The situation in Thuringia's forests is dramatic after very dry years. The state forest institute is employing more staff for reforestation and the recovery of damaged wood. The country gives the money.
Erfurt (dpa/th) - Thuringia has responded to the high level of forest damage caused by drought and bark beetle infestation with more staff for the state forestry institute. A spokesman for the Ministry of Agriculture said on request that there have been twelve additional permanent positions since 2020 and more training places have also been offered. In addition, 40 forest workers were also deployed. Overall, the state forest institute, which is primarily responsible for the state forest, has around 1,300 employees.
In the period from 2019 to 2022, the State Forestry Agency received EUR 4 million annually for a specific purpose, primarily to hire staff for forest protection tasks. Above all, strategic areas such as digitization, forest protection and practical research with the Gotha competence center have been strengthened in terms of personnel. In addition, 11 million euros would come annually up to the year 2036 from the special program for forest conversion and reforestation - a total of 176 million euros. This enabled record plantings of two million trees each in 2021 and 2022.
According to the forest condition report presented at the end of December, only 18 percent of the trees in the densely wooded Thuringia are fully healthy. Every second tree shows a significantly reduced vitality. According to the ministry, satellite images show that around 77,000 hectares are already bare.
A third of Thuringia's land area is covered with forest, that is about 550,000 hectares. A large part of this area is managed by the state agency Thüringenforst, other forests belong to municipalities and private forest owners. The state forest institute had announced that it would increase the number of forestry training positions from 2023. Previously it was 15 per year.