SPIEGEL ONLINE

SPIEGEL ONLINE

01/23/2007 04:20 PM

40 Million Toppled Trees

Storms Devastate Germany's Forests

The violent storm that killed 11 people in Germany last week also knocked down 40 million trees. The German forestry industry estimates the damage will cost them around €1 billion.

Violent storms hit Germany last week, killing 11 people and causing immense damage. Electricity pylons fell down, roads and railway lines were blocked, and Berlin's central station had to close down when a huge girder fell off the building. Now it turns out that the storm named "Kyrill" also caused huge damage to Germany's forests.

According to the German Forestry Council (DFWR), 40 million trees were toppled -- an estimated 20 million cubic meters of timber. Nearly one third of Germany is covered in forests, and timber is an important agricultural product.

The western state of North-Rhine Westphalia bore the brunt of the havoc -- around 25 million trees were knocked down there alone by the extremely high winds. Older spruce trees were the hardest hit by the storm. The forests of Saxony and Thuringia in eastern Germany also suffered severe damage.

Although the full extent of the damage has still not been assessed, the German forestry industry calculates that the damage will lead to total losses of around €1 billion ($1.3 billion).

However, according to the DFWR, the wood from the toppled trees can still be sold. In fact, due to the strong demand for lumber at the moment, it predicts that all the wood will be absorbed by the market over the next six to eight months.

smd/ddp

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