Institute of Forest Ecosystems
Alfred-Möller-Straße 1, Haus 41/42
Phone: +49 3334 3820 300
Fax: +49 3334 3820 354
Preparation, conduction and evaluation of the German National Forest Inventory as well as processing of the results.
Every ten years we measure and count a sample of trees in the forest. Bund and Länder (federal states) require this data for the design of forest policy. The data is also used for strategic investment and location decisions in the timber industry.
The German National Forest Inventory is a statutory duty under the Federal Forest Act § 41a and a central database on forests in Germany. It provides an overview of the large-scale forest conditions and forest production potentials. The inventory has so far been conducted three times: 1987, 2002 and 2012. Since 2010, a repeat is set every ten years. The fourth inventory (2022) is currently being prepared. Since 2010, a repetition every ten years has been stipulated by law. In addition, in 2008 and 2017 data on carbon stocks were collected from a sub-sample of the German Federal Forest Inventory and evaluated in abroad range of ways. The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture commissioned the Thünen-Institute of Forest Ecosystems with the central inventory management. This includes the development of the inventory method, the coordination of data collection by the federal states, the compilation, evaluation and preparation of the data and results for a broad public.
The German National Forest Inventory is a terrestrial large-scale inventory on a sample basis. The sample points are evenly distributed in a systematic grid over the whole of Germany. With the last inventory from 2012 60 Inventory teams from the federal states have surveyed approximately 420.000 sample trees on 60.000 sample points and collected many other data. For data collection, we have provided a special software available to the teams. The field teams have transferred the data over the Internet to a central database at the Thünen Institute. We analysed the data in various ways and the results are stored in a result database, which is publicly available on the Internet to bwi.info.
Data collection for the German National Forest Inventory 2022 is scheduled to start in spring 2021. For this purpose, a further increase in the sample density is planned, so that about 75,000 sample points in the forest can be expected. The recording procedure was slightly modified (later link to the Field Instruction). In particular, DNA samples will be collected for the first time to determine genetic diversity.
How much forest is there in Germany? How does it look like? How has it changed? How much wood is used and how much is regrowing?
The forest area is stable. Forest conversion and afforestation are balanced.
The growing stock has continued to increase, because the forest owners have used less wood than is regrown.
There are more deciduous trees, more old and thick trees and more dead wood. These are favourable conditions for forest biodiversity.
The area of spruce has decreased because spruce stands which were cleared by logging or damaging events are often afforested with deciduous trees from which more natural and stable forests should develop. On the other hand, however, a future shortage of spruce wood is thus initiated.
Further results on the Internet at www.bundeswaldinventur.de and bwi.info and www.thuenen.de/en/wo/arbeitsbereiche/waldressourcen-und-klimaschutz/bundeswaldinventur.