Diverse forests and sustainable fisheries
Germany boasts over eleven million hectares of species-rich, high-quality forests with steadily increasing growing stock, the largest in Europe. The entire forest sector and forest-based industries have an annual turnover of some 160 billion EUR and employ more than 1.2 million people, mostly in rural regions.
German forests have many faces, talents and functions. They leave their mark on landscapes, provide a habitat for plants and animals and help to protect the climate, water and soils. At the same time, forests provide an area for recreation and exercise and form part of our cultural identity. Our forests are therefore, at the same time, natural environments and places to pursue recreation and engage in economic activities. They have been managed in a sustainable manner for 300 years now.
In international forest policy, the Federal Government takes a stance against illegal logging and advocates global forest conservation.
In Germany, fishing has long been an integral part of industry and culture in coastal regions, and also alongside the rivers, lakes and ponds in rural areas. Around 40,000 fishermen provide consumers with over 1.3 million metric tons of high-quality fishery products from the sea each year.
Long-term stability in fisheries needs healthy marine ecosystems. At Germany's initiative, too, European fisheries policy has now embarked on the path towards sustainable fisheries. The preservation of living marine resources and an intact marine environment are also a top priority for BMEL at international level. One particular focus is the protection of whales.