Bavarian state forests are preparing to combat the bark beetle – Bavaria

Frost-free nights and temperatures above 16 degrees – these are the conditions in which the bark beetles swarm. The Bavarian State Forests are therefore preparing to prevent the animals from spreading. “The top priority is the consistent repair of snowfall and storm damage,” said a spokesman. Because these trees are the ideal breeding ground for the beetle.

“Unfortunately, there was a lot of this damage over the winter and it’s widely scattered. It’s a Herculean task to clear it all up before the beetle becomes active again.” But trees that are already infected are also a problem. Many of the pests drilled into spruce trees last fall and overwintered there. “As the weather warms, the bark beetles will fly out again,” explained the spokesman for the state forests. “And that’s exactly what we want to prevent as best as possible by consistently searching for, finding and removing these infected trees and trunks from the forest.”

The weather conditions have recently been favorable for the tree population, as the spokesman said. The wet weather over the winter ensured that the trees were significantly more resilient than in previous dry years. “An infestation does not necessarily have to lead to death.”

The state forests have also adapted their organization in order to be able to take action against the bark beetles more effectively: In the future, a corporate unit will exclusively take care of the management in the damaged areas and control the reprocessing. In addition, the storage options for wood outside the forests have been significantly increased. This means affected trees can be quickly removed from the forest.

In the 2023 financial year, the state forests counted a total of 1.8 million cubic meters of damaged wood, almost 80 percent caused by bark beetles. The focus was in the northeast of Bavaria, especially in the Franconian Forest. According to their own information, the Bavarian State Forests have around 2,500 employees and manage the entire Bavarian state forest, which is around 808,000 hectares.

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