Max Planck Gesellschaft

Carbon Balance, Ecosystem Research and Management


Prof. Dr. Ernst-Detlef Schulze focuses his work on the relation between plant biodiversity and land management.

Prof. Dr. Dr.h.c Ernst Detlef Schulze

Emeritus Professor
Scientific member of the MPG

Phone: +49 3641 576100
Room: C3.003

Second affiliation
Manager of Forstbetrieb Hermannsberg GbR and Forstbetrieb Rehungen, Germany
Deputy Manager of Boisoara Forst Enterprise SLR, Romania

Research Focus and Interests

  • Basic understanding of ecosystem services and biodiversity and their interactions with ecosystem processes
  • Management of ecosystems

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Current Projects

Understanding the relation between biodiversity and land management

  • Effects of browsing (fencing experiment): Deer appears to be a prime disturbance in shaping tree diversity in European forests. I maintain a fencing experiment in broad leaved forest, where deer was excluded a different times after regular thinning. (see Schulze et al. (2014) and Schulze et al. (2016))
  • Effects of anthopogenic nitrogen (Acatec and Leopoldina) A new project emerges in which I investigate the adverse effects of N-fertilizer in agriculture and of atmospheric N-deposition versus the enhanced growth in forests and its effect on climate mitigation. This is in fact an old topic (see Schulze (1994) and Haberl et al. (2012)) but a new attempt in an early stage.

Biodiversity experiments

  • Grassland experiments (The Jena Experiment) Starting the new Institute MPI-BGC in Jnea I was able to initiate the establishment of a biodiversity experiment in grassland. This experiment is now running for almost 20 years, and it is the largest installation of this kind worldwide (see Weisser et al. (2017))
  • Tree experiments (Biotree, Douglas Fir Experiment, Abies Experiment). In Parallel to the Jena experiment the biodiversity experiment BioTree based on trees was started. In Co-operation with the State Forest of Thuringia 3 sites were planted in various ways to investigate the effects of tree mixtures (see Scherer-Lorenzen et al. (2007) and Scherer-Lorenzen et al. (2005)). In continuation of the BioTree experiment a number of common gardens were established to investigate the performance of various species of Abies and of Pseudotsuga species in a changing climate. (see Frischbier et al. (2017) and Schulze et al. (2018)
  • Deadwood Experiment (BeLongDead) and Fungi. A major debate in nature conservation and forest management exists concerning the survival of xylobionts that inhabit dead wood. Therefore I initiated a major dead wood-experiment, in which more than 1000 logs of 13 tree species were exposed in all kinds of managed and un-managed forest in three regions of Germany. It turns out that not the total volume of dead wood but the diversity of tres species is important to maintain the xylobionts (see Kahl et al. (2017)). The main prerequisite for wood dwelling insects is, however, the colonization by fungi. Therefore, DNA based investigations on wood-fungi reveal the importance of tree species (see Purahong et al. (2018))
  • Genetics of the genus Oak and Fagus: The evolution of even common tree genera remains obscure. The huge diversity of Oak and the obscure distribution of Fagus shall be analyzed by DAN-sequencing in a European consortium. For baseline information (see Schulze et al. (2015))
  • Forest Birds: Birds are taken by environmental agencies to assess the ecological conditions of ecosystems. In Germany, the abundance of a “basket” of indicator species was downscaled to 80% of a theoretical 100% value in the hope that by nature conservation measures with taking forest out of management the abundance of these species would reach 100%. I could show that nature conservation has no effect. Confining the study to non-migrating forest birds I show that the abundance has increased since 1970 in managed forests, making conservation measures redundant.

Forestry and Wood Industries

  • Depite a huge volume of information of forests and wood industries, even a compendium such as the OECD assessment on The State of European Forests avoids to showing a wood flow budget. For Germany the estimates about annual harvest range between 60 to 90 Mill m3/yr. One reason is the uncertainty of fuel wood for energy. In a European consortium we try to revise the national balances of wood flow. This is important because only by including wood for energy a comparison of climate mitigation effects of managed versus unmanaged forests become meaningful. The project is in progress, but the underlying problems are addressed in Schulze et al. (2016)

2nd Edition of the textbook “Plant Ecology”, Springer Verlag

  • I edited a text book “Plant Ecology” in 2002. It is time to revise this textbook. I hope that the new edition will be available in 2019. This text book deals with ecology in 5 Parts: (1) Molecular ecology, (2) Physiological ecology, (3)Ecosystem Ecology, (4) Community Ecology, and (5) Global Ecology.

Recent presentations

Recent publications

  • Birds
  • Pires


Publications list

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