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The Harz National Park in Germany faces an unprecedented crisis. After two years of draught, several severe storms and the rapid spread of the bark beetle, its forests are extremely stressed and weakened. Especially the large areas of spruce monocultures are affected by the beetle. One single tree can spawn more than 25.000 beetles and infect up to 600 other trees.
Park authorities consider the forest‘s dieback a natural process of regeneration and decided not to interfere. They hope that the monocultures will be replaced in the end by more resistant mixed forests. However, the private forest owners of the surrounding areas had no other choice than to cut down huge areas of forest trying to prevent the spread of the bark beetle. By now they lost about two thirds of their tree population. Their losses since 2018 are estimated at over 300 million Euros.