Silviculture and Forest Ecology of the Temperate Zones
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Research since 2007


current projects



objectiveForest structure. Core project of the Exploratories for large-scale and long-term functional biodiversity research
contentThe project is one of the core projects of the German Biodiversity Exploratories. The aim is to provide comprehensive sets of data on (i) forest structure, (ii) forest composition, (iii) forest productivity and (iv) forest land use intensity in order to support functional biodiversity research (that is, providing explanatory variables for core projects, contributing projects and synthesis of the Biodiversity Exploratories) and to uncover interdependency between structure, composition, productivity and land use intensity of forests, respectively (that is, analysing effects of forest management and natural development). Data will be sampled using methods of ?classical? stand inventory, airborne laser scanning and terrestrial laser scanning.
appropriation period01.04.2014 - 31.03.2017
funded byGerman Science Foundation
partnersBiodiversity Exploratories (DFG Priority Programm 1374)
person in chargeDr. Peter Schall and Prof. Dr. Christian Ammer, PhD student Martin Ehbrecht
publicationsAllan E, Bossdorf O, Dormann CF, Prati D, Gossner MM, Tscharntke T, Blüthgen N, Bellach M, Birkhofer K, Boch S, Böhm S, Börschig C, Chatzinotas A, Christ S, Daniel R, Diekötter T, Fischer C, Friedl T, Glaser K, Hallmann C, Hodac L, Hölzel N, Jung K, Klein AM, Klaus VH, Kleinebecker T, Krauss J, Lange M, Morris EK, Müller J, Nacke H, Pasalic E, Rillig MC, Rothenwöhrer C, Schall P, Scherber C, Schulze W, Socher SA, Steckel J, Steffan-Dewenter I, Türke M, Weiner CN, Werner M, Westphal C, Wolters V, Wubet T, Gockel S, Gorke M, Hemp A, Renner SC, Schöning I, Pfeiffer S, König-Ries B, Buscot F, Linsenmair KE, Schulze E-D, Weisser WW, Fischer M (2014) Interannual variation in land-use intensity enhances grassland multidiversity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111 (1): 308-313. doi:10.1073/pnas.1312213111

Schall P, Ammer C (2013) How to quantify forest management intensity in Central European Forests. European Journal of Forest Research 132: 379-396. DOI: 10.1007/s10342-013-0681-6


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  • objectiveSHAPE- The impact of forest management intensity and neighborhood diversity on tree crown attributes
    contentThe structure and shape of a tree crowns is related to tree growth and is of special importance for species of various taxa. It is well known that crown dimensions can be controlled by forest management. However, information on how silvicultural interventions and competition by neighboring trees modify the shape of tree crowns and branch ramification structure is scarce. This project uses terrestrial laser scanning to provide such information based on three-dimensional models of trees that grew up in stands that are characterized by different management intensities and species diversity. Furthermore, the unique spatial information will be used to measure and compare three-dimensional space filling in forest stands of varying management intensities and species diversity.
    appropriation period01.04.2014-31.03.2017
    funded byGerman Science Foundation
    partnersBiodiversity Exploratories (DFG Priority Programm 1374)
    person in chargeJulia Juchheim and Dr. Dominik Seidel
    publicationsAllan E, Bossdorf O, Dormann CF, Prati D, Gossner MM, Tscharntke T, Blüthgen N, Bellach M, Birkhofer K, Boch S, Böhm S, Börschig C, Chatzinotas A, Christ S, Daniel R, Diekötter T, Fischer C, Friedl T, Glaser K, Hallmann C, Hodac L, Hölzel N, Jung K, Klein AM, Klaus VH, Kleinebecker T, Krauss J, Lange M, Morris EK, Müller J, Nacke H, Pasalic E, Rillig MC, Rothenwöhrer C, Schall P, Scherber C, Schulze W, Socher SA, Steckel J, Steffan-Dewenter I, Türke M, Weiner CN, Werner M, Westphal C, Wolters V, Wubet T, Gockel S, Gorke M, Hemp A, Renner SC, Schöning I, Pfeiffer S, König-Ries B, Buscot F, Linsenmair KE, Schulze E-D, Weisser WW, Fischer M (2014) Interannual variation in land-use intensity enhances grassland multidiversity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111 (1): 308-313. doi:10.1073/pnas.1312213111

    Schall P, Ammer C (2013) How to quantify forest management intensity in Central European Forests. European Journal of Forest Research 132: 379-396. DOI: 10.1007/s10342-013-0681-6


