German Forestry


German forests are burning up and dying off because of heat waves, storms, pests, etc. Made all the more vulnerable due to monoculture: lack of diversity means that if a threat arises that can kill one plant, all the other plants (which are now all of the species) will be vulnerable.

Monoculture forests were quick fix for reforesting land and "saved German forests from utter destruction" due to poor soils. Contrast with characterisation in seeing-like-a-state, where monoculture forests are portrayed as state simplifications.

But depending on the choices of foresters and the government, today and in the years to come, the trees that have suffered and withered away in Germany may not be replaced by the fast-growing freshness of spruce and pine. Rather by slower growing, mixed forests whose green relief we will not enjoy within our lifetimes. In 2019, Federal Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner announced plans for a “Several Million Trees Program” that would free up half a billion euros for reforestation. With this announcement came a set of guidelines, released by the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. It was declared that any reforestation must be carried out with adaptability and sustainability in mind; Klöckner made clear that monocultures were a thing of the past. Last November, a further 500 million euros were released by Klöckner as a part of a corona stimulus package—with the stipulation that a sustainability certificate was a prerequisite for receipt of funds. This money, she said in a speech during the German Forest Days in September of 2020, is “for climate-stable mixed forests and near-natural forest management concepts.” She continued: “In order to secure the forest for future generations, it is not just politics and forestry that are required, but all of us.”

Given that monocultures are faster to grow but more vulnerable to environmental threats in the long run, how does this affect the "plant a tree" services that are such a popular solution to carbon capture? Do the trees that get into the ground, stay in the ground?


it-had-been-beautiful-emory Emory, Sami. 2021. “It Had Been Beautiful”. The Baffler. New York. [link] ↩︎ 1

seeing-like-a-state Scott, James C. 1998. Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. Yale University Press. ↩︎ 1