In the environment, for the environment

STIHL feels a special responsibility for the environment. Our tools are used in nature and for nature. That is why we leverage our scope as a company to help protect nature and the climate. STIHL’s aim is to keep the environmental impact of our business activities and products to a minimum while using resources sparingly.

Climate Action Responsible consumption and production

As a globally active organization, the STIHL Group naturally complies with all legal guidelines regarding environmental protection in its operations, at its sites, and through its products. The regulations to which we are subject include the European Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) and the EU’s Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS). In 2022, no violations of relevant laws were reported.

Our own environmental and quality standards are often stricter than the statutory regulations. When using potentially hazardous substances, we act with tremendous care, comply with legal guidelines, and make every effort to minimize the impact of our activities on the environment. In keeping with our mission to go above and beyond the applicable environmental requirements, we plan to draw up an inventory of all critical process chemicals. By 2025, we will have an action plan that aims to minimize the use of hazardous process chemicals such as biocides (which are added to cooling oils and process water), first in our own processes and then also in our supply chain. With this we will make a contribution to the United Nations target of achieving the environmentally sound management of chemicals (SDG 12).

All of our production companies worldwide have a certified environmental management system in line with ISO 14001 and are subject to recertification every three years. External audits are conducted every year. The next recertification is scheduled for 2023 and 2024 at most production companies. Our currently valid certificates can be viewed on the STIHL corporate website. In addition to the external audits, we perform internal audits on a regular basis. Every plant has an environmental officer who is responsible for compliance with laws, standards, and guidelines.

Water and effluents

The STIHL Group requires water in manufacturing for cleaning and cooling and for other processing stages. We are constantly working to optimize the use of resources. At the STIHL chain plant in Switzerland, for example, we have succeeded in reducing water consumption for chemical deburring, electroplating, vibratory finishing, and cleaning parts.

During some manufacturing processes, water is mixed with additives to act as a cleaning agent or to finish surfaces. We treat the resulting effluents in accordance with the applicable regulatory requirements before releasing them into wastewater collection systems.

In 2022, production companies Group-wide extracted around 655,000 cubic meters of water (previous year: 630,000 cubic meters). We plan to collect and report more detailed water-use data in the future.


The main types of waste generated at STIHL are packaging, wood, metal, and plastics. Hazardous waste, such as used oil or slurry containing metals, accounts for a small share and is disposed of properly. Our waste management hierarchy consists of prevention, recycling, and disposal. We sort the waste we generate. If possible, it is reused or recycled. If not, it is properly disposed of. STIHL regularly informs and trains its employees about proper waste management.

In 2022, waste volume was significantly higher than the level reported in 2021, mainly due to construction work at STIHL in Brazil. The reporting year saw an increase in the share of other waste in particular, while the proportion of wood waste fell noticeably after certain testing activities were outsourced.

in metric tons – values rounded

  2022 2021
Total waste volume 68,200 56,200
Of which hazardous waste 9,600 7,300
¹ Production companies only; data collection to be expanded in the future.

Waste by material
(previous year in parentheses)

We continued our project to examine environmentally friendly packaging. In an analysis – which was initially performed for STIHL Germany and Austria, as well as for individual types of packaging in Switzerland (chains) and the United States (mowing heads) – we identified the potential for savings with regard to our product packaging. We are currently rolling out the changes. By the end of 2023, we plan to achieve 94 percent of the identified savings opportunities and cut our use of plastics by 194.4 metric tons a year. Merely converting our mowing head packaging from plastic to solid and corrugated fiberboard, which started in 2022, will account for 111 metric tons of that reduction. In 2023, we also plan to do away with the window on our chain packaging, eliminating a further 48 metric tons of plastic. Switching to mono-materials additionally has a positive effect on the recyclability of our packaging, since different materials no longer need to be combined. A follow-up project is scheduled to begin in 2023 at STIHL Inc. in the U.S., as well as at STIHL Brazil and STIHL China.

Avoiding waste at STIHL Inc.

Our U.S. company STIHL Inc. is focused on maximum efficiency when using resources in production. In injection and blow molding, the sprues are automatically separated from the part and reused right away in further processing. Larger recyclable parts that are left over or rejected once the machines are up and running are ground down centrally and reused. In mowing line production, the lines produced when the machines are started are granulated mechanically and recycled, helping STIHL avoid process-related waste.

Converting our packaging allows us to make a contribution toward substantially reducing waste generation, a target under the goal “Sustainable consumption and production” (United Nations Sustainable Development Goal, SDG 12).