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  • objectiveEvaluation of the forest potential of exotic tree species under climate change in North Rhine-Westfalia, Germany
    contentThe combination of inventory data and dendrochronological measurements will be used to develop growth models of exotic tree species growing in the arboretum Burgholz and elsewhere in NRW. Apart from yield potentials and economic benefits silvicultural options for these species shall be assessed. Tending methods for exotic tree species are not only needed for the arboretum itself but also countrywide.
    appropriation period15.07.2013 - 31.05.2016
    funded byLandesbetrieb Wald und Holz NRW, Ministerium für Klimaschutz, Umwelt, Landwirtschaft, Natur- und Verbraucherschutz
    partnersDr. Bertram Leder, State Enterprise for Forestry and Timber North Rhine-Westphalia, Centre of Silviculture and Forest Propagation Consulting, Training and Test Forestry Office Arnsberg, Obereimer 2a, 59821 Arnsberg
    person in chargeNils Hoffmann and Dr. Torsten Vor
    publicationsunavailable so far


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  • objectiveLin2Value- Options for an improved forest stand management in Southeastern China
    contentChina is obliged to fulfill its commitments in the international Climate Policy Arena in line with national regulations to reduce the CO2-intensity of its national economy by approx. 40% from 2005 to 2020. One approach to achieve this is the increase of wood and carbon stocks in forests aiming at the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in land-use. Sustainable Forest Management (SFM), not only increases carbon stocks, but also contributes to increased stand stability, higher timber value and enhanced biodiversity. SFM will also lower the risk that wind, pest and snow damage will contribute to release of stored carbon from forests (non-permanence). However, regulatory policies to enable large-scale implementation of SFM require some certainty over decision making processes given the long-term impacts of decisions in forest management. Hence, an integrated simulation framework is needed to better understand forest growth dynamics and its impact on carbon accumulation, forest carbon footprints (harvested wood products, HWP) and trade-offs and synergies between different management goals. In addition, interactions between different forest management regimes and risks (extreme meteorological events and human induced risks) need to be assessed which are likely to change with stand age, stand structure, species compositions as well as site conditions. The project is lead-managed by the Chair of Forest Inventory and Remote sensing of Göttingen University. Our work package will evaluate how changes of the present forest management systems, for example by converting pure conifer stands into mixed stands, modern thinning regimes or longer rotation periods would change the carbon stock of such forests.
    appropriation period01.05.2012 - 28.02.2015
    funded byFederal Ministry of Education and Research
    partnersChair of Forest Inventory and remote Sensing, Göttingen University and Chair of Silviculture Freiburg University
    person in chargeDr. Torsten Vor
    publicationsunavailable so far


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  • objectiveTree species diversity in Chilean Forests - are naturalness and economics compatible?
    contentThe overall objective of the project ist to develop economically sound silvicultural alternatives to plantations with exotic tree species. Therefore different mixtures containing native tree species but also pure stands of exotic tree species will be compared. The effect of the different stand types on plant diversity, growth and economic rationality is of special interest.
    appropriation period01.01.2012 - 31.12.2014
    funded byBauer-Stiftung zur Förderung von Wissenschaft und Forschung
    partnersInstitute of Forest Management, TU München and Facultad de Ciencias Forestales, Universidad de Concepción
    person in chargeDr. Steffi Heinrichs und Carolin Stiehl
    publicationsunavailable so far


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  • objectiveForest dynamics after bark beetle outbreak in the national park Berchtesgaden
    contentForest management has been aiming to eliminate natural disturbance dynamics in forest ecosystems over the last centuries. At the same time the changes of structural and microclimatic conditions for example by storms or bark beetle infestations, have been detected as valuable hotspots of forest biodiversity. In the Berchtesgaden National Park winter storms led to subsequent bark beetle calamities on approximately 6,000 ha of forest land in the core zone of the park in 1990 and 2007. No interference by management took place. To assess the impact of the large-scale disturbances on the unmanaged forest ecosystems we investigate how the site conditions are altered by the disturbances, how vegetation and deed wood develops and how these processes influence the diversity and abundance of selected groups of species. The study plots are located in three different types of forests, namely, undisturbed but potentially susceptible spruce stands (reference), stands affected by bark beetles during the last 5 years (new disturbance) and stands being infested in the 1990th (old disturbance). Stand structure, regeneration, vascular plants and arthropods diversity are surveyed.
    appropriation period01.01.2012 - 31.12.2014
    funded byBerchtesgaden National Park
    partnersBerchtesgaden National Park und Bavarian Forest National Park
    person in chargeMaria-Barbara Winter
    publicationsWinter M-B, Ammer C, Baier R, Donato D C, Seibold S, Müller J (2015) Multi-taxon alpha diversity following bark beetle disturbance: evaluating multi-decade persistence of a diverse early-seral phase. Forest Ecology and Management 338: 32-45. DOI:10.1016/j.foreco.2014.11.019


