The trees have either dried up naturally or have been cut down as an emergency measure, as is the practice in infecting them with pests.
Satellite images have shown that forests in Germany have decreased by almost 5% from January 2018 to April 2021, the German Aerospace Center said, quoted by DPA.
The reason for the loss of almost 501,000 hectares of forests is mainly “unusually extreme periods of heat and drought, which in turn have created favorable conditions for infection with harmful insects,” said the Center.
The satellite images were taken by the Sentinel-2 apparatus of the European Copernicus program and the American Landsat 8 for loss estimation.
Coniferous forests in Central Germany are most affected. The most densely populated German state of North Rhine-Westphalia in the western part of the country has lost more than a quarter of its spruce forests, and in some areas the losses are up to two-thirds.
The trees have either dried up naturally or have been cut down as an emergency measure, as is the practice when infecting them with pests. In the case of spruces, bark beetles are left without food and their spread is stopped.
Deciduous trees often recover from pest infestations, but conifers do not.