Energy and climate change mitigation

We are committed to protecting the climate and intend to help shape climate change mitigation efforts. STIHL supports the Paris Agreement and the target of limiting global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. In 2020, we set the goal of offsetting the carbon impact of our business activities in the long term. However, we still believe that reducing emissions comes before offsetting them. Our climate change mitigation activities are our contribution to the goal “Climate action” (United Nations Sustainable Development Goal, SDG 13).

To give our climate targets a solid foundation, STIHL is currently considering whether to join the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

Our first step will be to focus on Scope 1 emissions under the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, which come from energy consumption and can be influenced by our decisions. At the STIHL Group, such emissions result primarily from the combustion of gas and oil to heat buildings and during manufacturing processes, assembly, and development. They are also attributable to fuel for the vehicle fleet and coolant losses during business operations. We additionally take indirect Scope 2 emissions from electricity and district heating into consideration.

Thanks to offsetting, our locations in Germany have been climate-neutral with regard to their Scope 1 and 2 emissions since January 2021. All international production companies followed suit in 2022, with the international sales companies slated to go carbon-neutral in 2023. We have already purchased the appropriate offsets.

In the long term, we aim to lower our energy consumption and therefore reduce the share of unavoidable emissions, which we currently offset by making positive contributions in the form of carbon credits from climate protection projects.

Reducing Scope 3 emissions

Emissions occurring in the upstream and downstream value chain (Scope 3) are not something the STIHL Group can influence alone. However, we still aim to reduce such emissions in accordance with the targets under the Paris Agreement and under German legislation. Last year, we defined the areas we need to consider when it comes to Scope 3 emissions beyond the life cycle of our products. In the upstream value chain, those areas include business travel, goods and services, waste, logistics, employee commuting, and the upstream chain for our fuels. In the downstream value chain, they concern the use of our products and their disposal, as well as distribution logistics and packaging. Our next step will be to define detailed targets for individual areas.

We have calculated product carbon footprints (PCFs) for initial product groups. The calculation involves determining the environmental footprint in CO₂ equivalents in every life-cycle phase. On average, the use phase accounts for 60 to 90 percent of our products’ emissions. Battery-operated products tend to lie on the lower end of the scale, depending on the local electricity mix. We have validated and verified our calculation methods, and intend to analyze the footprint of nearly our entire product portfolio in the near future. The findings will be included in the product development process.

We are already taking action when it comes to mobility and are developing a mobility concept with a focus on alternative drive technologies. STIHL aims to offer low-emission options for commuting between our plants and plans to convert on-site traffic to electric mobility where possible. Our department cars will be gradually replaced with electric vehicles and consolidated within an interdepartmental vehicle pool. At the same time, we plan to set up charging stations at the founding company’s headquarters in Waiblingen and in Weinsheim, Germany. Company vehicles and privately owned cars alike will be allowed to use the charging stations. Charging options have been available in the visitor parking lot of the distribution center in Dieburg since 2022, as well as at the STIHL plants in Austria and Switzerland.

However, changing the way people commute to and from work allows us to make an even greater impact. By offering financial support for public transit tickets and e-bike leases, we are already making a small initial contribution toward reducing Scope 3 emissions.

Our path to a positive climate contribution

The STIHL Group’s goal of making a positive contribution to climate change mitigation by offsetting Scope 1 and 2 emissions is based on the following pillars, which we continued refining in 2022:

1) Renewable sources of electricity

Since 2022, all STIHL production companies worldwide have been using electricity from renewable sources. The ZAMA production sites in the Philippines, China, and Hong Kong will be converting to renewable sources of electricity at a later date due to existing contracts and a lack of availability. COSMOS, which the STIHL Group took over at the end of 2022, does not yet use green electricity either.

We also plan to systematically expand the localized, in-house generation of energy from renewable sources. In 2022, for instance, we installed a photovoltaic (PV) array measuring 17,000 square meters at our Chinese location. The array covers 45 percent of the plant’s electricity needs and saves around 4,740 metric tons of CO₂ emissions a year. Our Swiss chain plant has ordered its second and third PV systems, which will allow it to cut CO₂ emissions by roughly 250 metric tons a year. Through this approach, we are improving the availability and reliability of self-generated, clean energy.

