North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
In Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), SUPERB will build a coalition of stakeholders, including NRW’s State Forestry Administration, the cities of Arnsberg and Remscheid, as well as private forest owners, forest owner associations, and selected church forests in the region, to combat the devastating effects of bark beetle infestations.
Since 2018, massive pest outbreaks of Ips typographus resulted in widespread forest dieback that is still ongoing, with more damage expected in higher elevation submontane areas.
Reforestation efforts are at the early stages. The pressure to act is immense: The extent of forest dieback is so great in some regions that resource shortages (planting materials, skilled personnel, etc.) are challenging a full and timely reforestation. Many forest owners are financially unable to manage reforestation without assistance, as their income base has been lost due to the large-scale calamity and the following collapse of timber market prices.
Under SUPERB, interventions will focus on both the environmental and social aspects of reforestation. The selection of site-specific and climate-adapted tree species combinations, known as forest development types (WET), will create more resilient forests and promote the provision of various ecosystem services. At the same time, SUPERB will bring together stakeholders to discuss the different expectations for forests and restoration goals.
The new NRW silvicultural concepts serve as a planning basis for all forest ownership types.
By strictly considering the site potential (climate, soil water, nutrient balance), taking into account future climate scenarios, as well as the “Four tree species principle” within a forest stand, the SUPERB project will bring together the stakeholders involved to discuss the different expectations for the forests and the restoration goals in order to promote broad societal support for the restoration efforts.
Adapting tree species composition to climate change
Promoting natural regeneration
Type of restoration:
We will reforest beetle-infected spruce forests into more diverse, mixed-forest ecosystems by using a combination of natural regeneration and replanting. At least four different site-adapted species will be selected per area, including pioneer species where appropriate.
How the demo is now:
We are currently dealing with disturbed forest areas following bark beetle outbreaks. Our local communities are heavily affected by the decline in tourism, recreation, water and wood provision due to forest dieback.
We aim to establish multifunctional forests with enhanced resilience. This way, our forests will be in a better condition to deliver various ecosystem services such as wood production, carbon storage, biodiversity and water provision, recreation, tourism and air purification for future generations.
Restoration upscaling potential (within and beyond SUPERB):
In the state of NRW, there are approximately 135.000 ha of calamity areas, including 125.000 ha of former pure spruce stands and currently 10.000 ha of pure beech stands.