Reviving German Forests: Mercer Holz’s Sustainable Journey with ‘Growing Forests – Growing Future

Mercer Holz is firmly committed to supporting forest owners in Germany through our “Growing Forests – Growing Future” program. 

On May 1, 2023, Mercer Holz, a long-standing presence in the forest products industry, marked a significant milestone at the first “Growing Forest – Growing Future” tree-planting event in Schierke, Germany. Esteemed figures, including Martin Stöhr, Managing Director of Mercer Holz, Wolfgang Beck, Senior Vice President of Global Wood Sourcing at Mercer Europe, and Bill Adams, Vice President of Sustainability and Innovation at Mercer, were present, alongside Deputy Mayor Jens Weidlich, forest ranger Michael Selmikat, and Thorsten Nothwehr from HOFOS.

However, the striking transformation of the Harz landscape made this event truly noteworthy. Just five years ago, this region boasted lush, green European spruce trees. Today, it is a testament to the devastating bark beetle epidemic, with stumps and dead branches stretching as far as the eye can see.

This crisis is not merely a visual tragedy but an ecological emergency. The bark beetle infestation, exacerbated by climate change, poses a significant threat to the forests and the broader ecosystem they support. Waiting for nature to regenerate these forests in 80 years would result in more spruce monocultures. What’s needed are resilient and diverse mixed forests.

Enter “Growing Forests – Growing Future.” This multi-year tree-planting program aims to collaborate with forest and landowners across Germany to address climate change and the bark beetle epidemic. Mercer Holz provides carefully selected seedlings, adhering to European Commission guidelines, featuring diverse tree species.

Now, let’s explore the data:

  • Since 2018, over 400,000 hectares of trees in Germany  – an area more than four times the size of Berlin – have fallen victim to bark beetles and drought due to a warming climate. This issue is not confined to the local level; it represents a global environmental concern.
  • Monoculture forests, prevalent in Germany, particularly spruce monocultures, lack resilience. Mercer Holz’s diverse seedlings promote biodiversity, bolster pathogen resistance, and enhance overall forest resilience.
  • Forests are essential for carbon capture, serving as vital carbon sinks. A coniferous tree’s journey from seedling to maturity, ready for harvesting, spans up to 80 years. This translates to 80 years of carbon capture, contributing to mitigating climate change.
  • Forests also play a pivotal role in enhancing biodiversity. They provide habitats for numerous species and support freshwater ecosystems crucial for human consumption.
  • Let’s not overlook the economic aspect. Over 1.1 million people are employed in Germany’s forestry and timber sector. Forests are not just about trees; they are intertwined with livelihoods.

Mercer Holz recognizes the cultural and recreational value of forests. German forests, viewed as communal assets, offer opportunities for recreation, education, and inspiration to a wide range of individuals.

As the initial saplings take root in the once-barren landscapes of Schierke, we stand on the threshold of a transformative journey. The narrative of ‘Growing Forests – Growing Future’ is not at its conclusion; in fact, it’s just beginning.

In our ongoing endeavours, Mercer Holz aims to take the next steps in our mission. This involves expanding our program to support more forest owners in Germany and planting diverse seedlings in regions impacted by the bark beetle epidemic and climate change.

Through our initiative, “Growing Forests – Growing Future,” we aspire to raise awareness about the positive impact of sustainable wood usage. This encompasses providing renewable materials for everyday products and enhancing forest resilience in the face of climate change.

However, “Growing Forests – Growing Future” is a collaborative initiative, and we support forest owners, communities, and stakeholders. Together, we can work towards a sustainable future where forests flourish, biodiversity thrives, and everyone benefits from our woodlands.

This continuation underscores our dedication to ongoing efforts and collaboration while emphasizing the importance of data and community involvement in our sustainability journey.

For more information, please visit our Growing Forests – Growing a Future website “”