Institute of

Forest Ecosystems


Daniela Hohenstern
Institute of Forest Ecosystems

Alfred-Möller-Straße 1, Haus 41/42
16225 Eberswalde
Phone: +49 3334 3820 300
Fax: +49 3334 3820 354


Sustainable forest ecosystem management and forest conservation

Forests are among the most prominent and diverse ecosystems on this planet. While society demands that forest management remains sustainable and resembles natural processes, it must also ensure stable timber yields for industrial wood products and other services. For these often conflicting objectives, our scientists evaluate measures for maintaining and restoring healthy forests and their ecological integrity. Another key responsibility of forest scientists today is to increase the adaptative potential of forests to climatic changes.

One of our primary responsibilities is the collection, validation, and storage of data on the ecological integrity of forest ecosystems. We engage in research activities ourselves but also coordinate standardized national and international inventories and monitoring activities, i.e., the National Forest Inventory (BWI), the National Forest Soil Survey (BZE), the International Co-operative Programme on Assessment and Monitoring of Air Pollution Effects on Forests (ICP Forests). From this data national and international reporting duties arise, e.g., the publication of reports on the condition of forests in Europe under the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP), and the German Greenhouse Gas Inventories (THG). Our Forest Data Centre combines this inventory data with data from other sources – for instance climate information – and makes it openly available to scientists, policy makers, and the general public.

What makes us unique is that we not only specialize in such diverse fields as wildlife ecology, hydrology, soil science, forest yield science, eco-physiology, and vegetation ecology; but that we further interlink outcoming datasets in a standardized and transparent way. We see ourselves as a ‘cross-sectional institute’ in the cross-disciplinary field of forest ecology and value the cooperation with other Thünen Institutes and external national as well as international partners.

Our research focuses on the following questions:

  • What constitutes biodiversity in German forests and what is the impact of different forest management practices on forest biodiversity? How do short rotation agroforestry systems affect the biodiversity of landscapes?
  • How can we ensure that forest soils maintain their fertility and how can carbon sequestration be enhanced? Which forest management practices facilitate optimum carbon sequestration in forests?
  • Forests influence the amount and quality of groundwater, protect against soil erosion, and lead to even surface water runoff. Which management practices facilitate these processes? What is the effect of replacing conifer-dominated forests with hardwoods?
  • What constitutes suitable habitat for wildlife? Which habitat conditions avert forest damage by large game?

Based on our expert knowledge and research results, we provide political decision makers with key information on how to maintain healthy forests and the services they provide to us all.

Fields of Activity

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Forest Data Center
How to present results in an unambiguous way? We develop key components for user friendly data gathering, analysis and presentation.
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Forest Monitoring
What is the condition of forests in Germany and Europe today? To answer this and similar questions we benefit from a variety of standardized forest monitoring programmes and inventories. These programmes are coordinated and further developed in close cooperation with the German Federal States and other countries in Europe and beyond.
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Forest Ecology
Forests play an important role in the landscape water balance. They influence groundwater and drinking water supply in quality and quantity. Air pollutants affect the health and growth of forests and affect the diversity of plants and wildlife. The current predictions make an adaptation of forests to the climate of tomorrow necessary. New management systems such as short rotation coppice plantations for woodfuel affect biodiversity in the landscape. These are the main issues we focus our research and consulting work on for the federal government.
Alttier besendert (©  Frank Tottewitz)
Forests and Wildlife
We can identify the habitat needs of red deer from information on where they are located. Red deer are our largest free-ranging type of game and they are seen as the key game species for intact habitats due to their special demands on their environment.



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