Who owns agricultural farms in the northwest

Forest owner: who does the German forest belong to?

Almost a third of Germany is forested. The area covered by forest in Germany is around 11.4 million hectares. But who does this forest belong to? Who is the largest German forest owner?

Forest owner in Germany

The third national forest inventory - BWI3 for short - gives the answer. The federal forest inventory is collected by the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection every 10 years. The BWI3 data are from 2012. The results were published in 2014. A distinction is made between the following forest owners:

  • Private forest - If the forest is not owned by cities, municipalities, churches or in the hands of the state, one speaks of private forest. It is therefore a question of forest owned by natural or legal persons or partnerships.
  • Corporate forest / communal forest - In accordance with Section 3 (3) of the Federal Forest Act, this is a forest in the sole ownership of public corporations. The most important:
  • State forest (land) - In Germany, the term state forest is mostly understood to be synonymous with state forest, the forest owned by a federal state.
  • State forest (federal) - State-owned forests are known as state forests or state forests (federal). The forest owned by the Federal Republic of Germany is mostly referred to as federal forest, although it is also a state forest. The federal forest is mainly located on areas used by the military (e.g. military training areas) and along federal waterways and motorways.
  • Treuhandwald - In the course of the land reform in the GDR, expropriated and publicly owned forest was handed over to the Treuhand. The aim is to privatize this forest. This is done by the federally owned Bodenverwertungs- und -verwaltungs GmbH (BVVG).

The largest German forest owner? The state of Bavaria!

Bavarian State Forests: The state of Bavaria, or correctly the “Free State of Bavaria”, is by far the largest single forest owner in Germany with around 778,000 hectares. The Bavarian State Forests manage 11.4% of the state's area with their 2,700 employees. In Bavaria there is more forest in state ownership than in Hesse (No. 2) and Lower Saxony (No. 3) combined!

At 29.8%, the proportion of the state forest in the entire Bavarian forest area is not even particularly high, but is rather close to the national German average (29.0%). But with 2.6 million hectares, Bavaria is simply by far the largest forest land in Germany. More than a fifth (22.8%) of the German forest is Bavarian.

In terms of the forest ownership structure, state forests are also interesting because every decision here has far more far-reaching consequences than if the largest private forest owner or the largest communal forest owner decides something. If Bavaria or Hesse twists the wood price screw, it crunches in the framework!

The importance of the Bavarian forest becomes clear when one looks at the private forest. In absolute terms, Bavarian private forest owners manage more forest than the second largest "forest land" Baden-Württemberg has overall!

Private forest: NRW in front in percentage terms

In percentage terms, private forest owners have a particularly strong presence in North Rhine-Westphalia. Over 2/3 of the forest area in North Rhine-Westphalia (a total of 887,550 ha) is in the hands of private forest owners. This means that when it comes to private forests, NRW is the best in terms of percentage!

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania brings up the rear: Less than a quarter of the 534,962 hectares of the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Forest are privately owned. In contrast, the federal government (10.0%) and the state (40.8%) own over half of the forest. And the Treuhandwald is also almost at the top in the northeast of the Federal Republic: The Treuhand share of 15.2% is only exceeded by Saxony-Anhalt (15.8%). However, it must be taken into account here that the last available figures were collected 7-8 years ago. The situation is now likely to have shifted significantly in the direction of private forests.

The largest private forest owners

With the exception of Constantia Forst GmbH, the Bofrost Foundation and Blauwald GmbH, the largest German private owners of Wald are all aristocratic families. Small side note: The German "No.1", the Thurn und Taxis, would only occupy 5th place in Austria (Fam. Mayr-Melnhof 34,550 ha, Melinda Esterházy 28,300 ha, Fam. Lichtenstein, 24,000 ha, Fam. Schwarzenberg, 23,280 Ha). And one does not want to make a comparison with the largest private forest owner in Europe. Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget for short "SCA" (Tempo, Zewa, Danke etc.) from Sweden owns 2.6 million hectares (!). That corresponds to 130 times the forest area of ​​Thurn und Taxis. For comparison: the entire forest of the Free State of Bavaria also covers 2.6 million hectares.