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  • objectiveCan thinnings improve the drought tolerance of Norway spruce?
    contentThe effect of different thinning regimes on transpiration and growth of target trees are studied on an experimental site in Southern Bavaria near Landshut. The experiment includes sapflow measurements and a survey of soil hydrology as well as measurements on above and belowground biomass.
    appropriation period01.01.2008 - 31.12.2014
    funded byBavarian state department for food, agriculture and forestry
    partnersChair of plant ecopysiology , TU München and Bavarian Forest Institute (LWF)
    person in chargeTimo Gebhardt
    publicationsGebhardt T, Häberle K-H, Matyssek R, Schulz C, Ammer C (2014) The more, the better? Water relations of Norway spruce stands after progressive thinning intensities. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 197: 235-243

    Sohn J, Gebhardt T, Ammer C, Bauhus J, Häberle K-H, Matyssek M, Grams T E E (2013) Mitigation of drought by thinning: short-term and long-term effects on growth and physiological performance of Norway spruce (Picea abies). Forest Ecology and Management 308: 188-197

    Gebhardt T, Grams T, Häberle K-H, Matyssek R, Schulz C, Grimmeisen W, Ammer C (2012) Helfen Durchforstungen bei Trockenheit? Erste Ergebnisse eines Versuchs zur Verbesserung der Wasserversorgung junger Fichtenbestände. LWF aktuell 87: 8-10

    Gebhardt T, Schulz C, Matyssek R, Ammer C (2010) Die Fichte im Zeichen des Klimawandels - Beugen Durchforstungseingriffe Trockenschäden vor? Forstarchiv 81: 86-87




    finalised projects

    objectiveOptions and restrictions of regenerating oak naturally – recommendations for pratical forestry and nature conservation management
    contentThis project aims at quantifying the shade tolerance of oak which may vary by site conditions. Also other abiotic and biotic factors which may influence successful oak regeneration will be analysed. The results of the study should support operative decisions. Furthermore it should suggest ways to keep a considerable amount of oak where this species contributes to a high nature conservation value.
    appropriation period01.03.2011 - 28.02.2014
    funded byBavarian state department for food, agriculture and forestry
    partnersBavarian State forest Company, Bureau of food, agriculture and forestry Uffenheim
    person in chargeAnnighöfer, Dr. Peter and Dr. Torsten Vor
    publicationsfurther publications are in preparation




    objectiveThe effect of forest management and neighborhood diversity on seasonal tree growth responses
    contentThe purpose of this research is therefore (1) to explain the growth response of selected trees on different time scales (day to year) as a function of their neighborhood (which is strongly related to management intensity); (2) to reveal the impact of neighborhood density and species composition on individual tree growth (measured by self-acting dendrometers) and (3) to explain the revealed growth pattern by using growth related plant traits, especially stabile isotope ratios, nitrogen concentrations and SLA and morphological characteristics such as branch remification. The idea of this proposal therefore is not only to detect different patterns of growth-neighborhood-responses by analyzing tree growth measurements originating from daily to yearly growth data, but also to relate these different growth patterns to different ecophysiological characteristics and strategies.
    appropriation period01.03.2011 - 28.02.2014
    funded byDeutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Science Foundation)
    partnersMax-Planck- Institute for Biogeochemistry Jena
    person in chargeJérôme Metz
    publicationsMetz J, Seidel D, Schall P, Scheffer D, Schulze ED, Ammer C (2013) Crown modeling by terrestrial laser scanning as an approach to assess the effect of aboveground intra- and interspecific competition on tree growth. Forest Ecology and Management 310: 275–288. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2013.08.014

    further publications are in preparation




    objectiveUse potential of coppice, coppice with standards and high forests for energy wood production
    contentBased on several stands the use potential coppice, coppice with standards and high forests for energy wood production is investigated. The effect of the three silvicultural systems on nutrient cycling will be tested. Furthermore, economic considerations under different scenarios will be part of the evaluation.
    appropriation period01.09.2010 - 31.03.2014
    funded byFederal Ministry of Education and Research
    partnersForest Ecosystems Research Center
    person in chargeKatja Albert
    publicationsAlbert K, Annighöfer P, Schumacher J, Ammer C (2014) Biomass equations for seven different tree species growing in coppice-with-standards forests in Central Germany. Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research 29: 210-221

