Ecosystems in Transition (EST)


Ecosystems in Transition (EST)

About the working group

We investigate the stability and the dynamics of terrestrial ecosystems under climate and land use change. We aim to advance our process understanding of how forest stability and plant co-existence emerges from functional diversity, and which role play natural disturbances and climate extremes.

Key research objectives

Our research focuses on the following three aspects

As each of these research topics shows strong implications on the others, we are aiming for a high level of integration.

Related Projects

Team members

Dr. Werner von Bloh
Ana Cano Crespo

Markus Drüke

Dr. Anne Gädeke

Dr. Boris Sakschewski

Dr. Diana Sietz

Dr. habil. Kirsten Thonicke

Selected publications

  • Thonicke K, Billing M, von Bloh W, Sakschewski B, Niinemets Ü, Peñuelas J, Cornelissen JHC, Onoda Y, van Bodegom P, Schaepman ME, Schneider FD, Walz A 2020. Simulating functional diversity of European natural forests along climatic gradients. J Biogeography, 47(5): 1069-1085,
  • Müller-Hansen F, Heitzig J, Donges J F, Cardoso M F, Dalla-Nora E L, Andrade P, Kurths J, Thonicke K (2018) Can intensification of cattle ranching reduce deforestation in the Amazon? Insights from an agent-based social-ecological model. Ecological Economics, published online,
  • von Bloh W, Schaphoff S, Müller C, Rolinski S, Waha K, Zaehle S (2018) Implementing the nitrogen cycle into the dynamic global vegetation, hydrology, and crop growth model LPJmL (version 5.0). Geoscientific Model Development, published online,
  • Schaphoff S, Bloh W von, Rammig A, Thonicke K, Biemans H, Forkel M, Gerten D, Heinke J, Jägermeyr J, Knauer J, Langerwisch F, Lucht W, Müller C, Rolinski S, Waha K (2018) LPJmL4 - a dynamic global vegetation model with managed land - Part 1: Model description. Geoscientific Model Development, published online, 10.5194/gmd-11-1343-2018
  • Sakschewski B, von Bloh W, Boit A, Poorter L,Peña-Claros M, Heinke J, Joshi J, Thonicke K (2016), Resilience of Amazon forests emerges from plant trait diversity, Nature Climate Change, available online, doi:10.1038/nclimate3109
  • Sippel S, Forkel M, Rammig A, Thonicke K, Flach M, Heimann M, Otto F E L, Reichstein M, Mahecha M D (2018) Contrasting and interacting changes in simulated spring and summer carbon cycle extremes in European ecosystems. Environmental Research Letters,12,075006, published online, 10.1088/1748-9326/aa7398
  • Zemp DC, Schleussner C-F, Barbosa HMJ, Hirota M, Sampaio G, Staal A, Wang-Erlandsson L, Rammig A (2017), Self-amplified Amazon forest loss due to vegetation-atmosphere feedbacks. Nature Communications, pubished online, doi:10.1038/NCOMMS14681
  • Forkel M, Carvalhais N, Rödenbeck C, Keeling R, Heimann M, Thonicke K, Zaehle S, Reichstein M 2016 Enhanced seasonal CO2 exchange caused by amplification of plant productivity in the northern biosphere, Science, doi:10.1126/science.aac4971
  • Cano-Crespo A, Oliveira PJC, Boit A, Cardoso M, Thonicke K 2015 Forest edge burning in the Brazilian Amazon promoted by escaping fires from managed pastures, JGR-Biogeosciences, 120:2095-2107, doi:10.1002/2015JG002914