2) Defossilization

By 2030, STIHL plans to reduce the use of fossil energy sources by 40 percent compared to 2019. The main fossil energy sources used at STIHL include natural gas and fuels. In 2019, their consumption stood at around 150 gigawatt-hours (GWh). All STIHL Group companies have submitted action plans for achieving these targets. The more than 100 individual measures that have been slated, including technological advancements such as optimized process heat use, will help the organization achieve roughly 80 percent of the planned reduction. At the Swiss chain plant, for example, we plan to electrify a hardening furnace by mid-2023. Doing so will allow us to save 2,400 megawatt hours (MWh) of gas, or around 600 metric tons of CO₂ emissions, over the course of a year.

3) Energy efficiency

We also aim to reduce our energy consumption overall and improve our energy intensity in the process. In 2022, our energy intensity per 1 million euros in revenue stood at 166.1 MWh (previous year: 188.0, 2019: 197.8 MWh). Initial improvements in energy consumption have already been achieved in plastics production in Waiblingen, Germany. With the support of a professional energy management system and the use of an acoustic camera, for example, the local team was able to identify leaks in the compressed-air system and take targeted measures to rectify them. The result was an immediate reduction in compressed-air needs by around 75 standard cubic meters per hour, which equates to energy consumption of more than 82,000 kilowatt-hours a year.

4) Carbon offsetting

We believe in the principle that reducing emissions comes before offsetting them. The STIHL Group offsets currently unavoidable emissions through carbon credits. Because we value internationally recognized, high-quality, and independent certification standards, those credits come exclusively from gold-standard, certified climate protection projects. Alongside climate change mitigation, we also care about further sustainable development goals that we are prioritizing as part of our sustainability strategy, including decent work for all (SDG 8) and sustainable consumption and production patterns (SDG 12). To offset the emissions of our production and sales companies by 2023, we have purchased credits for 80,000 metric tons of CO₂ emissions, which support for example a climate protection project focusing on drinking water purification in Uganda. As a result, schools will receive modern filtration technology for drinking water treatment so that they no longer have to boil it over a wood fire.

Going forward, we intend to contribute to permanent carbon capture and storage wherever possible rather than merely offsetting our emissions. To this end, we launched an agroforestry project in cooperation with Fairventures in 2022 that will provide almost 500,000 seedlings to help reforest cleared land in Uganda and Borneo. Using an app, local farmers can scan the trees regularly to deliver precise data for calculating the amount of carbon stored. By doing so, STIHL plans to store a total of 120,000 metric tons of CO₂ between 2023 and 2028 and make a positive climate contribution.

Energy consumption and intensity

The energy management system at our German production plants has been certified in line with ISO 50001. Our aim is to save energy and costs through efficiency measures.

In 2022, our total energy consumption (Scope 1 and 2 under the GHG Protocol) amounted to roughly 497 gigawatt-hours (GWh), which is 17.2 GWh, or around 3 percent, below last year’s level (514 GWh). The largest shares of energy consumption are attributable to electricity, in particular for production, at 66 percent and natural gas to heat buildings at 29 percent. While electricity consumption was virtually unchanged at 331 GWh (previous year: 332 GWh), consumption of natural gas fell sharply to 146 GWh in 2022, compared with 160 GWh in 2021. We have reduced our gas consumption on account of the impact of the Russia–Ukraine war. The steps taken to do so include powering down the cogeneration plant at the Waiblingen location. We have had to compensate for the missing heat by using regular heating oil furnaces, resulting in a rise in local emissions. At our companies in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, we have also turned down the heat to save gas.

Approximately half of our gas consumption was attributable to the STIHL Group’s German locations. We use most of the gas for processes such as casting and metal hardening. However, we are constantly looking for ways to reduce gas consumption and replace natural gas with sustainable sources of energy.

Energy consumption¹
in GWh – values rounded

  2022 2021 2020 2019
Natural gas 146 160 141 133
Heating oil 2.8 5.8 4.5 3.4
Fuel² 13.8 12.5 12.1 13.4
Renewable energy (geothermal heating and cooling) 1.6 1.3 2.5 0.4
Total direct energy consumption 164.2 179.6 160.1 150.2
Electricity 331 332 294 279
Of which from renewable sources 297 160 67 67
District heating 1.6 2.4 2.1 1.1
Total indirect energy consumption 332.6 334.4 296.1 280.1
Total energy consumption 496.8 514.0 456.2 430.3
¹ Including STIHL direct GmbH, STIHL Ventures GmbH, treeva GmbH, and STIHL International GmbH, which are based at the founding company’s headquarters. Not including the ZAMA companies in Japan and the U.S., which are not production companies.
² STIHL Germany: founding company and Dieburg distribution center.