    Albert K, Ammer C (2012): Biomasseproduktivität ausgewählter europäischer Mittel- und Niederwaldbestände - Ergebnisse einer vergleichenden Metaanalyse. Allgemeine Forst-und Jagdzeitung 183: 225-237

    Seidel D, Albert K, Fehrmann F, Ammer C (2012) The potential of terrestrial laser scanning for the estimation of understory biomass in coppice-with-standard systems. Biomass and Bioenergy 47: 20-25

    further publications are in preparation




    objectiveGrowth of European beech and Norway spruce seedlings along a light and draught gradient
    contentEuropean beech and Norway spruce seedlings are selected along a light gradient. Some seedlings are exposed to artificially induced draught. The response of the seedlings in growth and plant traits such as SLA and δ13 C will be investigated
    appropriation period01.07.2010 - 31.03.2014
    funded byMinistry of Science and Culture of Lower Saxony
    partnersLower Saxony State Forest
    person in chargeChristina Lödige
    publicationsLödige C, Schall P, Ammer C (2014) How do size and resource availability control aboveground biomass allocation of tree seedlings? Forest Research 3: 123. DOI:10.4172/2168-9776.1000123

    further publications are in preparation




    objectiveUse of terrestrial laserscanning for the estimation of wooden biomass in small timber stands
    contentThe project aims at algorithms for the automated estimation of stem and branch biomass of selected tree and shrub species by terrestrial laserscanning.
    appropriation period01.09.2010 - 31.12.2013
    funded byFederal Ministry of Education and Research
    partnersForest Ecosystems Research Center
    person in chargeDominik Seidel
    publicationsSeidel D, Ammer C (2014) Efficient measurements of basal area in short rotation forests based on terrestrial laser scanning under special consideration of shadowing. iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry 7: 226-231

    Seidel D, Albert K, Ammer C, Fehrmann L, Kleinn C (2013) Using terrestrial laser scanning to support biomass estimation in densely stocked young tree plantations. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 34(24): 8699-8709. DOI: 10.1080/01431161.2013.848308

    Seidel D, Albert K, Fehrmann F, Ammer C (2012) The potential of terrestrial laser scanning for the estimation of understory biomass in coppice-with-standard systems. Biomass and Bioenergy 47: 20-25




    objectiveEcosystem Services of Natural Forests at Forestry and Climate Policy (FKZ 3511 84 0200) - Impacts of the cessation of material and energetic use of wood in previously managed forests on the carbon balance of the forests and the wood product sector in Germany -
    contentThe main objective of this project is to quantify the total carbon (C) balance of spatially defined forests after the cessation of material and energetic use of their wood. The model regions are located in Thuringia (Hainich, Hohe Schrecke, Biosphärenreservat Vessertal), and they are representative for most natural (mixed) beech forest sites in Germany. Basing on the resulting total C-balances we will evaluate the relevance of the cessation of wood use for climate change mitigation, and we will identify potential win-win situations and conflicts between biodiversity conservation and the ecosystem services “wood production” and “C-sequestration”.
    appropriation period15.08.2011 - 31.07.2013
    funded byFederal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) with funds of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU)
    partnersThuringianforest, Gotha
    person in chargeJan Raacke
    coordinationDr. Martina Mund
    publicationsMund M, Ammer C (2013) Können FFH-Waldgebiete im besonderen Maße zur Erforschung der Ökosystemleistung Kohlenstoffsequestrierung beitragen? In: Lehrke S, Ellwanger G, Buschmann A, Frederking W, Paulsch C, Schröder E, Ssymank A (eds). Natura 2000 im Wald. Lebensraumtypen, Erhaltungszustand, Management. Naturschutz und Biologische Vielfalt Vol. 131. Bundesamt für Naturschutz, Bonn-Bad Godesberg, 157-167




