There are heated arguments about the use of forests in the debate about wood production, contributing to climate protection, and the obligation to protect the biodiversity of forest ecosystems. Climate protection arguments are also used to discredit biodiversity protection concerns. Some of the arguments presented are based on questionable data and misinterpretation of the data. This complex situation is not only about dealing with demands to set-aside more commercial forests and the protection of natural forests in Germany; there is also for example , the threat of the loss of the last large-scale European temperate ancient forests, all of which are in the Carpathian Arc. Causal factors are the intensive and increasing use of wood, lack of political will, and insufficient national and European commitment to the protection of this World Natural Heritage Site. Ancient and natural forests are preserved on less than 3% of the total forest area in EU member states; hundreds of thousands of hectares of European ancient forests have been lost in the past ten years alone.
In this two-part essay, we discuss arguments on the topics of (1) biodiversity and forestry, (2) the CO2storage and sink performance of used and unused forests, and (3) the climate change impact of the use of wood for energy against the background of current climate policy decisions from the EU and the federal government. The first part, presented here, deals with the occurrence of ancient and natural forests in Europe and refutes the thesis that they cannot make an important contribution to biodiversity protection. Furthermore, the contribution of ancient forests, natural forests, and commercial forests is assessed in relation to climate protection.