  • Thurn and Taxis: The Thurn and Taxis also have almost 20,000 ha about the largest private forest property in Germany. Until 2004, the forest ownership of those at Thurn und Taxis was even larger. At the time, Princess Gloria decided to concentrate less on real estate assets and on January 1, 2004 sold the entire "Ebnat" forestry operation with more than 5,000 hectares of forest to Blauwald GmbH & Co. KG (see below) owned by the Merckle family.
  • Christian Hereditary Prince of Fürstenberg - his forest holdings include in Germany approx. 18,000 ha. Two thirds of the forest areas are in the Black Forest. He also owns forests in Canada and Austria. With Lignis GmbH & Co. KG, Heinrich Prinz zu Fürstenberg built up a wood marketing company in which he participated in many well-known royal houses: Waldburg-Wolfegg, Leiningen, Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg and Sayn-Wittgenstein-Hohenstein - together 52,000 hectares of forest.
  • Hatzfeldt-Wildenburg: In an area of 15,058 ha operates the Hatzfeldt-Wildenburg'sche administration in Rhineland-Palatinate, Brandenburg and Thuringia forest management. The forests in Rhineland-Palatinate have been owned by the von Hatzfeldt-Wildenburg family for over 500 years. The Hatzfeldt’sche state rule Wildenburg-Schönstein alone covers 10,500 hectares. In the years 2001-2003, the “Revier Massow” in Brandenburg with over 6,600 hectares was bought by the BVVG and private owners. In 2012, after more than 500 years, 600 hectares north-east of Beichlingen / Thuringia changed hands from Count von Werthern to the new owner, Hermann Graf von Hatzfeldt.
  • Prince of Hohenzollern: The forestry area of ​​the Fürst von Hohenzollern Group is around 15,000 ha; 12,800 ha of this are in the state of Baden-Württemberg and 2,200 ha in Bavaria. The forest ownership is not rounded off, but extends over an extension of 180 km in north-south and 420 km in east-west direction.
  • Riedesel barons of Eisenbach: The forest company of the Riedesel Freiherren zu Eisenbach GbR is a forestry association of 20 shareholders with an operating area of approx. 14,000 ha Private forest in Hessen. The forest company works operationally with 8 district foresters. A central sales office markets the round wood products.
  • Sayn Wittgenstein-Berleburg: The family zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg has had extensive forest areas for centuries. With approx. 13,100 ha Area is the operation of the "Wittgenstein-Berleburg’sche Rentkammer", the largest private forest operation in North Rhine-Westphalia. The cultivated area is distributed over a total of eight foresters.
  • Wittelsbach Compensation Fund: The Wittelsbach Compensation Fund (WAF) was founded by a Bavarian law on March 9, 1923 to manage the assets of the disempowered dynasty. It is a foundation under public law, the income is due to the members of the Wittelsbach family. The forest management of the Wittelsbach compensation fund manages 11,840 ha Forest. These include the approximately 5,000 hectare Köschinger Forest, the 2,000 hectare Dürnbuch Forest, and the 1,600 hectare largest contiguous alluvial forest in Bavaria (between Neuburg and Ingolstadt).
  • House Oettingen-Wallerstein: Today, Hereditary Prince Carl-Eugen manages the business of the Fürst Wallerstein group of companies, which in addition to the brewery and real estate also includes the forest area. Fürst Wallerstein manage forest operations approx. 11,000 ha Forest. Around 60% of the forests are in the Swabian district of Donau-Ries, the rest in the neighboring Württemberg. As the Augsburger Allgemeine reported on March 18, 2017, Prince Ernst Krafft zu Oettingen-Wallerstein sold Seyfriedsberg Castle and its almost 1,200 hectares of forest. While the castle went to four castle lovers from the Augsburg district who tried to ensure discretion, most of the forest was acquired by “a German entrepreneur” who is also (still) anonymous.
  • Waldburg zu Zeil and Trauchburg: Belong to the family around Georg Fürst von Waldburg zu Zeil and Trauchburg around 10,000 ha Reason in Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, especially forest. In 1968, in the former district of Wangen (Allgäu), the then district administrator Walter Münch stated that “Every second tree is a princely tree.” The “Fuerstlich Waldburg Zeilsche Forstverwaltung” is responsible for the management of the forests owned by the prince and the operation of the attached timber yard.
  • Arenberg-Meppen GmbH: The Arenberg-Meppen GmbH was created in 1928 from this former Emsland property of the Dukes of Arenberg. The Arenberg-Meppener Forstbetrieb manages in the districts of Emsland, Cloppenburg and Grafschaft Bentheim almost 9,500 ha own forests, making her the largest private forest owner in Lower Saxony. The sole shareholder is the non-profit "Herzog von Arenberg Foundation" in Düsseldorf. The largest Arenberg-Meppen forests include the Engelbertswald in Geeste, the Rechtemoor forest in Heede, the Hedwigenwald between Sögel and Börger and the Eleonorenwald between Vrees and Friesoythe. Another 2,500 hectares of agricultural land are leased.
  • Constantia Forst GmbH: When Wolfgang-Ernst Fürst zu Ysenburg and Büdingen took over the business enterprises of the Princely House in 1990, the company group "Fürst zu Ysenburg und Büdingen mbH" managed one of the largest private forest companies in Germany with a forest area of ​​approx. 10,000 hectares Bad speculations had to sell large parts of the Princely Ysenburg-Büdingischen property. In 2005, "massless insolvency proceedings" were even opened at the Friedberg District Court on the Princely House's forestry operations. The Büdinger Wald was sold by the insolvency administrator to “Constantia Forst GmbH” on May 31, 2006, with two families of investors from Vienna behind it. With a total operating area of approx. 9,250 ha (including 25 hectares of water and 125 hectares of quarries) the Büdinger Forest is one of the largest connected private forest holdings in Germany. The forestry operation of Constantia Forst GmbH is divided into the three forest districts Breitenborn, Wächtersbach and Waldensberg.
  • House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha: The "Herzoglich Sachsen Coburg and Gotha'sche Forest Management" manages approx. 9,000 ha Forest. The head of the family, Prince Andreas von Sachsen-Coburg and Gotha, bought around 2,000 hectares back for the family in 1996. Another 7,000 hectares were added after a legal tug-of-war with a final comparison around the turn of the millennium. The forest of those of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha is today the largest contiguous private forest in East Germany.
  • Princely House Hohenlohe-Oehringen: The Oehringer Princely House under the direction of Kraft Fürst zu Hohenlohe-Oehringen should have approx. 8,600. Ha Forest belong. Of this, around 1,200 hectares are forest around Waldenburg. Another 1,549 hectares of forest around Löwenstein changed in 2006 from the ownership of the Princely House of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg to the Hohenlohe-Oehringer forest enterprise. The family likes to buy on this scale. In 1997, around 4,200 hectares of land were secured in Saxony-Anhalt. In addition, there is a farm in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania owned by the family, with 2,400 hectares of land on the books. However, today's real estate does not come close to the "old times". At the turn of the century, the family was one of the five largest landowners in Germany with a total of 39,365 hectares of agricultural land (1st place was held by the King of Prussia with 98,746 hectares)!
