China remains biggest sales market for German raw timber in 2020



China remained the biggest sales market for raw timber from Germany in 2020 as around half, or 6.4 million cubic meters, of total timber exports went to China, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) said on Monday.

Germany’s raw timber exports to China have increased significantly since 2015 when the share was only around 10 percent, according to Destatis. Austria was the second biggest destination for raw timber from Germany last year, with a share of around 19 percent.

"The construction boom during the coronavirus pandemic boosted the demand for timber as a building material in Germany and abroad," Destatis said.

Germany exported a total of 12.7 million cubic meters of raw timber worth 845 million euros (1.03 billion U.S. dollars) last year, according to Destatis. In terms of quantity, this was an increase of 42.6 percent year-on-year.

Growing international demand was reflected by "record wood felling figures" in Germany. According to Destatis, 80.4 million cubic meters of wood were cut in German forests last year, the highest level since German reunification in 1990.

Damaged trees and forests were the main reason for the record level of wood felling in Germany. According to Destatis, wood cutting due to insect infestation accounted for more than half of the total wood harvest in 2020.

The annual report for 2020 on Germany’s forests published by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture found that the past three years of droughts, massive bark beetle infestations, storms and increased forest fires had "caused massive long-term damage to forests."

The results of last year’s forest condition assessment were among the worst since the first report in 1984. Only 21 percent of all trees in Germany showed no crown defoliation. 

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