Energy intensity (per 1 million euros in revenue) decreased in line with the lower energy consumption to 166.1 MWh (previous year: 188.0 MWh).

Energy intensity¹
in MWh per 1 million euros in revenue

Emissions and emission intensity

Measured in CO₂ equivalents, emissions at the German STIHL locations and at international production companies stood at 53,685 metric tons in total in 2022 (Scope 1 and 2 under the GHG Protocol, previous year: 93,840 metric tons). They were offset by positive contributions to climate protection projects (see “Offsetting,” p. 48).

The significant decline in CO₂ emissions is primarily due to the conversion of the production companies worldwide (excluding the ZAMA companies) to green electricity. In 2022, we obtained around 90 percent (previous year: 48 percent) of our electricity needs from renewable sources and therefore achieved a corresponding reduction in the CO₂ emissions resulting from electricity consumption (see “Renewable sources of electricity,” p. 47).

Greenhouse gas emissions¹
in metric tons of CO₂e – values rounded

  2022 2021 2020 2019
Natural gas emissions 29,980 32,570 28,860 27,210
Heating oil emissions 710 1,510 1,180 900
Fuel emissions 4,620 3,300 3,340 3,720
Coolant emissions 980 1,310 790 1,860
Total direct emissions (Scope 1) 36,290 38,690 34,170 33,690
Electricity emissions 17,330 55,060 66,450 58,690
District heating emissions 65 90 120 60
Total indirect emissions (Scope 2) 17,395 55,150 66,570 58,750
Total emissions (Scope 1 and 2) 53,685 93,840 100,740 92,440
Of which offset 53,685 19,800² 0 0
¹ Including STIHL direct GmbH, STIHL Ventures GmbH, treeva GmbH, and STIHL International GmbH, which are based at the founding company’s headquarters. Not including the ZAMA companies in Japan and the U.S., which are not production companies.
² STIHL Germany: founding company and Dieburg distribution center.

Emissions and emission intensity are presented using the market-based approach. The calculation takes into account hazardous greenhouse gases under the GHG Protocol, which mainly consist of CO₂ emissions. Although STIHL only generates negligible volumes of other greenhouse gases, such as coolants, such emissions are included for the sake of completeness.

Emission intensity¹
Scope 1 and 2 in metric tons of CO₂ per 1 million euros in revenue, without offsetting, values rounded

Action, but green

The STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Series is considered to be the premiere lumberjack sports competition. Attracting the largest audiences, the best athletes, and the widest media interest, more than 100 competitions take place worldwide over the course of a TIMBERSPORTS® season. Going forward, the organizers plan to reduce the environmental impact of their events even further. The World Trophy 2022 in Vienna, Austria, got those efforts off to a strong start – by earning EcoEvent recognition for sustainability.

The city of Vienna’s EcoEvent label recognizes sustainable events – like the World Trophy 2022.

The STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Series can already look back on a nearly 40-year history. Launched by STIHL and the American cable sports channel ESPN in 1985, the series has since spread to Europe, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. Today, some 1,500 athletes on four continents regularly face off against each other at TIMBERSPORTS® events.

Vision: sustainable brand, holistic approach

The World Trophy 2022 in Vienna, Austria, was the first international event of its kind to take place in front of a live audience since the start of the pandemic. From the beginning, the organizers knew they wanted the resource and carbon footprint of the tournament to be as small as possible. “For some years now, we’ve been pursuing a sustainability strategy at TIMBERSPORTS® with the goal of giving the brand an ecologically, economically, and socially sustainable basis,” says Domenic Guagenti, who heads up the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Series’ sustainability efforts. To underscore this approach, the event team gained certification under the EcoEvent, or “ÖkoEvent,” label. The program is the city of Vienna’s way of recognizing especially sustainable events and is based on a variety of criteria. In partnership with the service provider KEEN solutions GmbH, the organizers developed measures to meet the city’s requirements and make the World Trophy 2022 the first carbon-neutral TIMBERSPORTS® competition. KEEN solutions GmbH develops tailored concepts for events.

Criteria for the label: communication and mobility

Ahead of the meet, visitors, service providers, and suppliers alike were informed that the tournament would be an EcoEvent. Communication was largely paperless, meaning that digital tools and on-site LED screens were used for invitations, information, and accreditation. To reduce mobility-related CO₂ emissions, the crew members relied almost solely on public transit while preparing and overseeing the event. For visitors, additional mobile bicycle racks were set up in the immediate vicinity of the venue, Vienna’s Rathausplatz square.


renewable raw materials gives MotoMix Eco fuel an extra kick – just the thing to make the TIMBERSPORTS® Stock Saw an even bigger attraction.