  • Blauwald GmbH & Co. KG: The forestry company "Blauwald" based in Aalen (Baden-Württemberg) is owned by the Merckle family (Phoenix Pharmahandel, CT Arzneimittel, Kässbohrer, HeidelbergCement, etc.). The Blauwald property covers around 12,000 hectares, of which around 8,500 ha Forest. Blauwald acquired the largest forest areas from the Princely House of Thurn und Taxis with effect from January 1, 2004: The complete forest operation "Ebnat" with more than 5,000 hectares of forest includes forest areas in the Swabian Jura, the outskirts of the Nördlinger Ries and in Mainfranken near Grettstadt. Some of these forests are among the most efficient forest locations in Germany. Further acquisitions were the more than 800 hectares (about half) of the Blaubeuren city forest (the place is the seat of the Merckle Group) for a total of 6.4 million € (= 80 ct / m²), large parts of the city forest of Ulm, forest areas in Vogtland from BVVG and recultivated spoil heaps from LMBV and BVVG, forests from Baroness Speth-Schülzburg from Württemberg and smaller forest areas in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (also from BVVG). High mountain forest and alpine pastures of the Fürstenhaus Wolfegg in Oberallgäu (900 hectares of forest, around 700 hectares of alpine pastures) were also part of the forest operation, but were sold in 2012. In addition to its own forest, Blauwald also manages approx. 3,000 ha Forest from neighboring forest owners, including the forest districts Auernheim and Hohenberg from Prince Emmeram von und zu Liechtenstein, the forest districts Hochstatt and Labersberg from Prince Hugo von und zu Liechtenstein, the forest district Neresheim from Princess Daria von Thurn and Taxis, as well as the Amerdingen forest company from Alfred Gift of Count von Stauffenberg.
  • Sayn-Wittgenstein-Hohenstein: The second of the three lines of those zu Sayn-Wittgenstein also has extensive forest areas. Like many other large private forest owners, Prince August zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Hohenstein divided his originally 13,000 hectare forest property south of the Westphalian Sauerland into around a dozen forest estates due to fear of an impending land reform after the last world war. Subsequently, the prince's heirs, who were sometimes only largely related, joined together in a civil code society that managed the entire Wittgenstein Forest until the end of the 1980s. The so-called Rentkammer Wittgenstein is currently operatingapprox. 7,800 ha Forest owned by the shareholders and around 1,100 hectares owned by third parties.
  • Arenberg-Schleiden GmbH: In order to prevent an excessive reduction in area through real estate, the von Arenberg family decided to found a company between 1928 and 1932. In addition to Arenberg-Meppen GmbH (see above), Arenberg-Schleiden GmbH was also founded. The forest enterprise located in the north Eifel on the west wall cultivates an area of 7,835 ha and is managed by three district leaders. Negotiations to round off the "Eifel National Park" in the immediate vicinity of the forest enterprise enabled Arenberg areas to be exchanged for state forest areas in such a way that Arenberg was able to gain 90 hectares of space without having to spend its own financial resources.
  • Wald- und Grundbesitz GmbH: The company, based in Steinheim / North Rhine-Westphalia, manages a forest area totaling 7,358 ha. Wald- und Grundbesitz GmbH is a company of the Kronospan Group, one of the leading manufacturers of wood-based materials in Europe. From 2003 onwards, the BBG acquired extensive forest properties in the federal state of Brandenburg, which in the past few decades have mainly been used as military training areas. The FSC-certified forest ownership is divided into the three forest operations "Möggelinsee" (3,981 ha), "Drei Grenzen" (1,839 ha) and "Heidehof" (1,538 ha).
  • Princely House of Löwenstein: The Fürstlich-Löwenstein’s Forestry Office under the direction of Dr. Princess Stephanie zu Löwenstein manages a forest area totaling approx. 7,000 ha.
  • Toerring Forst:The German forest holdings of the Counts of Toerring-Jettenbach are located in the foothills of the Alps in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. Toerring Forest is managed 6,000 ha Commercial forest owned by two owner families in Upper Bavaria and Upper Swabia. Another 2,500 hectares of forest are in the state of Washington / USA.
  • Bernstorff family: The former extensive heathland and moors of the Gartow estate in today's Lüchow-Dannenberg district were initially made usable for agriculture, in order to be reforested on a large scale at the beginning of the 19th century. Today there is a closed forest complex of 5,700 ha family-owned, one of the largest forest estates in Lower Saxony. In addition, the Gräflich Bernstoff’s holdings include a further 850 hectares of arable and grassland. Since the restitution in 1993, Gut Stintenburg in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania with around 1,400 hectares of water, forest, fields and pastures has been in the possession of the von Bernstorff family again.
  • Bofrost Family Foundation: The entire forest area of ​​the Bofrost Foundation is likely to be on approx. 5,700 ha amount to. The Bofrost Foundation already owned 3,200 hectares of forest in Franconian Switzerland and the Odenwald when they bought another 2,500 hectares of Eifel forest from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia for € 0.94 / m² in 2009.
  • Princely house of Wied: The real estate assets of the descendants of Friedrich Wilhelm zu Wied († August 28, 2000) include the inherited forestry from approx. 5,500 ha and agriculture with a further approx. 2,000 hectares. With the proceeds from the sale of several works of art and printing plates, Friedrich Wilhelm zu Wied expanded the family-owned forest business by acquiring 25,000 hectares of forest in British Columbia (Canada). To better manage this forest property, Friedrich Wilhelm founded the "Beaumont Timber Company Ltd" in 1981, now one of the largest private forest owners in British Columbia. Friedrich August Maximilian Wilhelm Carl Fürst zu Wied ran the business of the Princely House until 2015, until he died in March 2015 at the age of only 53.
  • House Waldburg-Wolfegg: The approx. 5,500 ha Große Forst is a centuries-old family property of the Waldburg family. In the two districts of Wolfegg and Rohrmoos, the forestry company manages the approx. 5,500 hectares of forest owned by the owner, Prince Johannes von Waldburg zu Wolfegg and Waldsee, as well as approx. 1,800 hectares of client forest.
  • Count v.d. Schulenburg: Günther Graf von der Schulenburg's Gräflich von der Schulenburg’s forest administration manages the whole 5,430 ha Forest area in the federal states of Lower Saxony (Wolfsburg and Gifhorn region), Saxony-Anhalt (Altmark and Letzlinger Heide) and Brandenburg (Fläming).
  • House Württemberg: Since 1975 Carl Herzog von Württemberg has headed the "Hofkammer des Haus Württemberg" with the company's headquarters in Friedrichshafen Castle. The forest property of the Duke of Württemberg is looked after and managed by the forestry division of the court chamber of the House of Württemberg. The total forest area is over 5,000 ha with a clear focus on softwood with approx. 70% of the area. The annual logging is around 50,000 m3. The head office of the forest enterprise is located in Altshausen, Ravensburg district. The Altshausen and Göggingen districts, each with approx. 1,900 ha, look after the forest property in the Altshausen - Sigmaringen - Wilhelmsdorf and Friedrichshafen area. The Pfahlhof Revier with approx. 1,400 ha is responsible for forest ownership in the area north of Stuttgart, from Bietigheim to Winnenden / Waiblingen. In addition to the forest of the House of Württemberg, the Hofkammer of the House of Württemberg manages a further approx. 2,000 hectares of meadows and fields, 50 hectares of vineyards and around 700 properties in Germany and abroad, forests in Canada and Austria as well as various company investments.
  • Princely House of Bentheim-Steinfurt: The property of the Princely Family includes Bentheim Castle and Steinfurt Castle with the Johanniter Kommende. The forestry operation of the Fürst zu Bentheimsche Domainkammer manages a total of approx. 5,000 ha Forest. Most of this is in the county of Bentheim (Lower Saxony), in the district of Steinfurt (North Rhine-Westphalia) and a further 900 hectares in Baden-Württemberg. Large parts of the Bentheim forest also belong to the forest ownership in the county of Bentheim. It alone covers an area of ​​1,600 ha. This makes it one of the three largest contiguous forest areas in northwest Germany.
