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© Andreas Bolte
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Institute of

WO Forest Ecosystems


Greenhouse gas inventory for forests

Forests can mitigate climate change by the long-term carbon sequestration in forest stands and soils. However, a loss of carbon in forest biomass and soils have adverse effects. Thus, we need a thorough inventory of the greenhouse gas balance of forests in order to assess the role of forests and forestry in climate protection.

Background and Objective

Due to the ratification of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto protocol, Germany is obliged to report yearly of the effects of land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) on the greenhouse gas balance.


Carbon sequestration or loss in forestsis detectedmainlyinfivepools. In stock, these are the above-groundbiomass, below-ground biomass and dead wood. Inforest soilsthelitter andmineral soilare recorded.Main sources of informationfor this is theNational Forest Inventory(NFI) andtheNational Soil Inventory (BZE). Theinventory dataforthe changeofgrowingstockare converted intocarbon stockswithbiomassexpansionfactors.These calculationswill be updatedcontinuously through theuse of the latestresearchresultsand otherdatasources. Thesoil datafor thechange in thecarbon stockare derivedviamodelsfor the spatialtransmissionofthedataof BZE. There isalsoacalculationfor emissions ofothergreenhouse gases such asCH4orN20, for example, fromforest firesandchangesin the water balanceof bog forest.

Preliminary Results

The carbon storage in German forests has increased in the last 20 years. A yearly carbon sequestration rate of 52 m tons of CO2 eqivalents indicates the role of forests as a major sink for carbon dioxid from the atmosphere. In the year 2012 the forests stored 993 m t C in the biomass above-ground, 156 m t C in the biomass below-ground, and 20 m t C in the dead wood debris. In the organic layer and the mineral soil in addition 850 m t C were found. The recent total storage of more than 2 bn t C in forests throughout Germany exceeds the value from 1990 by approximately 300 m t.

Involved external Thünen-Partners


Permanent task 1.2001

More Information

Project status: ongoing


  1. 0

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    Bolte A, Riedel T, Stümer W, Dunger K, Laggner A (2013) Landschaft im Wandel : wie sich die Landnutzung und der Aufbau unserer Wälder in den letzten Jahrzehnten verändert hat. Forschungsreport Ernähr Landwirtsch Verbrauchersch(2):44-45

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    Rock J, Bolte A (2011) Auswirkungen der Waldbewirtschaftung 2002 bis 2008 auf die CO2-Bilanz. AFZ Der Wald 66(15):22-24

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    Oehmichen K, Demant B, Dunger K, Grüneberg E, Hennig P, Kroiher F, Neubauer M, Polley H, Riedel T, Rock J, Schwitzgebel F, Stümer W, Wellbrock N, Ziche D, Bolte A (2011) Inventurstudie 2008 und Treibhausgasinventar Wald. Braunschweig: vTI, 164 p, Landbauforsch SH 343

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    Bolte A, Wellbrock N, Dunger K (2011) Wälder, Klimaschutz und Klimaanpassung : welche Maßnahmen sind umsetzbar? AFZ Der Wald 66(2):27-29

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