Energy, water, and catering

Electricity was largely from green sources and came from the public grid. No generators were used during the event. Because the competitions were only held during daylight hours, less electricity and fewer resources were needed in general. Instead of chemical toilets, the organizers set up facilities with water and sewage tanks. Food trucks from local vendors offered regional and seasonal dishes, many of them vegetarian or vegan and made with fair-trade ingredients. Cutlery and flatware were made from renewable materials, with caterers relying on reusable utensils.

Sustainability was also front and center during the athletic portions of the tournament. The wood used in competition was from certified forestry (see info box) and was donated to the city of Vienna after the event for composting at its recycling plant, where it will be turned into pellets or wood chips. In addition, STIHL MotoMix Eco, a special bio-based fuel, was used during the chainsaw events. MotoMix Eco contains 10 percent renewable raw materials, largely waste products from forestry, reducing its carbon emissions by 8 percent compared to conventional STIHL MotoMix fuel.

Sustainable catering: Both the food trucks and the ingredients were from the region, with cutlery and flatware made of renewable materials.

Wood for events from responsible plantations and forestry

Every year, the international TIMBERSPORTS® Series needs roughly 320 metric tons of wood for its competitions around the world. The organizers use fast-growing poplars from certified plantations and white pine from certified forestry. During felling, special attention is paid to preventing damage to the natural environment. All of the wood is reused after the tournaments. Applications include furniture, clamping plates, biomass, wood pellets, and renewable energy generation.

Offsets support a drinking water project in Rwanda

The carbon footprint of the World Trophy 2022 stood at roughly 90,500 kilograms, as calculated in accordance with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and Technical Specification ISO/TS 14067. Compliance with these globally recognized standards enables further external verification and makes it possible to offset the remaining emissions by financing qualified climate protection projects. The donation from the World Trophy 2022 went to a drinking water project in Gatsibo, Rwanda, that aims to reduce the burning of wood for boiling by 70 percent through better water treatment.

“Our goal is to avoid emissions to the greatest extent possible for the entire TIMBERSPORTS® Series,” Guagenti explains. “We counteract the emissions that we cannot avoid by supporting certified climate protection projects. That lets us make a positive contribution and helps us work toward achieving STIHL’s sustainability targets. The World Trophy 2022 was just the beginning. We systematically continued down this path at the second major event of the year as well, the World Championship in Gothenburg, Sweden.”


of the wood used in competition at international TIMBERSPORTS® events is recycled.

After the competition, the wood was handed over to the city of Vienna for composting.

Green living space

The forest means life, for countless species of plants and animals, as well as for us humans. Forests are essential to a vibrant economy, to relaxation and recreation, and to carbon storage. At the STIHL Group, we have a close connection with the forest. Forestry is what made us who we are. That is why we care so much about the sustainable management of forests.

Life on Land

Our business has its roots in forestry. A mindful and long-term approach to caring for and managing forests is the basis of our success and a voluntary pledge that we take seriously. We condemn illegal tree felling, as well as forest clearances by fire or heavy equipment – and not only in especially sensitive tropical rain forests. Such practices damage forests and endanger our survival as a species. The STIHL Group is dedicated to promoting a sustainable approach to forests around the world. Through our support for the restoration of damaged forests and the planting of new ones, we are making a contribution to the goal “Life on land” (United Nations Sustainable Development Goal, SDG 15).

Protecting forests, planting forests

Through reforestation and forest management projects, STIHL strives to help efforts to mitigate the damage already done to tropical rain forests in particular. The projects focus on a socially and environmentally sustainable approach to using forests that takes the interests of the local population and nature alike into consideration. Actively involving local populations is particularly essential to providing long-term protection from further destruction. Some of the already degraded land has to be managed in such a way that it provides people with an attractive foundation for their lives in order to make the maintenance and reforestation of tropical rain forests a common interest. Among the projects we support around the world are Instituto Floresta Tropical in Brazil, Bergwaldprojekt e. V. in Germany, and the National Greening Program in the Philippines. STIHL provides financing and support for research and aid projects that develop concepts and approaches for sustainable forestry in selected zones of the tropical rain forest. In addition, STIHL is continuing its long-standing exchange with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). As part of our alliance with Fairventures Worldwide in Borneo, representatives of STIHL also sought dialogue with local farmers in 2022. In Uganda and Borneo, Fairventures takes an approach focusing on agriculture and forestry to help reforest degraded and cleared areas with local community involvement.

