Because of delivery bottlenecks: Altmaier wants to have more spruce felled

Because of delivery bottlenecks
Altmaier wants to have more spruce felled

Bark beetles, drought and storms affect the spruce forests, which is why the wood stores are overcrowded for a long time. Then the construction boom decimates the stocks at a rapid pace. Now the Federal Ministry of Economics also wants to have healthy trees felled.

Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier wants to counteract the drastic rise in prices and supply bottlenecks for construction timber. To this end, he suggests that more healthy spruce be felled in Germany. The currently applicable restriction on the felling of spruce should be reversed “as soon as possible”, according to a paper that was initially reported by the “Rheinische Post”.

Altmaier is pushing for an agreement with the responsible ministries before the end of this legislative period. A waiver of contractual penalties makes sense if the scarcity of raw materials is causal for a delay in performance, said the CDU politician. The paper also says: “In addition to improving the supply of wood and wood products from local cultivation, we will work in wood-exporting countries to remove international trade barriers.”

“In the case of softwood sawn timber products, we are dealing with price increases of around one hundred percent on average within the year,” the ministry writes. Construction companies that had previously bought wood just in time for specific orders could no longer accept new orders despite the good economic situation. There are also delivery bottlenecks and price increases for other building materials.

The reasons for these developments are complex. “Forest damage and bark beetle infestation reduce the amount of fresh wood and drastically increase the amount of damaged wood.” The sawmills had reached their capacity limits due to the amount of damaged wood. In addition, there are political factors that slow down international trade in wood as a raw material, as well as corona-related reductions in production and disruptions in the supply chains. “We must resolutely counter these critical developments affecting the construction industry, the building trade and the timber industry.”

According to a statutory ordinance of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, which came into force in April after the approval of the Federal Council, forest owners and forest companies are no longer allowed to log as much spruce wood as before in the current financial year until the end of September – only a maximum of 85 percent of the average harvest volume from 2013 to 2017.

Because of a bark beetle plague, drought and storms, a large number of spruce trees had to be felled in recent years, resulting in overcrowded wood stores and falling prices. The regulation should help stabilize prices. The forest owners received tax breaks for the restrictions. In the meantime, however, the situation has reversed, and the construction industry is now complaining about a lack of wood.