  • Salm Boscor GmbH & Co. KG First forest company: Salm-Salm & Partner was founded in 1990 by Michael Prinz zu Salm-Salm as an asset management company. The Boscor Group is one of the largest service providers in the field of forest and land management in Germany with an area of ​​approx. 4,500 hectares of agricultural and 33,000 hectares of forest areas under management and consulting mandates (of which approx. 7,000 hectares are owned). The “First Forest Society” was launched in 2009 by the Salm-Salm family and the Boscor Group. It is an amalgamation of eight families and covers an area of ​​approx. 4,900 ha Forest in five federal states.
  • House Bismarck: Ferdinand Fürst von Bismarck, the great-grandson of the former Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, still manages the Bismarck family as head of the family approx. 4,500 ha of the former 6,000 hectare forest estate district of Sachsenwald, Schleswig-Holstein's largest contiguous forest area. Emperor Wilhelm I gave Otto von Bismarck the Sachsenwald on June 24, 1871 in recognition of his services to the establishment of an empire. In 2003 the shipowner Eberhard von Rantzau (Honorary Consul of South Africa) acquired approx. 2,250 hectares of the Sachsenwald from the von Bismarck family.
  • Princely houses of Castell-Rüdenhausen and Castell-Castell: The Fürstlich Castell’sche forest administration manages the forest holdings of the two lines. The total area includes 4,478 ha Forest (as of 2008) spread over eight forest districts in Lower, Middle and Upper Franconia as well as in Thuringia.
  • Princely Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg’s administration: The 4,448 ha large princely forests lie between Aschaffenburg and Würzburg, in the Mainspessart and Odenwaldrand area and in the Löwenstein and Waldenburg mountains. The total area is divided between the federal states of Baden Württemberg and Bavaria, with the Bavarian property having the smallest share with 943 hectares. The area in Baden-Württemberg with 3,526 hectares includes 1,841 hectares in Wertheim (Nassig district), 1,047 hectares in the Göckelhof district (Kreuzwertheim) and 1,560 hectares in Löwenstein (Löwenstein district).
  • Solms-Laubach: The forestry company Solms-Laubach and the Graf zu Solms Laubach’sche Rentkammer, under the management of Karl Georg Graf zu Solms-Laubach, manage a forest area of 4,250 ha in the "Vorderen" Vogelsberg. Of this, the so-called wooden soil accounts for 3,900 ha and the so-called non-wooden soil (e.g. meadows, ponds, paths, flowing waters, etc.) 350 ha.
  • Graeflich-Erbach-Fürstenau administration: Under the management of the head of the family, Raimund Graf zu Erbach Fürstenau, the forestry company manages a total area of 4,250 ha, of which 4,212 hectares are forest areas. The family-owned areas are 100 percent in the Bergstrasse-Odenwald Geo-Nature Park.
  • Sebastian Freiherr von Rotenhan: Freiherr von Rotenhan is a forest owner in Rentweinsdorf in Franconia, in Hohenstein-Ernstthal in Saxony and in Reuthen in southern Brandenburg. The forest ownership of the von Rotenhan family extends over a total of 4,200 ha. The forest near Rentweinsdorf in Lower Franconia alone is 1,260 hectares in size. Von Rotenhan was instrumental in the reform of the Bavarian State Forest Administration. Since 1998 he has been demanding, ultimately with success, the dissolution of the standardized forest offices and the creation of structures under private law for the state forests. He is one of the managing directors of Boscor Forst GmbH, one of the largest forest management service providers in Germany (approx. 33,000 hectares of forest under management and consulting mandate).
  • Princely House of Oettingen-Spielberg: The Fürst zu Oettingen-Spielberg forest administration manages around 4,000 ha Forest.
  • Ketteler-Boeselager: The company's headquarters are in Höllinghofen Castle, approx. 40 km east of Dortmund. The brothers Dr. Wolfhard and Wilderich v. Boeselager founded the “Wildwald Vosswinkel” on an area of ​​680 ha. Among other things, it houses the “Vosswinkel Forest Academy”. V. ". It is one of the most renowned environmental educational institutions in North Rhine-Westphalia. Overall, the wild forest is the largest privately financed environmental education facility in North Rhine-Westphalia. The nature experience center attracts 100,000 visitors every year. Other forest locations are Heessen near the city of Hamm and in New York State (USA). Total will be 4,000 ha Forest managed. In addition, there is another 500 hectares of agriculture. Ildikó von Ketteler-Boeselager has been running the family's business since 2007.
  • Princely House of Salm-Salm: The Fürstlich Salm-Salmsche private forest is managed by the forestry office of the Fürstlich Salm-Salm’s administration in Rhede under the direction of Dr. Emanuel Hereditary Prince zu Salm-Salm manages. The forest areas are approx. 3,800 ha large, including a 1,000 hectare contiguous forest, the largest in the entire Borken district.
  • Princely house of Schaumburg-Lippe: Prince Alexander becomes head of the Schaumburg-Lippe family in 2003 after the death of his older brother Georg Wilhelm. The private forest enterprise of the Prince zu Schaumburg-Lippe cultivates in the southwest of Lower Saxony, in the district of Schaumburg, a total area of 3,720 ha. The headquarters of the house and seat of the Princely Forestry Office is Schloss Bückeburg. In Austria, in the Brunnental of Steyerling, the "Fürstlich Schaumburg-Lippische Forstverwaltung", which is also owned by the Prince, manages a further 7,000 hectares of forest. At the same time, the company maintains the largest fishery in the region.
  • Forst Ebnath AG: The only German forest company whose shares were publicly traded (until 2015) is now owned by Munich Re. The 3,524 hectare property of Forst Ebnath AG is 95% covered by forest, so in total 3,332 ha large. The largest part (1,801 ha) is in the northern Upper Palatinate. 464 ha are in the southern Upper Palatinate, 661 ha in western Upper Franconia and 323 ha in southern Thuringia.
  • Princely House of Waldeck-Pyrmont: Wittekind Prinz zu Waldeck and Pyrmont manages a closed operating area of ​​approx. 3,300 ha in the northeast of Hesse. A characteristic of this forest enterprise is the old beech stock. 60% of the beeches are more than 120 years old.
  • Fugger foundations: The “Fürstlich und Gräflich Fugger Foundation Administration” watches over the Foundation Forest Office in Laugna and several forest services that are responsible for the sustainable management of the 3,200 ha large foundation forests.
  • Family Henkel: The industrial family Henkel (DAX 30 group with headquarters in Düsseldorf) owns around 3,200 ha Forest in the Upper Bavarian Inn Valley near Flintsbach am Inn. In the 1930s, the large corporation had acquired the area from the Steinbeis company. The family owns more forest areas in the Harz National Park.
  • Barons of Gemmingen-Hornberg: The von Gemmingen-Hornberg family manages approx. 3,000 ha Forest. Including a 2,200 hectare forest area in the southeastern part of the 15,000 hectare stone forest in northeast Bavaria.
  • Princely House Hohenlohe-Langenburg: Approx. 2,700 ha includes the forest property around Langenburg and Weikersheim, which is managed by the “Princely Forest Administration Hohenlohe-Langenburg” under the direction of Prince Philipp zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg.
  • Count of Königsegg-Aulendorf: The Graf zu Königsegg-Aulendorf forestry company comprises approx. 2,500 ha Forest and is mainly located in the west of the Ravensburg district in Upper Swabia.
  • House of Saxony-Weimar-Eisenach: Michael-Benedikt Prince of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach is the family chairman of the Wettin family, a German nobility that is over 1,000 years old. The family owns around in Thuringia 2,500 ha Forest.
  • Princely House of Hohenlohe-Waldenburg: The Fürstliche Forstverwaltung Hohenlohe-Waldenburg manages the Neckarland 2,205 ha Forest. In recent years there has been a move away from spruce and the implementation of natural forest management.
  • Counts of Spee: Heltorf Castle has been the seat of the Counts of Spee since 1662. The Heltorf forestry company under the leadership of Wilhelm Graf von Spee has a total area of ​​around 2,200 ha and is located in the middle of the metropolitan area between Düsseldorf, Duisburg, Mülheim and Ratingen.
