Forest Condition Monitor


The Forest Condition Monitor is a project funded by the Helmholtz Association, located in the working group Land Cover and Dynamics. The monitor provides comprehensive information about forest condition. In this project, current satellite data is analyzed in comparison with long-term observations to identify forest changes or anomalies. Subsequently, these anomalies are validated using forest condition surveys and damage mappings at selected observation sites. The monitor thus provides information for all forested areas in Germany. The maps from 2017 to 2022 show a significant increase in damaged forest areas, especially in central Germany, such as the Harz, Sauerland, and Saxon Switzerland regions, particularly from 2019. Various factors contribute to this, including heat, drought, pest infestations, and their combined effects, which damage the forests and also lead to secondary impacts such as windthrow and increased risk of forest fires. The scientific analysis using satellite data reveals, for the first time, the spatial dynamics of forest condition induced by climate change. In addition to forest condition, the project also derives other products such as dominant tree species, vegetation length (phenology), and future distribution of tree species under the influence of climate change.

We are currently preparing a publication on the topic. The maps will soon be available for viewing through a web service.