German Forestry Lawyers


Legal Solutions Made in Germany

Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte PartG is a full-service law firm active all over Germany. Our German forestry lawyers are here to support you in all legal issues. Contact us directly to start a productive partnership and for expert representation in legal disputes.

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Full-Service Legal Advice and Comprehensive Support in German Forestry Law

At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our German forestry lawyers are here to provide you with comprehensive support in all legal issues. We provide reliable and professional advice to forest owners, forest enterprises, forestry associations and forestry cooperatives in the use of their forest land within the framework of German forestry law. As the managing director of a forest owners’ association, lawyer Dr Richard Nouvertné is particularly familiar with the economic and legal challenges of the trade and, as a lawyer for forest law, is your personal contact for all questions relating to German forest law.

Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte is a full-service law firm with offices in Cologne, Aachen and Düsseldorf, and conference rooms across Germany. Our clients can expect industry-specific insight alongside excellent customer service and legal expertise.

Your Legal Partner in German Forestry Law

German Forestry Lawyer: Dr Richard Nouvertné

Dr Richard Nouvertné
German Forestry Lawyer

Development of the German Forestry Sector
Regulation on a Federal & State Level
Crisis Period for Forest Industry
Contact our German Forestry Lawyers

Forests and Forestry in Germany

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 forest areas have many important properties. Forests serve to regulate the water balance, clean the air and protect habitats 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.

However, this economical use of forest land is regulated by federal and state laws under public law, especially in the area of environmental and nature conservation law. Thus, forest enterprises and forest owners often face complex legal challenges if they intend to use their forest land economically to a certain extent or in a certain way. Qualified legal assistance in the field of forest law is often indispensable for applying for public-law subsidies, claiming official compensation payments and, last but not least, in civil law disputes.

Additionally, foresters and forest enterprises have been facing an existential crisis since 2018. Extreme drought, storms, above-average forest fires and bark beetle infestation have caused serious damage in the forests. Foresters and forest enterprises are fighting for their economic existence. We would like to face all these challenges together with you. Our German forestry lawyers are available to you in the areas of forest law, forestry and other related areas of law.

Development of the German Forestry Sector 2008 – 2017

Statistik der forstwirtschaftlichen Gesamtentwicklung 2008 - 2017

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

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.

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.

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.

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

For 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).

Statistik: Durch Schäden bedingter Holzeinschlag

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.

Contact our German Forestry lawyers

Please use the online form to inform us about your inquiry in the field of German forestry law. After receiving your request, we will make a short preliminary assessment on the basis of the information provided and give you a cost estimation. You are then free to decide whether you want to instruct our German forestry lawyers.