The impact of the German timber footprint on potential species loss in supply regions

Previous own assessments have shown that a) Germany has a wood consumption above global average, b) is strongly dependent on imports and c) has a domestic roundwood production that is at the limit of the sustainable harvest potential. Thereby Germany further increases the pressures on global forests which are already stressed by climate-change related impacts and a continuously growing global demand for wood. This leads to negative impacts on the biodiversity in the areas where wood is harvested. This paper aims to show the connection between Germany's timber consumption footprint and the impact on the biodiversity in the regions where the roundwood is sourced. A two-step process is used. In the first step, high-resolution land cover and land use maps are used as a basis for the countryside species-area relationship model, assessing the projected loss of the four taxa amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles in relation to undisturbed natural ecosystems due to forests occupied for roundwood production. In the second step, roundwood equivalents consumed in Germany in 2015 are traced back to the region of origin using an environmentally-extended input-output analysis and the thereby induced potential species loss is calculated. We show that the highest impact on projected species richness loss caused by roundwood logging is taking place in Oceania (3.34E−03 species/m3), Carribean (1.56E−04 species/m3), and East Asia (1.43E−04 species/m3). German roundwood consumption has the highest projected species loss in the United States (7.4 species), followed by China (7.3 species) and Brazil (4.8 species). From a biodiversity impact perspective, Germany could theoretically reduce its impact by relocating imports to European countries. In view of the planetary boundary of sustainable roundwood consumption, which has already been exceeded, reducing consumption appears to be the only viable long-term option for high-consumption countries such as Germany to reduce negative impacts on global biodiversity.