Germany breaks new record in felling

Germany breaks new record in felling

Last year felling in Germany beats all previous records. More than 80 million cbm (cubic meters) under bark was felled during 2020. The highest figure since the reunion of East- and West Germany. it is 17 % more than in 2019.

Germany breaks new record in felling
A lot of log piles are lying in the German forests after the record year 2020. Here a pile of bark-beetle damaged spruce.

Germany breaks new record

The reason for the large felling volumes is the last years’ problems with bark-beetle, drought and wind throw in Germany. According to the news site Deutsche Welle the market for lumber has boomed due to the corona pandemic and the vast demand from the DIY market. Despite that, the German sawmills can’t handle all the timber that is cut for the moment.

Mainly softwood is cut

The German federal statistical office, Destatis, reports that the increase of felling since 2019 only is about softwood. Felling of hardwoods like beech and oak, which is common in Germany, has decreased. The main reason is spelled “the bark-beetle”. The Germans are involved in an uneven battle against this little fellow who have gained from several dry summers since the worst one in 2018.

Germany breaks new record in felling
Record felling in Germany in 2020. The increase is only spruce wood. Felling of other species was decreasing compared to 2019.

Prices are going up

Like in the rest of the World, lumber prices are increasing also in Germany. German sawmills have increased their export to the USA that is the major engine in this market boom. All German sawmills are running at full speed, but they can neither fill the starving market nor take care of all the sawlogs that are coming out from the German forests.

The timber stocks are huge, both on roadsides and in the mill yards. To cope with that, 6,1 million cubic meters of sawlogs were exported to China from Germany during 2020. That is to be compared to 900 000 cbm sawn timber during the same period.

Export ban for good qualities?

The German joinery industry has problems getting their hands on enough good quality wood for their needs. Much of what is processed now is beetle damaged softwood that holds too poor quality for the joineries. Some say that there should be a ban for export of good quality timber to protect the local industries. However, no official industry representatives demand that.

No trees reach the sky

The German wood industry seems to be aware of that the ongoing boom will not go on forever. They don´t really believe that the American wood industry will sit and watch their domestic market being filled by others. Logically the Americans should wake up and shape up to meet the competition.

Another alternative could be that German sawmills starts up businesses in the US. The Austrian sawmilling group Binderholz already started in that direction by buying two sawmills in North Carolina and Florida. The German sawmills are doing well for the moment so – Why not invest where the market is? There’s a lot of forests in the US.


This is a summary of an article at the sister-site signed Torbjörn Johnsen.

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