The amount of annual wood fellings and removals are key parameters for forestry and forest management. They are used e.g. to assess sustainability, to estimate unused forest biomass potentials and to calculate annual changes of the storage of carbon in forests and wood products. The official statistics underestimate the actual fellings remarkably. With the collaboration of the University of Hamburg, we modified and extended an existing use-side calculation approach to determine more realistic data for wood removals and fellings in Germany.
On average of the years 1995-2019 the official felling statistics account for only about 77 percent of the actual fellings. In absolute terms, this means that on average about 15.4 million m³ per year were not reported. The results of our calculation approach are similar to results of the National Forest Inventory. The difference between the results of the National Forest Inventory and our calculations is about 2.3% or 1.7 million m³ per year (2003 – 2012).
Changes in stock of roundwood in the forest are an important factor for the calculation of the fellings. Unfortunately, no data from statistics or literature is available on this topic. The close correlation between the changes in stocks (of felled roundwood) in forests and changes in stocks (of felled roundwood) in the wood based industry serves as the basis for the estimation for the past few years (2016-2019). It is possible that the correlation does not apply for the years 2018 and 2019 with high calamities. For these years, it is possible that bigger amounts have been stored in the forest. However, there is no indication of high storage activities in the literature. It is known that a huge amount of wood is damaged, but there are also indications that large quantities of damaged wood have not been processed or felled. A higher storage of roundwood in the forest would cause an increase of the fellings in our calculations.
# to be found as well in category production and use
The calculation of wood removals in Germany is using a modified and extended approach of Mantau (2004) and Dieter et al. (2004). The method is based on the recalculation of the used amount of roundwood also taking into account of stock changes and foreign trade. Databases are official statistics, statistics of industry associations, and results of various empirical studies. Based on these approaches, all roundwood consuming sectors and available data sources are to be identified in a first step. Main parts of the approach are the intensive analysis and evaluation of the data scope and quality, as well as the subsequent identification of data gaps on the use side. Related gaps can be traced back to, for example, cut-off thresholds in the statistics or the lack of any information in the official statistics. In a second step, individual sectoral models are developed to close the identified data gaps on the use side. In a last step, the calculated data on wood removals is used for the determination of wood fellings, taking into account variables such as logging residues. The modified and extended calculation approach is designed in a way that ex-post estimations can also be made in upcoming periods. Further, it is important to note that new data must be included in the sectoral models. This may also change the estimates of the sectoral models of the previous years. Changes of the approach are documented in a revision.