D.he high demand for German wood and the resulting rising prices are a nuisance for anyone who wants to build with this raw material. Despite the widespread scarcity, Federal Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner (CDU) rejects an export ban on wood. “I think state intervention in the market is the wrong way to go,” Klöckner told the FAZ
It assumes that the market in Germany will level off again even without such an instrument. “For the coming period I expect that the wood from German forests will be increasingly processed again in the local wood industry and that it will also be used by us – regional value chains are good and sensible.” the timber industry can be understood not to overdo it with exporting.
Klöckner is thus rejecting demands, especially from the SPD, which wants to at least examine an export ban for the coveted raw material. The SPD parliamentary group expressed itself accordingly at the beginning of May. In the past few weeks there have also been calls from several federal states to consider an export ban, albeit as a last resort. The Minister of Forestry in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Till Backhaus, said: “Actually, one should stop the export of wood to America in Germany.”
A beetle is raging in Canada
The United States is currently a big driver of demand. Because a beetle is raging in Canada’s forests, American companies are increasingly ordering their wood from Europe. They are also ready to pay the significantly increased prices. According to the figures from the state-owned Thünen Institute, the average price for spruce or fir sawn timber exported to America was 50 percent higher in February of this year than in the same month of the previous year. Compared to 2019, prices have even increased by 66 percent. But China is also increasingly buying from Germany, above all unprocessed tree trunks. Russia has already initiated an export ban on round timber. This should take effect from the beginning of 2022.
In theory, there is no shortage of wood in Germany. Last year, more trees were felled than ever before. Many damaged but still usable logs are still waiting in the forests for the construction industry. At the forest summit on Wednesday, Klöckner announced another aid program so that the German forest can cope better with extreme weather conditions such as prolonged drought. If forest owners manage or create forests that are certified and adapted to climate change, they should receive financial support. Anyone who produces wood for particularly long-lasting purposes – for example as construction timber that binds CO2 – should also be rewarded. It is not yet known how large the funding program will be. According to Klöckner, almost a third of the current 1.5 billion euro forest conversion program has so far been paid out.