11.B - Forest Fires

Last updated on 29 Aug 2019 09:29 (cf. Authors)

Short Description

NFR-Code Name of category Method AD EF Key Category State of reporting
11.B Forest Fires CS, T2 CS D not included in key category analysis

Category 11.B – Forest fires include emissions from forest fires occurring naturally or caused by humans.

In Germany’s forests prescribed burning is not applied. Therefore, all forest fires are categorized as wildfires. - Note that emissions reported here are not accounted for the national totals.



For calculating the emissions of wildfires a country specific Tier2 approach was used. The mass of carbon emitted M(C) was calculated using the adapted equation follows the methodology of Seiler and Crutzen (1980) [4].

\begin{equation} M(C) = 0.45 * A * B * β \end{equation}

0.45 = average fraction of carbon in fuel wood;
A = forest area burnt in [m²];
B = mean above-ground biomass of fuel material per unit area in [kg/m²];
β = burning efficiency (fraction burnt) of the above-ground biomass.

The data on forest areas burnt for the period 1990 to 2016 have been taken from the German forest fire statistic (BLE, 2017) [1] managed by the Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food. The mean above-ground biomass was derived for each year by linear extrapolation and interpolation between the German National Forest Inventorys of 1987, 2002, 2012 (Bundeswaldinventuren 1987, 2002, 2012) and the inventory study 2008 (Inventurstudie 2008). Pursuant to König (2007) [3], 80% of the forest fires in Germany are surface fires and 20% crown fires. In accordance to the IPCC Good Practice Guidance for LULUCF (2003) a burning efficiency of 0.15 was used for surface fires and an efficiency of 0.45 was used for crown fires.

The emissions for the pollutants were calculated by multiplying the mass of carbon with the respective emission factors from table 3-3 (EMEP/EEA, 2013) [2].

For the calculation of particulate emissions (TSP, PM10 and PM2.5) the burnt biomass was multiplied with the respective emission factors from table 3-5 (EMEP/EEA, 2013). Those particulate emission factors have been estimated by averaging the emission factors from the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA, 1996) [5] methodology, since no better information is available. Those emission factors are assumed to be the same for all types of forest.

The Guidebook does not indicate whether EFs have considered the condensable component (with or without).

As a first estimate black carbon emissions are reported the first time.

Activity data

The data on forest areas burnt for the period 1990 to 2017 are based on the German forest fire statistic (BLE, 2018) managed by the Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food.

Table 1: Area of forest burnt, in [ha]
1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003
1,606 920 4,908 1,493 1,114 592 1,381 599 397 415 581 122 122 1,315
2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
274 183 482 256 539 757 522 214 269 199 120 526 283 395

Emission factors

For the year 2017 the estimated emission factors from table 2 were applied.

Table 2: Emission factors applied for 2017
Pollutant EF2017 [kg/ha forest area burnt]
NOx 145.47
CO 5,188.55
NMVOC 458.24
SOx 34.91
NH3 39.28
TSP 824.35
PM10 533.40
PM2.5 436.42
BC 39.28

1. BLE (Bundesanstalt für Landwirtschaft und Ernährung), 2018: Waldbrandstatistik der Bundesrepublik Deutschland für das Jahr 2017, Bonn: 21 S.
3. König, H.-C., 2007. Waldbrandschutz - Kompendium für Forst und Feuerwehr. 1. Fachverlag Matthias Grimm, Berlin, 197 S.
4. Seiler, W., Crutzen P.J.: Estimates of gross and net fluxes of carbon between the biosphere and the atmosphere from biomass burning. Climate Change. 1980
5. USEPA, 1996: Compilation of Air Pollutant Emission Factors Vol.1. Stationary, Point and Area Sources. Report AP-42 (fifth edition).
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