Forest and Ecosystem Resilience


Working Group Leader:

phone: +49 (0)331 288 20725


We investigate how changing forest productivity, disturbances and management influence forest resilience and the contribution of forests to a growing bioeconomy. More specifically, we study the role of changing forest processes and disturbances as well as adaptation and mitigation measures for determining forest and ecosystem resilience. These analyses allow for assessing the sustainable resource provision from forests, their contribution to climate mitigation and bioeconomy value-chains as well as ensuing trade-offs between various ecosystem services. Besides dedicated modelling of European forests using the process-based model 4C, the group integrates expertise on global forest resources, the carbon cycle and biodiversity from vegetation and biodiversity modelling within ISIMIP. These activities will support evidence-based, integrated ecosystem management and decision-making.

Team members:

Dr. Christopher Reyer: Working Group Leader, coordinator of the regional and global forest/biome sector within ISI-MIP, Assessment of climate impacts on forest ecosystems

Dr. Martin Gutsch: PostDoc, climate impact functions for forest ecosystems, water availability in forest stands using the forest growth model 4C

Mats Mahnken: Doctoral researcher within the I-Maestro project

Dr. Galina Churkina: Guest scientist, identifying sustainable pathways of urban growth benefiting both people and environment, especially looking into the role of wood and mass timber for storing carbon in buildings

Petra Lasch-Born: Guest scientist, modelling of forest ecosystems on regional scale using the model 4C, application of forest models for regional impact studies in Germany and in the frame work of European studies

Dr. Felicitas Suckow: Guest scientist, analysis of climate sensitivity of soils, description and simulation of carbon and nitrogen cycle and the water budget of soils, use and support of the forest growth model 4C

Ylva Hauf: Scientific support and data management, GIS and web-based presentations

Hetty Saes-Heibel: project coordination and management of the CASCADES project

Kirsten Krüger: Student assistant


  • CASCADES: CAScading Climate risks: towards ADaptive and resilient European Societies, EU H2020, 01.09.2019- 31.08.2023, contact: Christopher Reyer
  • I-MAESTRO: Innovative forest MAnagEment STrategies for a Resilient biOeconomy under climate change, BMEL, Joint call ForestValue - Innovating forest-based bioeconomy, 01.06.2019-30.05.2022, contact: Christopher Reyer/ Martin Gutsch
  • KNOW: KohleNstoff- und HOlzvorräte des Deutschen Waldes - Verbesserung der Projektionen des aktuellen und künftigen CO2-Vorrates mittels ökophysiologischer und empirischer Waldwachstumsmodelle (Carbon and Timber stock of the German forest - Improvement of projections of current and future CO2 stock by means of ecophysiological and empirical forest growth models), BMEL, 01.3.2020-28.02.2022, contact: Martin Gutsch


  • CC-LandStraD: Interdependencies between Land use and Climate Change– Strategies for a sustainable land use management in Germany, funded by BMBF, Nachhaltiges Landmanagement Modul A1, 01.11.2010-31.10.2015, contact: Petra Lasch
  • DENDROKLIMA: Jahrringanalysen auf dem Telegrafenberg (Potsdam) - Nutzung dendrochronologischer Daten Deutschlands zur modell-basierten Analyse der Wirkung von Klimaänderungen auf Waldökosysteme, BMEL, 01.09.2016-31.08.2019, contact: Martin Gutsch
  • FORMASAM: Forest management scenarios for adaptation and mitigation, EFI, 1.4.2018-31.03.2020, contact: Christopher Reyer
  • INKA-BB: Innovationsnetzwerk Klimaanpassung Region Berlin-Brandenburg, funded by BMBF, 01.05.2009-30.07.2014, contact: PC Werner
  • PROFOUND: Towards robust PROjections of European FOrests UNDer climate change, funded by EU, FP7 Cost Action, 01.05.2014-30.04.2018, contact: Christopher Reyer
  • REFORCE: Resilience mechanisms for risk adapted forest management under climate change, funded by BMEL, 31.03.2017-30.03.2020, contact: Christopher Reyer
  • MOTIVE: Models or Adaptive Forest Management, funded by EU FP7, 01.05.2009-30.04.2013, contact: Petra Lasch
  • WAHYKLAS: Waldhygienische Anpassungsstrategien für das steigende Potential von Schadorganismen in vulnerablen Regionen unter Berücksichtigung von Klimawandel und zunehmenden Restriktionen, funded bei BMELV, 01.01.2014-30.03.2018, contact: Felicitas Suckow
  • WORLD BANK: Turn Down the Heat III: Regional Analysis – The Case for Climate Resilience, funded by World Bank, 16.12.2013-01.04.2015, contact: Christopher Reyer

10 recent key publications:

  1. Bugmann H, F Hartig, R Seidl, F Bohn, J Brůna, M Cailleret, L François, J Heinke, A-J Henrot, T Hickler, L Hülsmann, A Huth, I Jacquemin, C Kollas, P Lasch-Born, MJ Lexer, J Merganič, K Merganičová, T Mette, BR Miranda, D Nadal-Sala, W Rammer, A Rammig, B Reineking, E Roedig, S Sabaté, J Steinkamp, F Suckow, G Vacchiano, J Wild, C Xu, CPO Reyer (2019) Tree mortality submodels drive simulated long-term forest dynamics: an assessment across 15 models from the stand to the global scale. Ecosphere 10(2):e02616.
  2. Gutsch M, P Lasch-Born, C Kollas, F Suckow, CPO Reyer (2018) Balancing trade-offs between ecosystem services in Germany’s forests under climate change. Environmental Research Letters 13:045012
  3. Yousefpour R, A Lessa, CPO Reyer, P Lasch-Born, F Suckow, M Hanewinkel (2018) Realizing Mitigation Efficiency of European Commercial Forests by Climate Smart Forestry. Scientific Reports 8:345 doi:10.1038/s41598-017-18778-w
  4. Seidl R, D Thom, M K, D Martin-Benito, M Peltoniemi, G Vacchiano, J Wild, D Ascoli, M Petr, J Honkaniemi, MJ Lexer, V Trotsiuk, P Mairota, M Svoboda, M Fabrika, TA Nagel, CPO Reyer (2017) Forest disturbances under climate change. Nature Climate Change 7:395–402 DOI 10.1038/nclimate3303
  5. Reyer CPO, S Bathgate, K Blennow, JG Borges, H Bugmann, S Delzon, SP Faias, J Garcia-Gonzalo, B Gardiner, JR Gonzalez-Olabarria, C Gracia, J Guerra Hernández, S Kellomäki, K Kramer, MJ Lexer, M Lindner, E van der Maaten, M Maroschek, B Muys, B Nicoll, M Palahi, JHN Palma, JA Paulo, H Peltola, T Pukkala, W Rammer, D Ray, S Sabaté, MJ Schelhaas, R Seidl, C Temperli, M Tomé, R Yousefpour, NE Zimmermann, M Hanewinkel (2017) Are forest disturbances amplifying or canceling out climate change-induced productivity changes in European forests? Environmental Research Letters 12:034027 DOI 10.1088/1748-9326/aa5ef1
  6. Reyer CPO, N Brouwers, A Rammig, B Brook, J Epila, RF Grant, M Holmgren, F Langerwisch, S Leuzinger, W Lucht, B Medlyn, M Pfeiffer, J Steinkamp, M Vanderwel, H Verbeeck, D Villela (2015) Forest resilience and tipping points at different spatio-temporal scales: approaches and challenges. Journal of Ecology 103:5-15 DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12337
  7. Schellnhuber HJ, C Reyer, W Hare, K Waha, IM Otto, O Serdeczny, M Schaeffer, CF Schleußner, D Reckien, R Marcus, O Kit, A Eden, S Adams, V Aich, T Albrecht, F Baarsch, A Boit, N Canales Trujillo, M Cartsburg, D Coumou, M Fader, H Hoff, G Jobbins, L Jones, L Krummenauer, F Langerwisch, V Le Masson, E Ludi, M Mengel, J Möhring, B Mosello, A Norton, M Perette, P Pereznieto, A Rammig, J Reinhardt, A Robinson, M Rocha, B Sakschewski, S Schaphoff, J Schewe, J Stagl, K Thonicke (2014) Turn Down the Heat: Confronting the New Climate Normal. The World Bank, Washington. Download the report.
  8. Lindner M, JB Fitzgerald, NE Zimmermann, CPO Reyer, S Delzon, E van der Maaten, MJ Schelhaas, P Lasch-Born, J Eggers, M van der Maaten-Theunissen, F Suckow, A Psomas, B Poulter, M Hanewinkel (2014) Climate Change and European Forests: What do we know, what are the uncertainties, and what are the implications for forest management? Journal of Environmental Management 146:69-83 DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2014.07.030
  9. Reyer CPO, P Lasch-Born, F Suckow, M Gutsch, A Murawski, T Pilz (2014) Projections of regional changes in forest net primary productivity for different tree species in Europe driven by climate change and carbon dioxide. Annals of Forest Science 71:211-225 DOI 10.1007/s13595-013-0306-8
  10. Reyer CPO, S Leuzinger, A Rammig, A Wolf, RP Bartholomeus, A Bonfante, F De Lorenzi, M Dury, P Gloning, R Abou Jaoudé, T Klein, TM Kuster, M Martins, G Niedrist, M Riccardi, G Wohlfahrt, P De Angelis, G de Dato, L François, A Menzel, M Pereira (2013) A plant’s perspective of extremes: Terrestrial plant responses to changing climatic variability. Global Change Biology 19:75-89

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