    objectiveThe impact of tree species diversity on tree growth and herb-layer diversity – ecological studies and management implications at the biosphere reserve Valle del Ticino
    contentThe project focuses on the understanding of the effects of tree species diversity on intertree competition and growth and the diversity of the herb-layer. The role of neophytes within the interplay of overstorey trees and ground vegetation and the seed bank in the soil is of special interest. The experimental area (biosphere reserve Valle del Ticino) is one of the rare riparian forests throughout Europe with an considerable amount of native and non-native tree species. The study focuses on the effects of small scaled stand structure and species composition on tree growth and stand dynamics. The study comprises field surveys, dendrochronological approaches using stem cores and pot experiments under controlled conditions.
    appropriation period01.01.2010 - 31.05.2013
    funded byMarianne und Dr. Fritz Walter Fischer-Stiftung
    partnersProfessorship for Environment and Applied Botany, Free University of Bozen - Bolzano
    person in chargeKawaletz, Heike and Annighöfer, Dr. Peter
    coordinationDr. Inga Mölder
    publicationsBourtsoukidis E, Kawaletz H, Radacki D, Schütz S, Hakola H, Hellén H, Noe S, Mölder I, Ammer C, Bonn B (2014) Impact of flooding and drought conditions on the emission of volatile organic compounds of Quercus robur and Prunus serotina. Trees - Structure and Function 28: 193-204. DOI: 10.1007/s00468-013-0942-5

    Kawaletz H, Mölder I, Annighöfer P, Terwei A, Zerbe S, Ammer C (2014a) Back to the roots: how do seedlings of native tree species react to the competition by exotic species? Annals of Forest Science 71: 337-347 Kawaletz H, Mölder I, Annighöfer P, Terwei A, Zerbe S, Ammer C (2014b) Pot experiments with woody species ? a review. Forestry 87: 482-491

    Skowronek S, Terwei A, Zerbe S, Mölder I, Annighöfer P, Kawaletz H, Ammer C, Heilmeier H (2013) Regeneration Potential of Floodplain Forests Under the Influence of Nonnative Tree Species: Soil Seed Bank Analysis in Northern Italy. Restoration Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/rec.12027

    Kawaletz H, Mölder I, Zerbe S, Annighöfer P, Terwei A, Ammer C (2013) Exotic tree seedlings are much more competitive than natives but show underyielding when growing together. Journal of Plant Ecology 6: 305-315. DOI: 10.1093/jpe/rts044

    Terwei A, Zerbe S, Zeileis A, Annighöfer P, Kawaletz H, Mölder I, Ammer C (2013) Which are the factors controlling tree seedling establishment in North Italian floodplain forests invaded by non-native tree species? Forest Ecology and Management 304: 192-203. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2013.05.003

    Annighöfer P, Mölder I, Zerbe S, Kawaletz H, Terwei A, Ammer C (2012) Biomass functions for the two alien tree species Prunus serotina Ehrh. and Robinia pseudoacacia L. in floodplain forests of Northern Italy. European Journal of Forest Research 131: 1619-1635, DOI: 10.1007/s10342-012-0629-2

    Annighöfer P, Schall P, Kawaletz H, Mölder I, Terwei A, Zerbe S, Ammer C (2012) Vegetative growth response of black cherry (Prunus serotina) to different mechanical control methods in a biosphere reserve. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 42: (12), 2037 - 2051, DOI: 10.1139/cjfr-2012-0257




    objectiveFascilitation of rare tree species
    contentThe project suggests how rare tree species could be favored during forest management. Various factors such as ownership, site quality, autecology of the species, control of ungulate density and costs are taken into account.
    appropriation period01.08.2009 - 31.07.2012
    funded byDeutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU)
    partnersDepartment of Forest Zoology and Forest Conservation, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
    person in chargeDr. Torsten Vor
    publicationsAmmer C, Vor T (2013) Verlust von Mischbaumarten durch Wildverbiss in Buchenwäldern. Allgemeine Forstzeitschrift/Der Wald 68 (1): 9-11




    objectiveInteractions between light and soil moisture on growth and biomass partitioning of European beech and Norway spruce seedlings
    contentIn a greenhouse experiment seedlings of European beech and Norway spruce were exposed to different light (3 levels) and soil moisture (2 levels) over three years. Measurements were carried out to detect growth responses and biomass partitioning in relation to resource availability.
    appropriation periodFinished (01.01.2006 - 31.12.2008)
    funded byBavarian state department for food, agriculture and forestry and Research Institute of Forest Ecology and Forestry (Rhineland-Palatinate)
    partnersUniversity of applied sciences Weihenstephan-Triesdorf, Institute of horticulture
    person in chargeChristian Ammer
    publicationsSchall P, Lödige C, Beck M, Ammer C (2012) Biomass allocation to roots and shoots is more sensitive to shade and drought in European beech than in Norway spruce seedlings. Forest Ecology and Management 266: 246-253










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