English )

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. cf. Hessian Ministry for the Environment, Climate Protection, Agriculture and Consumer Protection : Forest Status Report 2019 November 2019
  2. Forest Condition Survey 2019 Bavarian State Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Forests, accessed on December 19, 2019
  3. cf. most recently BMEL (publisher): Results of the forest condition survey 2019 Status: April 2020
  4. Level II online Federal Forest Research Center , accessed on December 19, 2019
  5. Regulation (EC) No. 2152/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of November 17, 2003 for the monitoring of forests and environmental interactions in the Community (Forest Focus) ABl. No. L 324/1 of December 11, 2003
  6. International cooperation program for forest environmental monitoring in forests - ICP Forests - Project D 25 Bavarian State Institute for Forests and Forestry , accessed on December 19, 2019
  7. Regulation (EC) No. 614/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 May 2007 on the financial instrument for the environment (LIFE +) OJ. No. L 149/1 of June 9, 2007
  8. Further Development and Implementation of an EU-Level Forest Monitoring System Nordwestdeutsche Forstliche Veruchsanstalt , accessed on December 19, 2019 (German)
  9. FutMon Final Workshop, link to download the results (English)
  10. Ordinance on surveys on forest environmental monitoring (ForUmV) of December 20, 2013 (BGBl. I p. 4384)
  11. BmEL: forestry and forest monitoring site accessed on December 20, 2019
  12. Michael Lange: And the forests die forever. 20 Years of Forest Damage Survey in Germany Deutschlandfunk , January 4, 2004
  13. cf. Dieter Lohmann: Forest dieback - the update. How meaningful is the forest condition report? December 8, 2006
  14. Tannensterben ( Memento of the original from January 15, 2005 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. by Dr. Klaus J. Lang in: Wood diseases in words and pictures, "Tannensterben - silver fir decline". @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  15. Bartholomäus Grill: Forest Damage Report: Staggering Oaks. The statistics are deceiving Die Zeit , November 11, 1988
  16. cf. Guidelines and documentation for the forest condition assessment in Germany Thünen Working Paper 84, Braunschweig 2018
  17. BMEL: Advisory boards of the BMEL / Scientific Advisory Board for Forest Policy Status: March 18, 2019
  18. The Forest Strategy 2020 as reflected in the third National Forest Inventory Brief statement by the Scientific Advisory Board on Forest Policy of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, February 19, 2016, p. 2
  19. BMEL: Forest Strategy 2020. Sustainable forest management - a social opportunity and challenge As at: November 2011
  20. Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (Ed.): Forest Environment Monitoring in Germany: Implementation Concept Forest Environment Monitoring Status: October 2016, p. 13
  21. cf. Hermann Fröhlingsdorf, Tobias Kreckel, Thomas Deckert: Forestry technical contribution for the update of the regional plan of the district government of Cologne Landesbetrieb Wald und Holz Nordrhein-Westfalen , April 30, 2018
  22. Ministry of Agriculture, Environment and Consumer Protection (Ed.): Report on the state of forests and the state of forestry in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (reporting period 2011-2014). Schwerin 2016, p. 48 ff.
  23. cf. BMEL: The United Nations Strategic Plan for Forests: Germany presents national contribution to forest conservation to the United Nations on September 18, 2019
  24. see also: Reporting obligations of the Federal Government due to national and international obligations in the context of the Agenda 2030 / Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations Documentation of the Scientific Services of the German Bundestag , July 22, 2016
  25. ↑ State of forest forestry in Germany, accessed on December 21, 2019
  26. Senate Department for Environment, Transport and Climate Protection : Forest Condition Report 2019 for the first time reveals massive consequences of climate change, press release of November 27, 2019
  27. From the "forest dieback" in the 80s to the forest damage of today? Press release from the Thünen Institute, September 18, 2019
  28. forest hazards Protection of German Forests, Kreisverband Rems-Murr eV, accessed on 21 December 2019
  29. ^ Forest condition: Crown defoliation of the Federal Environment Agency , October 2, 2019