Banner action in the Harz Mountains in Germany

More nature conservation in the Federal Forest Act!

Great banner action in the Harz Mountains to save forests and forest soils

19. März 2024
On the "International Day of Forests" on 21 March 2024

To mark International Forest Day next Thursday, ROBIN WOOD is calling on the German government to pass a strong Federal Forest Act and protect forests and forest soils. To draw more public attention to this important issue, activists from the environmental organisation unfurled a 20-metre-long banner with the message: "Save our forests! We're loosing ground!" The Federal Ministry of Agriculture is currently working on amending the Federal Forest Act. ROBIN WOOD is calling for nature conservation to be given priority over maximising yields from timber production.

Over 600,000 hectares of forest were lost in Germany in the droughts between 2018 and 2022. That is more than in any other European country. Nearly no attention is given to the fact that valuable forest soil is lost along with the forests. ROBIN WOOD is highlighting 2024 as the "Year of Forest Soil" and is calling on the Federal Minister of Agriculture Cem Özdemir to prohibit large-scale clearing of dead forest areas in the Federal Forest Act. This is because clearing significant heats up the bare areas, the soil can then no longer store water and it erodes. The nutrient and CO2 reservoir as well as the biodiversity in the soil are instantly wiped out. It is uncertain whether or not a new forest will grow on the cleared area especially with ongoing climate change.

As it stands,, the amendment to the Federal Forest Act is frozen in the coordination process between the two federal ministries for agriculture and the environment. Media coverage of the latest draft raise fears that the text will do far too little for nature conservation. Similar to the discussions on the Building Energy Act (GEG) and the development of a National Biomass Strategy (NABIS), the Greens and environmental protection are losing ground, while the industrial lobby celebrates the cancellation of all progressive practical actions. A strong, new Federal Forest Act with operational and verifiable instructions for action is urgently needed in times of climate crisis and species extinction. The Scientific Advisory Board for Forest Policy also called for this last autumn.

"How can it be that the Federal Government establishes a Scientific Advisory Council for Forest Policy only to listen to the forestry lobby instead of listening to the Council when the crucial moment comes? The management of our landscapes must base itself on science and on public interests instead of satisfying only the economic needs of the business lobby," demands ROBIN WOOD forest campaigner Jana Ballenthien.

International forest conservation organisations are keeping a close eye on what is happening in Germany. Two representatives of the Brussels-based forest conservation organisation Fern also took part in today's ROBIN WOOD action in the Harz Mountains.

"Germany's forests have been damaged to a shocking degree," says Siim Kuresoo, EU Forest Campaigner at Fern. "Weare deeply concerned that Germany will not fulfil its requirements under EU legislation, including meeting targets under the EU’s Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) regulation and Nature Restoration Law This is an alarming prospect, given our survival depends on resilient, natural forests.“


  • Jana Ballenthien, forest campaigner, ++49 40 38089211, wald [at] (with call forwarding)
  • Ute Bertrand, press officer, ++49 171 8359515, presse [at]