Forest & Biodiversity

Black woodpecker. Photo: Blome

The forest management has a low impact on nature, compared to other forms of land use. It supports and preserves habitat diversity.

More than 10,000 species
Forests are home to many animal and plant species. These include species typical for the forest, as well as numerous species of light and warm sites, which use forests as refuge or substitute habitats, since their original habitats are disappearing in the open landscape. In total, there are 76 species of trees, 116 shrubs, 1,020 herbaceous plant species, 676 species of mosses and 1024 lichens and countless species of fungi. The animal world counts a total of 140 species of vertebrate animals as well as innumerable species of small animals.

Forestry - close to nature
In the German forest, there are around 93 million trees with ecologically significant characteristics (an average of 9 per hectare). From these, 1 million are marked habitat trees. All in all, 224 million cubic meters of deadwood are valuable habitats (20.6 cubic meters deadwood / ha).

In the German forest, clear cutting, fertilizers and pesticides are largely prohibited. The proportion of non-native tree species is just below 5%. Only every 5 to 10 years there are forest management and timber-harvesting activities taken place in a forest stand, usually only a few trees are removed.

The beaver is shaping the German landscape. Foto: M. Kühling

Nature protection
The National Strategy on Biological Diversity has the goal that in 2020 the proportion of forests with natural forest development will be 5% of Germany's forest area. In 2013 about 2% of the forest area was legally reserved fornatural forest development. Experts estimate that up to 5.6 % of the German forest area is currently free of use including those areas that are physically not accessible. 


protected forest areas

percentage of

total forest area

Nature reserves


·        National parks


·        Biosphere reserves


·        Protected landscape areas


·        Nature parks


·        Protected forest biotopes


·        FFH areas


·        Bird sanctuaries



In addition, non-forestry factors influence the forests’ biodiversity. Of particular importance are air pollution, the condition of the forest soils, climate change, game biting, as well as invasive plants.