About one third of Germany's area is forested (approx. 120,000 square kilometres), making it one of the most densely forested regions in Europe. While fossil fuels have to be imported at high costs, the domestic energy source wood is available in sufficient quantities for an unlimited period of time and regionally.
At the same time, the wood supply has even increased by 7 % in the last ten years and has reached a record level - as it was before industrialisation in the 18th century. This means that it is possible to harvest the annual increase in wood without the wood supply decreasing. Thus, the German forest has been sustainably managed and monitored on a legal basis for a long time. According to the Charter for Wood 2.0, 100% of the German forest is already sustainably managed and 75 % of the German forest is certified according to recognised standards that go beyond the legal requirements.
According to the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, 50 % of the annual wood growth goes into industrial use for e.g. construction timber, furniture or paper. 25 % of this is deadwood, bark or offcuts and 13% is stockpiling where the forest grows. Only 12 % becomes energy wood. Another important aspect is that firewood is produced during forest maintenance or usual timber harvesting for e.g. construction or furniture wood. This wood is otherwise not suitable for other material uses. But several tonnes of wood pellets can also be obtained from the residues of sawmills without having to cut down a tree.
The use of firewood or biomass is largely CO2-neutral. This is because when wood is burnt, only the amount of carbon dioxide is released that the tree absorbed during the growth phase and that would also escape during the natural decay process in the forest. The released carbon dioxide is in turn absorbed by renewable trees within the framework of sustainable forestry, thus creating a closed cycle. Instead of using fossil fuels, heating with wood from sustainable and regional forestry avoids the emission of over 20 million tonnes of greenhouse gases every year throughout Germany. One solid metre of firewood replaces about 240 litres of heating oil.
Meanwhile, the forest also has a high proportion of hardwood. Such a reforested mixed forest is much more climate-resistant. In addition, hardwood is a large reserve of energy wood. This so important restructuring of the forest is also financed to a large extent by the income from the sale of wood.
Despite all these verifiable facts, reports or articles keep appearing that (deliberately) distort or misrepresent these facts. Ultimately for the purpose of creating a mood against the industry and against the general forestry use of the forest. In many cases in a quite populist way in the hope of swearing as many people as possible to their arguments and to unsettle them. Quite topically in addition a contribution of the ARD magazine Plusminus from August 2022 where in particular the CO2-Neutralität of the wood combustion is questioned. The Agency for Renewable Resources (FNR) has published an article in which these and other statements are rejected or refuted in a well-founded manner.
The situation continues to be completely absurd: wood's CO2 neutrality is even officially denied by the German government. In contrast, coal, gas and nuclear energy are "green" and much more environmentally friendly than wood. For each unit of heat produced, the CO2 emissions are even higher than for the fossil fuels coal or gas.