The forests in Germany cover approximately 11.1 million hectares. This corresponds to almost 31% of the area of Germany. Forests - often on the same area - have to meet a variety of requirements from different areas of our society. This is the guiding principle of multifunctional forest management, which combines the sustainable safeguarding of the use, protective and recreational functions of the forest.
By far the largest part of the forest is used for forestry purposes. The basis for this are the naturally occurring species of trees and shrubs in Germany, most of which are native tree and shrub species. Only in exceptional cases species have been introduced as neophytes and are considered to be part of the native flora by now.
In contrast to agriculture, only naturally occurring species are used in forestry. Forest trees and shrubs are usually wild plants and not cultivated plants.
Genetic diversity is a prerequisite for evolution and the basis for species' adaptability and thus for their survival. It is the basis for a wide range of reactions to biotic and abiotic influences. This is particularly important due to the longevity of the trees, as trees cannot avoid unfavourable influences due to their location.
"Forest genetic resources" are genetic material (populations, individuals, plant parts, seeds, fruits) of tree and shrub species with actual or potential value for sustainable multifunctional forestry.
A large genetic diversity ensures that the needs of future generations can be met in the face of changing demands on the performance of forests, in particular on the production of wood as a raw material, even under possibly changed environmental conditions.
The framework conditions for the conservation and sustainable use of forest genetic resources include national legal regulations, the sectoral national specialist programme for forest genetic resources and the Federal-Länder working group as a coordinating body for the implementation of necessary measures.
According to Schmidt et al (2003)* 188 species of wood are native to Germany. These are divided into 77 tree species and 111 shrub species. Most of them are forest trees and shrubs.