German Forestry Lawyers

Legal Solutions Made in Germany

German Forestry Lawyers

Legal Solutions Made in Germany

The economic use of forest areas in Germany has always been governed by various regulations. Decisive here are the federal and state laws under public law, especially in the area of environmental and nature conservation law. This means that forest owners and farmers regularly face legally complex challenges if they intend to use their forest areas economically to a certain extent or in a certain way.

To provide our clients with the support they need, the German law firm Schlun & Elseven offers competent and committed legal assistance. Whether you are applying for public subsidies, claiming official compensation payments or civil disputes – our expertise and expert legal support is always at your disposal. We provide comprehensive services to forest owners, forest enterprises, forest management associations and forest cooperatives in using their forest areas within the framework of the German forest law. Lawyer Dr Richard Nouvertné is particularly familiar with the economic and legal challenges of the trade as the managing director of a forest owners’ association and, as a lawyer for forest law, your contact for all questions relating to forest law.

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Development of the German Forestry Sector 2008 – 2017

Approximately 10.6 million hectares and thus almost 30 % of the total land area in Germany are forest areas (Federal Statistical Office 2018). As areas for protection, recreation and use, these forested areas have several important properties. Forests not only serve to regulate the water balance, clean the air and protect biotopes and species. The expansion of the important economic sector of the forestry and timber industry in Germany, starting with the extraction of the versatile renewable raw material wood, is also made possible by the forest areas.

Based on the forestry accounts from 2008 to 2017, there is a fluctuating but steadily increasing gross and net value added in the forestry industry. This includes all production of economic goods from forestry and production of economic services and non-forestry secondary activities. With a net value-added of 2.4 billion euros in forestry in 2017 and 29,400 counted forest enterprises, which own a total of 7 hectares of forest area (Federal Statistical Office 2016), the particular relevance of this economic sector in Germany is evident.


Source: Thünen-Institut für Internationale Waldwirtschaft und Forstökonomie, BMEL

Timber as an Essential Raw Material

For forest owners and enterprises, forests primarily provide the basis for extracting the crucial raw material timber. Its diverse use for further processing as a building material or energy source is of considerable economic importance. Through further processing, the raw material timber can be used in almost every area of life. Furthermore, energy timber as a yield from forestry is an essential, renewable energy source. Replacing fossil fuels with energy timber saves around 30 million tonnes of CO2 every year. Forestry as a whole thus forms the basis for the timber and paper industry in Germany.

Our forestry lawyers advise clients on all matters relating to timber in Germany.

Crisis Period for Forest Enterprises and Foresters – Storms, Drought and the Bark Beetle

or the year 2018, a total of 31.9 million m3 of timber was felled due to damage. This is mainly due to the extreme drought and the resulting spread of the bark beetle, the increase in storms, and the decrease in the stability of diseased trees. 11.3 million m3 of damaged wood alone can be attributed to insect infestation. In addition, the proportion of trees with significant canopy defoliation increased to 29 % overall in 2018 compared to the previous year (Federal Statistical Office 2019).

The ongoing water scarcity and heat continue to create perfect conditions for the rapid spread of the bark beetle beyond 2018, with dramatic consequences for spruce trees in German forests and entire spruce monocultures of forest farmers. Within a few months, the work of several generations in laborious, years-long care of trees and forests is being destroyed with the decline of the forests.

The management of timber stocks requires a long-term plan that extends far into the future, which the current situation is destroying in a short time. Many foresters and forest enterprises are losing the livelihood that was supposed to secure them for many years. The rising stock of damaged timber has also led to a massive oversupply in the timber market at present, and the income from timber sales does not even cover the costs of timber harvesting in some cases. Nevertheless, the bare areas need to be reforested, for which there is a lack of funding. Timber processing companies also look to the future with confusion. The current significantly increased workload is followed by the fear of whether there will be enough raw material for processing in the coming years.

Our German forestry lawyers want to support and advise you in this emergency. Our team can help you apply for financial aid, obtain public subsidies and oversee your interactions with the authorities. In this way, we can offer you one of the most essential assets in this challenging situation – time. Additional time so that you can carry out the timber harvest within the set time frame and create urgently needed future concepts for reforestation.

´Durch Schäden bedingter Holzeinschlag

Regulation on a Federal and State Level: German Forestry Lawyers

Forest land use has been subject to constant change over the past decades and centuries. After centuries of overexploitation, the sustainable use of wood and forest land became more prevalent. The provision of non-material services to maintain forests’ protective and recreational function became increasingly important. Therefore, a differentiated balancing of economic and ecological interests is increasingly required in modern forestry.

As a result, the economic usage of forest areas is characterised by strict regulation by the federal and state governments. Numerous environmental and nature conservation regulations as part of public law must be complied with by the users of forest land. Nationwide, the conservation and management of forests in Germany, forestry associations, and forestry promotion are regulated by the Federal Forest Act (BWaldG).

The general requirements of the BWaldG are implemented in more detail by the individual federal states in state laws (such as the State Forest Act (LFoG) of North Rhine-Westphalia). These can vary significantly in some cases, as the concrete formulation by the Länder pays particular attention to the special features of forest law in the different federal states. In addition, the conservation and management of the state forest in Germany, with 3.3 million hectares of state forest and only just under 403,500 hectares of federal forest (Bundeswaldinventur 2012), can be classified as a matter for the states.