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The forest is more than a mere wood supplier. It is a natural habitat and a water filter, a workplace and a

place for leisure – and ultimately, it is our number one climate protector.

Germany is the homeland of sustainable forestry. The traditional, sustainable management of the forests,

coupled with a well-positioned forestry and wood cluster, make Germany a global player in terms of both

production and foreign trading of timber. In addition to this, roughly a quarter of the forested area provides

special protection for rare plant and animal species.

One of the biggest challenges of the future lies in the area of tension to be found between an increasing

demand for timber on the one hand and effective conservation of forests and nature on the other. Our answer

is to be found in sustainable, multifunctional forestry, which combines utilization and protection in many

different ways and secures jobs and income, and adds value throughout the region. In this way, the forest is

also protected in its function as the most popular excursion and leisure destination in all of Germany.

To ensure that our forest maintains this versatility, Germany has made two groundbreaking decisions this

year. One of these was the adoption of a new national ‘Forest Strategy 2020’, which strives to achieve a new

balance between the variety of demands placed on Germany’s forests on the one hand and their sustainable

efficiency on the other. In addition to this, we agreed to establish a forest climate fund to adapt the forest

to the effects of climate change and promote the CO


reduction potential of wood. In this way, the positive

influence that forests and wood have on our climate will be intensified in the long term.

I hope that

International Year of Forests, 2011

will also have global effects, which will be felt well beyond 2011.

Ilse Aigner

Federal Minister of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection