The principle aim of the Faculty of Forest Sciences and Forest Ecology is to maintain and improve its leading position in German and international forest and wood science research and maintain its international importance. The faculty wishes to remain the preferred advisor for forestry practice and administration, the wood industry, and forest policy makers, and also a partner for conservation and environmental protection agencies, consultancy, and planning offices and environmental associations. The faculty sees itself as a partner for cooperation in forest and environment related problems with other faculties of the University of Göttingen and also with other forestry and environmentally oriented institutes at home and abroad. The research aims and priorities of the Faculty of Forest Sciences and Forest Ecology result from the local and global importance of forests. These are the product of a development over decades from the previously dominating research priority of wood production to an expansion in the direction of ecological and environmentally relevant information processing as well as product processing research, embedded within an increasing internationalisation.
The development of forest sciences and forest ecology resulted in an early recognition of the idea of sustainable utilisation of forests; this rapidly became a model that in the following years has been increasingly underpinned by theory. Here the basic sciences such as soil science, forest botany, forest biometry, forest zoology and meteorology, but also silviculture, forest management, forest utilisation, and forest economics played an important role. The scientific foundation of understanding forests and wood was laid, ecological site classification developed, models of forest growth, forest tending, harvesting, access, and forest protection developed. In addition, the economic consequences of forestry were recorded and evaluated. Until recently, wood production, harvesting, and wood utilisation were the clear focus of research. Environmental aspects were of minor importance and considered to be automatically fulfilled in the wake of utilisation, or were only of local importance. This changed in the middle of the sixties of the last century. Within the framework of the international biological programme, ecosystem research gained a foothold in forest sciences.
This systems approach required not only a greater input from other subjects, such as vegetation sciences, zoology, forest genetics and microbiology, but also required as never before inputs from applied mathematics and applied informatics as integrative methods of analysis and representation of a multitude of processes and interactions.