When it comes to helping forests, our employees personally pitch in and lend a hand. In 2022, our distribution center in Dieburg, Germany, held its first tree-planting campaign, which saw STIHL staff plant common oaks, chestnut trees, and sycamore maples in a damaged forest. They also planted a forest edge, with various shrubs, thickets, and rare wild fruit vines.

Into the woods

The goal of our rain forest partnership in Bolivia is to help people use the local forest legally and sustainably. A field experiment conducted by the Bolivian NGO IBIF (Instituto Boliviano de Investigación Forestal) in cooperation with the Chair of Silviculture at the Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Freiburg has helped optimize and legalize powered manual logging – a great benefit for the local people and for the conservation of the Bolivian rain forest.

Chiquitania is a dry forest region wit h a unique bio diversity that spans more than 16 million hectares in eastern Bolivia. It is home to many indigenous peoples.
Everyone works together as a team to fell the trees and cut them up while still in the forest.

In Chiquitania, a forest region in eastern Bolivia, the pressure on the forest and the local population is steadily increasing. With more and more of the woodlands and their unique biodiversity being destroyed for agricultural use, one section of the forest has been set aside for an array of tests and experiments since 2018. The main focus is to work out how to establish an efficient forest management system that allows the indigenous population to legally participate in value creation and provides them with a long-term livelihood – all while preserving the forest and its natural regenerative capacity.

To look into this, Dr. Benno Pokorny from the University of Freiburg and Dr. Nataly Ascarrunz from IBIF initiated a field study together with selected indigenous communities in Chiquitania. “Bolivian legislation prohibits the use of chainsaws to process felled trees directly in the forest. Instead, the heavy logs have to be removed from the forest using large and expensive machines and transported to faraway sawmills. This not only causes considerable damage to the forest, but essentially makes it impossible for the indigenous population to use their own forest independently, efficiently, and legally,” says Pokorny.

As much of the value creation as possible should be in the hands of the people living there. Trees are cut up into boards or pieces of furniture on-site.

In order to try and earn a living, the population often uses the forest unofficially anyway – at the risk of being caught and severely punished. Technical and logistical inadequacies lead to additional inefficiencies, timber quality that is often inferior, and low sales prices. Together with the Bolivian STIHL importer Hiller and indigenous forest dwellers, the study has successfully tested technologies to improve the quality and productivity of processing timber. “In addition to training in the use of the correct saw chains and their care, other aids, such as a mobile saw guide bar, significantly increase the quality of the cut boards. They are transported out the environmentally friendly way: by horse,” says James Johnson, the IBIF’s local project manager. “Appropriate planning and control are also required to ensure the proceeds are fairly distributed and to avoid the over-exploitation of commercially attractive tree species,” Johnson adds.



of Bolivia is covered by

The study, which was successfully completed despite the significant impact of the coronavirus pandemic, was able to prove that powered manual forest use can generate much-needed local income. Compared with large-scale logging with heavy equipment, it also causes only a fraction of the damage, from which the forest can regenerate itself.

The findings have made an important contribution to changes in Bolivia’s forestry legislation. The authorities now allow local forest users to process tree trunks using a chainsaw directly in the forest. That means the indigenous communities can finally use their forests themselves without being dependent on large timber companies. A follow-up project now aims to further establish and scale up the proven approach to powered manual forestry in indigenous communities to help more indigenous families use their forests legally and profitably in the future while preserving them for future generations.

Dr. Benno Pokorny initiated a research project to find out how locals can cultivate the forest without destroying it.

»Until now, Bolivia didn’t allow people to use a chainsaw to cut felled trees into boards directly in the forest.«

Dr. Benno Pokorny
Chair of Silviculture at the University of Freiburg

Studying sustainable forest use

A consortium of universities and research facilities led by the Bolivian Catholic University San Pablo in Cochabamba is currently preparing the launch of a new international master’s degree program in agroforestry and socio-ecological restoration. STIHL supports this initiative with scholarships for students to qualify urgently needed professionals for the application of sustainable agroforestry systems based on small farms.

The practical master’s course offers students the opportunity to study the design and implementation of agroforestry systems under the guidance of recognized experts and in direct contact with local stakeholders. The study program has already been officially accredited. Students from all over the world are expected to be able to enroll for the new course starting in fall 2023.

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