BERLIN, 17 Oct – PRIME. More and more wood is being stolen from German forests amid high energy prices and a shortage of firewood, the portal of the German news program Tagesschau reported.
“Due to the recent rise in energy prices, firewood has experienced a renaissance. Firewood has also become expensive and is in demand at the present time. Many sellers now only supply it to their regular customers, and prices continue to rise,” the portal notes. So, according to him, if in 2021 a cubic meter of solid wood cost 60-70 euros, now some offers reach 200 euros.
Against the backdrop of these events, the theft of timber in the forest has become more frequent. For example, Adalbert Koch, a representative of the regional forestry department of Münster, spoke about them to the publication. He explained that what many people probably don’t know is that timber export is illegal due to the fact that it belongs to the forest owners. And anyone who simply takes it is subject to prosecution. “In our forestry, there are about 85% of private forests. So the forest does not belong to citizens, where you might think that the wood is common. No, this is definitely theft,” Koch quoted the publication as saying.
As the forestry department of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia added, there are also professional wood thieves who have taken entire trucks out of the forest. According to agency spokesman Gero Hütte-von-Essen, stealing wood from the forest is a criminal offense that carries hefty fines and in some cases even jail time. In this regard, the agency uses GPS tracker technology in select areas, which can help catch timber thieves at the scene of a crime.
Also, the forestry department of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia reported to the publication about cases of collecting dry wood lying on the ground in order to use it as firewood. As agency spokesman Nicole Fiedler explained, people probably do not realize that they are also committing a criminal offense and harming the forest. According to him, the wood lying around is important for the conservation of the ecosystem, as it provides food and habitat for various microorganisms, and also helps to accumulate CO2 and moisture.
An association of forest owners in Berlin has claimed millions of euros in damage caused by timber thieves, the newspaper notes. At the same time, it is specified that in some cases, the collection of firewood is still allowed, information on this can be found in the forest legislation of the relevant federal states.