  • Forestry company Silva Forstgut Breuberg GbR: The Forstgut Breuberg is a private forest enterprise and manages around Breuberg 2,100 ha Mixed forest. The forestry company Silva Forstgut Breuberg GbR consists of seven districts around Breuberg in the Odenwald. The Arbores Verwaltungs-GmbH (Kleve) and the Waldwert Vermögens- und Beteiligungsgesellschaft mbh & Co.KG (Kleve) are complementary to the Silva GbR.
  • Count von dem Bussche-Kessell: The forest administration of Schloss Neuenhof in Lüdenscheid manages around under the leadership of Alhard Graf von dem Bussche-Kessell 2,100 ha wooded low mountain range in the western Sauerland.
  • Prince Ludwig of Baden: The forest property of Prince Ludwig von Baden extends with a total area of around 2,000 ha over the ridges and valley cuts of the high Odenwald and Neckar valley. The wood is marketed by the Margravial Badische Forstamt Zwingenberg.
  • Gebhard Graf von Hardenberg: Due to the transfer back in 1993, the Lietzen Commandery, with around 4,000 hectares of land, is again owned by the Hardenberg family and inhabited by them. This essentially consists of agriculture and forestry as well as lake areas and real estate in the districts of Märkisch-Oderland and Oder-Spree. Gebhard Graf von Hardenberg therefore now owns more than 1,800 hectares of forest and 200 hectares of water.
  • Paul Graf von Schönborn: The forest administration Graf von Schönborn in the Lower Franconian district of Kitzingen covers a forest area of ​​around 1,600 ha. The annual approx. 7,000 solid cubic meters of wood are cut in our own sawmill, in the meadow. The property also includes 900 hectares of agriculture and approx. 50 individual ponds with a total water surface of approx. 88 hectares.
  • Baron von Knigge: The areas of Freiherr Knigge’s forest administration based on the Bredenbeck manor cover an area of 1,230 ha Forest at the gates of Hanover. In addition, there are other forest areas from other owners in Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt with a total size of 2300 ha, which are managed from Bredenbeck within the framework of forest care or management contracts.
  • Freiherr von der Tann: Michael Freiherr von der Tann holds a degree in agricultural engineering and has been President of the Hessian Forest Owners Association since 1999. It represents the interests of around 60,000 forest owners in Hesse. His personal forest enterprise owns a forest area of 1,200 ha. The Tann’sche Forest Administration also looks after client forests (a communal forest and several private forest operations) with a total area of ​​around 2,000 hectares.
  • Gut Karow GbR: The forest area Gut Karow -Hahnenhorst has a total forest area of 1,200 ha. The estate on the western edge of the Mecklenburg Lake District still includes almost 1,000 hectares of arable land and around 400 hectares of meadows and pastures. Father Haimo Schlutius and son Stefan Schlutius are the two owners of Gut Karow GbR.
  • Jan Martin Dee: A very interesting forest owner with an eventful vita and unusual views on forest management. The trained business economist has owned a total of 1,115 ha Forest in the Hohe Schrecke, a mountain range in the north of Thuringia that is predominantly wooded with beech and oak. With a length of around 17 kilometers, the Hohe Schrecke is one of the largest uncut forests in Germany.
  • Philipp zu Guttenberg: The brother of the former German Defense Minister took over the family castle in Upper Franconia and the family business after the inheritance was divided. In 2009, the castle and forestry operations were incorporated into a private foundation based in Austria. In addition to the German forest enterprise with approx. 1,000 ha in Upper Franconia and Hesse zu Guttenberg acquired another 4,000 hectare forest enterprise in Styria. He is also President of the Working Group of German Forest Owners Associations (AGDW) and Vice President of the European Forest Owners Association (CEPF).
  • Lindhorst Group: Under the direction of Jürgen Lindhorst, one of the leading companies in the field of conventional agriculture has emerged. More than 22,000 hectares are cultivated nationwide. In the "Hohen Schrecke", a deciduous forest area in the border region between Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt, the Lindhorst family already belongs 1,000 ha Forest. A total of 3,600 hectares of beech forest are to be acquired by the and transferred to the family foundation in the long term.
  • House Wettin: Daniel Prince of Saxony (aristocratic circles argue about the legality of this title) has headed the Wettin Forest Administration since 2007. The forest enterprise manages over 1,000 ha Forest between Radebeul and Friedewald in the district of Meißen. The Wettinische Forstverwaltung is a private family forest enterprise and was established in 2002 by the repurchase of the Kreyern Revier as part of the Friedewald from the state.Thus the former family forest is at least partially in the possession of the former kings of Saxony. In the meantime, a cemetery has also emerged in the Friedewald. "Naturruhe Friedewald GmbH" has set up the Coswig burial forest on 40 hectares.
  • Family von Bodenhausen: Irene and Melchior von Bodenhausen manage a forest of approx. 1,000 ha Area that, strictly speaking, belongs to two families. Part of it belongs to the aristocratic family Buttlar from Ermschwerd on the northern slope of the Kaufunger Forest (Irene v. Bodenhausen is a born Freiin v. Buttlar-Zegenberg). The second part includes the forest of the von Bodenhausens at the forester's house Hasenwinkel near Ballenhausen.
  • Count of Bodmannsche Rentamt: The above 1,000 ha large forests of the Freiherr von Bodmann lie around the idyllic Bodman in the immediate vicinity of Lake Constance. The famous Marienschlucht and various viewpoints are located in the Bodman forest area.
  • Carl Graf von Hardenberg: In addition to the count's grain distillery (the schnapps with the boar's head) there are approx. 1,000 ha Forest and 600 hectares of arable land owned by the count.
  • Rethmann family: With Rethmann SE & Co. KG as the parent company (Remondis, Rhenus, Saria), the “garbage billionaire” Norbert Rethmann has built one of the largest German family businesses. The Mecklenburgische Güterverwaltungs- und Dienstleistungsgesellschaft mbH and Co. KG with over 7,000 hectares of real estate does not belong to the Rethmann parent company, it is privately owned by the four Rethmann brothers Ludger, Klemens, Georg and Martin in equal shares. There are also approx. 1,000 ha Forest.
  • Franz Prince of Salm-Salm: In 1992 Franz Prinz zu Salm inherited 130 hectares of land (half forest) from the property of the House of Loburg in the Münsterland near Coesfeld (North Rhine-Westphalia). In 1999, the trained lawyer and passionate hunter bought a further 856 hectares of forest including his own forester's house in the Dübener Heide, the so-called "Thielenhaide", in Saxony-Anhalt. In total, he cultivates approx. 920 ha Forest. Incidentally, Franz Prinz zu Salm-Salm has been chairman of the Forest Owners Association of Saxony-Anhalt since 2007. In this function, he represents 15,000 forest owners with a total area of ​​almost 93,000 hectares.
  • Baron Heereman von Zuydtwyck: The former President of the German Farmers' Association (1969–1997), President of the German Hunting Protection Association (1995–2003) and member of the German Bundestag (1983–1990) owns around 840 ha Forest. Former owner of 700 hectares of forest and 150 hectares of arable land, Baron von Herremann bought the 140 hectare “Gravenhorster Klosterwald” near Hörstel in 2008. His son Philipp Freiherr Heereman von Zuydtwyck is chairman of the North Rhine-Westphalia forest farmers' association.
  • Wilhelm von Carlowitz: He is the descendant of Hans Carl von Carlowitz. You don't know the name? Hans Carl von Carlowitz wrote in 1713 (!) With the "Sylvicultura oeconomica", or "Domestic news and natural instruction for wild tree cultivation" the first complete work on forestry and is considered to be the essential creator of the forest sustainability concept, which focuses on the preservation of the essential properties, the stability and the natural regenerative capacity of the forest. Reason enough for us to include his descendant Wilhelm von Carlowitz on this list, although he "only" 650 ha Pine forest in the Altmark, northeast of the Harz mountains.

