Only one third of Luxembourg's trees are in good health, said the Minister for the Environment, Carole Dieschbourg, on the International Day of Forests in Mertzig.

Every year in July and August, 1,200 trees in Luxembourg are sampled to take stock of their health.

Two thirds of the trees are in a bad or very bad state.

Following the drought last year, the result is less bad than anticipated, said the Minister for the Environment.

The aim of the International Day of Forests is to celebrate forests as a habitat and an important factor in a sustainable economy.

The International Day of Forests was introduced seven years ago. "For the future, it is very important to plant the right types of tree in Luxembourg's forests and to back sustainable management without deforestation", highlights Carole Dieschbourg. "Besides, we want to provide better support to the people who manage the forests". According to Carole Dieschbourg, a new reglementation, which specifically supports sustainable management, has been in place since 2017. The new forestry law will go in a similar direction.

Roughly 35% of Luxembourg's surface area is covered by forests. Trees have a number of functions, including oxygen production, slowing climate change and filter particles from the air.

To better maintain the forests, it is necessary to plant a variety of trees, says Carole Dieschbourg. "Where we have monocultures today, we could have mixed forests in the future. The new law is going to support this idea."

At the UN Environment Assembly, there is hope to better support forests with a number of resolutions. According to Carole Dieschbourg, this has not been very successful this year.

The reason being, amongst other things, that some countries, like Brasil and Indonesia, that deforest large areas of land, oppose the global protection of forests.

The Minister specifies that Luxembourg's legislation opposes the purchase of such wood, which has been chopped down illegally.

To further protect forests, in 2017, the Luxembourgish State launched the Forestry and Climate Change Fund in partnership with three Luxembourgish companies.

The aim of the fund is to help farmers in Central America to make better use of their forests and to stop deforestation.

Currently, roughly 30% of the Earth's surface area is covered with forests. This corresponds to 4 billion hectares.

© Domingos Oliveira