Bavaria’s Munich Airport has launched its latest carbon-offset project, 1,900 hectares of forest in the east of the German state.

Munich Airport is launching a unique and long-term climate-protection project. The airport has come to an agreement with the Count von Arco Forest Administration to turn existing forests in eastern Bavaria into ‘climate forests’, for the storage of carbon dioxide. The project was unveiled to the public at Munich Airport’s Visitors Park by the Bavarian Finance Minister and supervisory board chairman of Munich Airport, Albert Füracker, Munich Airport CEO Jost Lammers, and Max-Georg Graf von Arco auf Valley.

Lammers said: “The climate forest is a significant step closer to our goal of operating Munich Airport carbon-neutrally by no later than 2030. We are particularly delighted that we have been able to launch such a large carbon-offset project such a short distance from our airport.”

The airport’s plan is to use technical measures to reduce, by at least 60%, the CO2 emissions which it is able to influence. The remaining 40% will be offset through appropriate projects located within the region if possible.

The new climate forest is a core component of this planned carbon offsetting. Once completed, the forest will be optimised in such a way that the trees can store as much CO2 as possible. The number of trees planted here is also to increase considerably, creating a mixed forest that can later capture more than 7,000 metric tons of CO2 a year – around a third more than standard commercial forests.  The airport will use this “extra” for carbon offsetting. Around 90,000 metric tons of CO2 will be captured over the initial project term of 30 years. 

The average age of the trees will increase from 65 to 75 years. Removed trees will be used primarily as timber for construction or furniture, so that the CO2 remains captured for as long as possible. Timber growth in the climate forest will be constantly monitored and calculated based on forest inventories carried out every ten years. The accumulation of CO2 will be calculated using an accounting tool from the German Forestry Council (DFWR), which was developed by the University of Göttingen together with the Johann Heinrich von Thünen Institute. The scientific oversight for the project is provided by the University of Freiburg. Munich Airport is also supported by the consulting firm ClimatePartner.

The land for the forest has been provided by the Count von Arco Forest Administration and the airport will invest around €2.5m in the project.