Interesting state forests

Forests owned by the state are referred to as state forests or state forests (federal). The forest owned by the Federal Republic of Germany is mostly referred to as federal forest, although it is also a state forest. The federal forest is mainly located on areas used by the military and along federal waterways and motorways. there are also some particularly interesting state forests:

  • State forest Goehrde: The state forest Goehrde is around 7,500 ha large and is thus the largest contiguous mixed forest area in northern Germany. The forest is part of the Elbhöhen-Wendland nature park.
  • Klever Reichswald: With about 5,100 ha The Klever Reichswald is the largest contiguous forest area of ​​the Lower Rhine and the largest contiguous public state forest in North Rhine-Westphalia. It lies between Goch, Kleve and Kranenburg. The core of the Reichswald is the 580 hectare nature reserve Geldenberg with two natural forest cells with a total size of 49 hectares.
  • Hinzel State Forest near Oerel: With an area of 2,715 ha the Hinzel state forest west of Bremervörde is one of the largest forest areas between the Elbe and Weser rivers.
  • Burgholz State Forest: With “Staatsforst Burgholz” becomes a 1,000 ha large forest area in the Wuppertal and Solingen urban areas. Most of it is a nature reserve. A narrower area of ​​approx. 250 hectares is known under the name “Arboretum Burgholz”. Here, forest science studies are carried out on the basis of its nationwide unique collection of various partly exotic woody plants and foreign tree species.

