German wood consumer group calls for more softwood planting20 January 2020
The Arbeitsgemeinschaft Rohholz eV – the Working Group on Raw Wood Consumers – (AGR), a voluntary association of companies and associations of the raw wood processing industries in Germany and the neighboring countries has raised questions over the balance of softwood and hardwood in German forests.
The proportion of young conifers in German forests is decreasing, said AGR, adding that the reason for this is the conversion of the forest to more hardwood that started decades ago for purely ecological reasons.
“The forest conversion to more stable mixed forests is fundamentally correct. However, if one relies on deciduous trees too one-sidedly, the forest ecosystem is more difficult to adapt to the changing climate conditions,” said Dr Denny Ohnesorge, AGR managing director.
“Increasing weather extremes and droughts also mean that deciduous trees such as the European beech, particularly in regions with low summer precipitation, will be at risk in the future. Conifers like pine or Douglas fir, on the other hand, adapt better to these conditions than many deciduous trees.”
Society still needs softwood, said the AGR. There is an increasing lack of conifers for the manufacture of furniture, house and apartment construction products as well as for the manufacture of paper and cellulose.
“Hardwoods are by no means as versatile in their properties as softwoods,” said Dr Ohnesorge. “Softwood is often lighter than hardwood and at the same time very stable. The most common wood products have a softwood share between 70 and 90%. For example, roof trusses in houses or chipboard for furniture can often only be made from softwood.”