German hardwood: ecological – innovative Geschichte

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Despite being a densely populated country (approximately one quarter of the population of the USA on an area smaller than the State of Montana), over 30% of Germany is covered in woodland. Germany was the first country to decide to harvest only so much timber as it was possible to reforest in parallel. This practice has been functioning effectively for over 300 years now and has also been applied successfully in the USA. It is a way to secure the raw material base for the German sawmilling industry for future generations.

German wood – a secure and sustainable raw material base

Every year, 120 million m³ of biomass is newly grown in Germany, which, in the case of many types of wood, is by no means used to the full extent. A historical forest heritage and modern sustainable forestry ensure that the woodland is managed in accordance with ecological principles and with due regard to biodiversity.

We currently have approximately 3.4 billion m³ of wood in reserve in our woodland. As a consequence, the woodland does not only provide a secure raw material base but, at the same time, such forestation also significantly reduces CO2 emissions – an active contribution to the protection of the climate!

Hardwood in Germany: From virgin forest to a modern timber industry – and back?

For thousands of years Germany was covered with deciduous forest. Today approximately 43% of the woodland in Germany is deciduous forest. An ecological transformation of the woodland has seen more deciduous trees being planted again in recent years, with the aim of bringing the woodland closer to its original form and, generally, – also in mixed woodland – making it more resistant to storms and parasites. This may be a challenge for the timber industry, but it is also an opportunity. There will be an increasing amount of hardwood available in the future. The German sawmilling and timber industry has responded by applying new technologies to develop new fields of application for hardwood. This is the start of a success story, which will carry conviction all over the world. Last year, German hardwood sawmills were able to increase their exports of sawn timber by over 12%.

The extraordinary quality of German hardwood

This success is testimony to one of the great advantages of German hardwood: Although it grows slowly, this is the very reason why it possesses a particular structure with an aesthetically pleasing fine-ring grain texture. Its technical and visual attributes have guaranteed German hardwood international success for years now. The most important types of native deciduous trees are beech, oak and ash.