Special case rail & forest

Deutsche Bahn AG, based in Berlin, was created in 1994 from the merger of the Deutsche Bundesbahn and the Deutsche Reichsbahn and the transformation into a stock corporation. The 100% federally owned company is not only the largest railway transport and infrastructure company in Central Europe, but also one of the largest forest owners in Germany. over 20,000 ha Bahn AG owns wooded areas. In terms of area, this means that you are on a par with the Thurn und Taxis, but the quality of the forest is different. For the most part, there are narrow wooded strips to the left and right of the 34,000 kilometers of the route. In the past, strips around 10 meters wide to the left and right of the tracks were kept free so that the steam locomotives did not set everything on fire with their flying sparks. In the age of diesel and electric locomotives, this is of course no longer an issue. But six meters are kept free anyway, followed by a coppice zone.

50 DB forester: DB Netze employs over 50 foresters, but their work differs in many ways from that of a regular forester. Since the forest areas extend over the whole of Germany, a railway forester is usually responsible for several federal states, for example, and sits on the train a lot to travel around his area. Its forestry objectives are also different. His primary concern is the safety of the railway line. As a result, a tree near the railway line usually does not live very long. Regular pruning is the order of the day and leads to a special form of coppice. The tree species are also preferably selected according to whether their roots help to secure the embankment. Robinia, maple and oak are preferred.

Primarily energy wood: In earlier years, the pruning mostly remained on the embankment, today it is increasingly used as wood chips or energy wood. In the meantime, Deutsche Bahn is even testing the targeted cultivation of short rotation plantations in pilot operation. Logs are only harvested on approx. 20% of the railway forest areas.

The largest body forests

A corporate forest is a forest owned by public corporations such as municipalities and cities (then also referred to as communal forest, urban forest, community forest or also as forest for interested parties), public-law foundations and special-purpose associations or universities (then often called university forest) . We have created a separate section for urban and university forests (see below).

  • DBU Naturerbe GmbH: The non-profit subsidiary of the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU) is responsible for currently 71 areas nationwide with around 70,000 hectares in 10 federal states (as of 07/19). It is thus the largest land owner of the so-called "National Natural Heritage" (a total of around 156,000 ha). The areas are predominantly former military training areas.
    Of the 71 areas, 25 extend over an area of ​​more than 1,000 hectares each. Six of them are even larger than 2,500 hectares! The "Ueckermünder Heide" is currently the largest area in the portfolio with around 9,733 hectares.
    Of the 70,000 hectares of DBU natural heritage, around 55,000 ha covered with forest. Around 60% of these forests consist of coniferous forests. The aim of DBU Naturerbe GmbH is to convert these relatively species-poor forests into near-natural forests. For this purpose, they should be left to develop naturally without human intervention, if possible. A small selection of forest areas from BDU Naturerbe GmbH: Daubaner forest in Saxony (3,265 ha), Kaarzer wood in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (2,788 ha), Authausener forest in Saxony (2,198 ha), Hartmannsdorfer forest in terms of things (1,932 ha), Pöllwitzer forest in Thuringia (1,893 ha).
    The German Federal Environmental Foundation was established as a foundation under civil law on the basis of a law of the Bundestag dated July 18, 1990. With the privatization proceeds of Salzgitter AG amounting to around 1.3 billion euros as start-up capital and foundation capital of around 2.24 billion euros (2018), it is one of the largest foundations in Europe. The DBU Naturerbe GmbH was founded in 2007 as a non-profit subsidiary of the DBU in Osnabrück for the nature conservation-friendly care and safeguarding of DBU natural heritage areas. Since 2008, the Federal Agency for Real Estate Tasks (BImA) has been gradually transferring areas, predominantly previously used by the military, to it.
  • Monastery Chamber Hanover: The monastery chamber of Hanover is a state authority and foundation body in the service area of ​​the Lower Saxony. Ministry of Science and Culture. The Klosterkammerforstbetrieb (KFB) is administered by the Klosterforstämter in Soltau and Westerhof and covers an area of 24,400 ha Forest. In order to be able to manage this forest commercially and efficiently in accordance with the foundation's purpose, the monastery forests were converted into a state enterprise in the 1999 financial year. In the northern part of the farm, around 14,200 hectares of forest are cultivated in the Lüneburg Heath. The southern part of the farm manages around 10,200 hectares of forest in southern Lower Saxony. In addition to the monastery forest operation, the Ilfeld monastery forest operation with the Ilfeld monastery forestry in the state of Thuringia also belongs to the administrative area of ​​the monastery chamber. It covers a forest area of ​​around 1,573 hectares.
  • Waldeckische Domanialverwaltung: The so-called "Waldecki Domanial Fund" is a curiosity in our eyes. The Domanium (comparable to a chamber property) comprises a property of around 20,600 hectares. With a forest area of ​​approx. 19,000 ha the Waldeckische Domanialverwaltung is the largest communal forest owner in Germany. The domain administration employs six master forest managers and 28 forest managers. In addition to the Domanialwald, the special fund includes 1,600 hectares of usable agricultural area (including the Ober-Gembeck with Twiste and Waldeck domains). The baroque residential castle in Bad Arolsen, Waldeck Castle on the Edersee, Höhnscheid Castle and Rhoden Castle also belong to the dominal property.
  • Regional association Lippe: The forestry department of the Landesverband Lippe (LVL), a higher municipal association, manages around 15,700 ha Forest from the Teutoburg Forest to the Lippe Mountains. The forestry department comprises 11 district foresters and currently around 45 employees with the headquarters in Horn-Bad Meinberg. The Landesverband Lippe was created after the Second World War as part of the membership agreements between the Free State of Lippe and the newly founded state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The forest, other lands and real estate belonging to the LVL come from the former assets of the Principality of Lippe, which became state assets in 1919.
  • RVR Ruhr Green: The Regionalverband Ruhr (RVR), based in Essen, is the owner of around 14,500 ha Forest. This corresponds to around 20 percent of the forest areas in the Ruhr Metropolis. This makes the association the largest municipal forest owner in North Rhine-Westphalia. His forest areas include "Die Haard" (no, this is not a film with Bruce Willis) with 5,500 hectares of forest area alone, the high Mark, the Üfter Mark (1,500 hectares) or the Kirchheller Heide.
  • Evangelical Foundation Care Schönau: The Evangelische Stiftung Pflege Schönau (ESPS) is an independent church foundation under public law based in Heidelberg. It is the legal successor of the "Unterländer Evangelical Church Fund", which goes back to the administration of the property of the 1558 abolished Schönau monastery established in 1560. With over 7,600 ha Forests, the Evangelische Stiftung Pflege Schönau (ESPS) is the largest corporate forest owner in Baden-Württemberg.
  • NABU Foundation: In 1908, NABU acquired its first nature reserve, the nightingale island near Lauffen. Of the extensive land owned by the NABU Foundation (at the end of 2017 there were already 18,026 ha!), Around 6,300 ha on forest. Most of this has been withdrawn from use. The long-term goal is the development of native forest communities also on the remaining areas, in order to then also leave these completely to natural occurrences.
  • Braunschweigischer Kulturbesitz Foundation: The forest of the former "Braunschweigischen United Monastery and Study Fund" was absorbed on 01.01.2005 by the "Stiftung Braunschweigischer Kulturbesitz" (SBK), of which it is a sub-fund. It encompasses around 5,500 ha. The foundation forest is divided into three foundation foresters.
  • Juliusspital Foundation: Julius Echter von Mespelbrunn laid down the economic basis for fulfilling the foundation's mandate in the deed of foundation in 1579. The forestry operation of the Juliusspital Foundation in Würzburg manages a total of forest area in the Vorrhön and Spessart regions 3,350 ha. Incidentally, the forest is fully FSC-certified. In addition to the huge forest areas and a further 1,050 hectares of agricultural land, the Juliusspital in Würzburg owns a 180 hectare winery. It is the second largest in Germany and the largest Silvaner winery in the world. The foundation is one of the largest farmers and one of the largest private forest owners in the Free State of Bavaria.

