Forests are generally deemed to be the most ecologically sound land use: persistent, richly structured large areas. The "virgin forest" myth merely contributes to this glorified view of forests. Harvesters, clear felling and monocultures would seem to contradict, at least at first glance, this ideal of highly sensitive and highly diverse forests. What is needed here is a reasoned stocktaking based on the natural science of forest diversity. It must take into account spatio-temporal structures and disruption patterns as well as biological population processes. Our research aims to align existing monitoring methods
not only with each other, but also with approaches used in open non-forest ecosystems, and to jointly continue their development.
Our work is part of the International Cooperation Program (ICP) Forests to observe air pollution effects on forests. We are coordinating the program in Germany.