HKI Online

By now, everyone should have realised that we are heading for a serious ecological problem. 

For this reason, environmentally relevant laws and regulations are being enacted on an unknown scale and at an unprecedented speed. On the one hand, this is welcome, as it is high time that countermeasures are taken. On the other hand, it can be observed that many projects require improvements or should not be implemented as planned. It is the task of the associations to intervene here and to stand by the politicians as an expert partner in order to find solutions together that are both effective and realistic.    

Without the increased use of biomass, the ambitious climate targets cannot be met. Wood accounts for half of the final energy supply from biomass. Sustainable forest management is a great success story and a model for the concept of sustainability in general. Climate targets and the EU's Forest Strategy could complement each other perfectly.

Sustainable forestry has led to an increase in available wood resources in Germany of about one to three percent per year. The forest area has grown by more than one million hectares in the last forty years and the wood supply in Germany by 122 million solid cubic metres annually. The transformation of the forest to meet the requirements of climate change will produce additional wood in the coming years. 

This development is also linked to the fact that wood is an important local resource. Not only as a raw material for the processing industry, but also in a niche market for decentralised heat use - and in a climate-neutral way. Timber from damaged trees is particularly closely related to forestry. In small-scale combustion plants, forest residues (31.4 %) and forest debris (13.7 %) are used in addition to other types of wood. The large remainder of the biomass used is recycled wood. In more centrally located large-scale combustion plants, the proportions are different. Here, for example, no forest debris is used at all.

From all these facts it can be deduced that there are established supply chains for the use of wood for all market participants. It is of utmost importance that this is maintained.

In this context, the decentralised use of biomass in urban areas plays only a minor role. But in the countryside it is quite significant. So in this sense, central planning is wrong. Sustainable management of forests must be made possible and local solutions promoted. Stable, broad value chains should benefit all stakeholders and make sustainability economically viable.