The largest urban forests

A city forest is a forest that is owned by a city. According to Section 3 of the Federal Forest Act, urban forests are usually also corporate forests.

  • Berlin forests: Germany's largest urban forest is managed by Berlin's forests. In 1990, an application was made to the Treuhandanstalt to transfer back approx. 13,000 hectares of former Berlin urban forest areas in Brandenburg. The transfer of this area back to the ownership of the State of Berlin has now been completed. With a managed area of ​​approx. 29,000 ha Forests in Berlin (approx. 17,000 ha) and Brandenburg (approx. 11,000 ha), the Berlin Forests are the largest urban forest administration in Germany. At the beginning of 2004, the formerly eight forest offices were merged into four: Grunewald Forest Office 6,000 ha, Köpenick Forest Office 8,500 ha, Pankow Forest Office 8,500 ha and the Tegel Forest Office 6,000 ha.
  • City forest Brilon: The largest municipal forest in Germany is the Brilon municipal forest in the eastern Sauerland. The 7,750 ha of the city forest of Brilon are divided into five districts. The annual harvest is approx. 55,000 cubic meters, of which 75% coniferous wood and 25% hardwood. The forest work is carried out by around 20 urban forest managers.
  • Augsburg city forest: The forest administration of the city of Augsburg is with a forest area of ​​around 7,679 ha also the largest communal forest owner in Bavaria. The forest area is divided into seven urban forest districts. Two districts are located in the city area, the others are outside the city limits. With 2,150 hectares, the Augsburg city forest is Bavaria's largest contiguous alluvial forest. The city of Augsburg has also owned over 800 hectares of forest in the northern Upper Palatinate for around 75 years. These are forest areas of the former Fuchsmühl castle estate.

Wald-Prinz.de has the in an almost inhuman hard work List of the 100 largest urban forests in Germany compiled.

The largest university forests

  • University Forest Greifswald: The University of Greifswald lost many of its possessions in the course of history. Before the land reform of the GDR, the university owned an unbelievable 14,500 hectares, an area almost three times the size of Greifswald at that time. The land reform "pulverized" this property. The reunification brought a turning point here as well. After processing the transfer requests, the university can now call 8,700 hectares of forest and arable land, as well as numerous real estate, its own. The Greifswald university forest comprises around 3,200 ha. The forests are mainly located between the villages of Kieshof in the northwest and Hanshagen in the east.
  • University of Würzburg: The University Forestry Office Sailershausen (Haßberge district) manages the 2,300 ha Forests of the University of Würzburg. The beginnings of the Forestry Office at the University of Würzburg go back to 1582. Historically, the forest ownership comes from the former possessions of the three monasteries Kreuzthal, Maria Burghausen and Theres
  • Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich. The 470 ha The large forest of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU), located near Landshut, goes back to a foundation of the Bavarian Elector Maximilian Joseph in 1802, who in the course of secularization furnished the state university, which was located in Landshut from 1800 to 1826, with properties.
  • Philipps University of Marburg: The Marburg University Forest, supervised by the Burgwald Forestry Office, is 212 ha was transferred over 400 years ago by the founder of the university, Landgrave Philipp von Hessen, to provide the professors teaching there with firewood over the winter.
    Today the forest serves as a source of income for the university and as a research area for the natural sciences departments.