Forest Climate Fund

 Please note:

The Forest Climate Fund will be discontinued. Following the Budget Committee’s final session on the German federal budget for 2024, which took place on 18 January 2024, and with reference to the ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court on the second supplementary budget act for 2021 from 15 November 2023, the Forest Climate Fund (WKF) will be discontinued as part of the revised operating plan for the Climate and Transformation Fund.

New commitments can no longer be made. WKF funding will be cut completely, with the exception of commitment appropriations that are already legally binding.

Information on the Forest Climate Fund

The WKF is a joint fund by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV) that has, since 2013, provided funding for research, development, pilot and communication projects in the area of the maintenance and improvement of climate services of forests and timber and the adaptation of forests to climate change. First and foremost, it promotes the interface between forest-related research, development and practical application. The funded projects focus on practical viability and knowledge transfer.

The WKF is part of the programme associated with the Climate and Transformation Fund. Since 2013, it has been run under the joint responsibility of the Federal Ministries of Agriculture and the Environment on the basis of a decision by the German Bundestag. The project executing agency for the WKF is the Agency for Renewable Resources (FNR).

The WKF funding guidelines expired on 31 December 2022. Approximately 205 multiannual projects with a funding volume of roughly 94 million euros are still ongoing. The estimate for this budgetary item  for 2023 was 27 million euros.

The following are positive examples of research and development projects of recent years that significantly contributed to the goals of climate change mitigation and adaptation:

  • Adapted forest and fire management in the face of climate change (forest fire-climate resilience; WKR)
  • Beech-fir mixed forests for the adaptation of commercial forests to extreme climate change events (BuTaKli)
  • Principles and strategies for the provision of high-quality and adaptable forest reproductive material under climate change (AdaptForClim)
  • Applying knowledge of peatlands – revitalisation of peatlands in the model region of Westerzgebirge/Saxony (MooReSax)
  • Development of a forest monitoring system including carbon storage and climate adaptation (FOMOSY-KK)
  • Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by building and renovating with wood (Holzbau-GIS)
  • Development of a decision matrix for the future use of hardwoods in the context of efficient bioeconomy (LauBiOek)

As natural carbon sinks, forests not only contribute to achieving the climate targets; they are also increasingly affected by the consequences of climate change. Recent years in particular have seen significant losses of vitality and stability in Germany’s forests. According to the estimates of the Thünen Institute, approximately 25 percent of forests in Germany will have to be converted in the years to come. The primary goal is to make forests climate-resilient and semi-natural.

Current and future questions and challenges related to these issues can only be addressed and tackled with continued comprehensive research and development as well as communication.
In these areas, the WKF is a key recognised funding instrument and has made a vital contribution to the climate change adaptation and mitigation targets thanks to many of its projects and the network of various experts and forest-related stakeholders.

The two Federal Ministries have a joint website where you will find further information on the WKF and its funding priorities (available in German only).

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