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

Publication metrics


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[1][2].
  • 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[3][4] 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[5].
  • 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[6][7]. 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[8][9].
  • 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[10]. 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[11]
  • 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 [12].
  • 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 [13].

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


  • [1]: Schulze, E. D., Bouriaud, O., Wäldchen, J., Eisenhauer, N., Walentowski, H., Seele, C., Heinze, E., Pruschitzki, U., Danila, G., Marin, G., Hessenmöller, D., Bouriaud, L., Teodosiu, M. (2014). Ungulate browsing causes species loss in deciduous forests independent of community dynamics and silvicultural management in Central and Southeastern Europe. Annals of Forest Research, 57(2), 267-288. doi:10.15287/afr.2014.273.
  • [2]: Schulze, E. D., Bouriaud, L., Hessenmoeller, D. (2016). Wald vor Wild oder Wild vor Wald. Problematik der Wildschäden.Bündnerwald: Zeitschr. des Bündner Forstvereins und der Selva, 69, 5-11.
  • [3]: Schulze E-D (1994) The impact of increasing nitrogen deposition on forests and aquatic ecosystems. Nova Acta Leopoldina NF 70:515-436
  • [4]: Haberl, H., Schulze, E. D., Körner, C., Law, B. E., Holtsmark, B., Luyssaert, S. (2012). Response: complexities of sustainable forest use. Global Change Biology, 5, 1-2. doi:10.1111/gcbb.12004.
  • [5]: Weisser, W. W., Roscher, C., Meyer, S. T., Ebeling, A., Luo, G., Allane, E., Beßler, H., Barnard, R. L., Buchmann, N., Buscot, F., Engels, C., Fischer, C., Fischer, M., Gessler, A., Gleixner, G., Halle, S., Hildebrandt, A., Hillebrand, H., de Kroon, H., Lange, M., Leimer, S., Le Roux, X., Milcu, A., Mommer, L., Niklaus, P. A., Oelmann, Y., Proulx, R., Roy, J., Scherber, C., Scherer-Lorenzen, M., Scheu, S., Tscharntke, T., Wachendorf, M., Wagg, C., Weigelt, A., Wilcke, W., Wirth, C., Schulze, E. D., Schmid, B., Eisenhauer, N. (2017). Biodiversity effects on ecosystem functioning in a 15-year grassland experiment: Patterns, mechanisms, and open questions. Basic and Applied Ecology, 23, 1-73. doi:10.1016/j.baae.2017.06.002.
  • [6]: Scherer-Lorenzen, M., Schulze, E. D., Don, A., Schumacher, J., Weller, E. (2007). Exploring the functional significance of forest diversity: A new long-term experiment with temperate tree species (BIOTREE). Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, 9(2), 53-70. doi:10.1016/j.ppees.2007.08.002.
  • [7]: Scherer-Lorenzen, M., Körner, C., Schulze, E. D. (2005). The functional significance of forest diversity: a synthesis. In M. Scherer-Lorenzen, C. Körner, E. D. Schulze (Eds.), Forest diversity and function: temperate and boreal systems (pp. 377-389). Berlin: Springer.
  • [8]: Frischbier, N., Karge, A., Otto, A., Aas, G., Hessenmöller, D., Rösner, C., Schulze, E. D. (2017). Information und Aktivitäten zur möglichen Anbaueignung weiterer Arten aus der Gattung Pseudotsuga für Mitteldeutschland. AFZ, der Wald, 72(24), 22-23.
  • [9]: Hessenmöller, D., Rösner, C., v. Gadow, K., Bouriaud, O., Schulze, E. D. (2018). Bietet die chinesische Douglasie waldbauliche Chancen für uns? AFZ, der Wald, 3, 50-52.
  • [10]: Kahl, T., Arnstadt, T., Baber, K., Baessler, C., Bauhus, J., Borken, W., Buscot, F., Floren, A., Heibl, C., Hessenmöller, D., Hofrichter, M., Hoppe, B., Kellner, H., Krueger, D., Linsenmair, K. E., Matzner, E., Otto, P., Purahong, W., Seilwinder, C., Schulze, E. D., Wende, B., Weisser, W. W., Gossner, M. M. (2017). Wood decay rates of 13 temperate tree species in relation to wood properties, enzyme activities and organismic diversities. Forest Ecology and Management, 391, 86-95. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2017.02.012.
  • [11]: Purahong, W., Wubet, T., Lentendu, G., Hoppe, B., Jariyavidyanont, K., Arnstadt, T., Baber, K., Otto, P., Kellner, H., Hofrichter, M., Bauhus, J., Weisser, W. W., Krüger, D., Schulze, E. D., Kahl, T., Buscot, F. (2018). Determinants of deadwood-inhabiting fungal communities in temperate forests: molecular evidence from a large scale deadwood decomposition experiment. Frontiers in Microbiology, 9: 2120. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2018.02120.
  • [12]: Schulze, E. D., Aas, G., Grimm, G. W., Gossner, M. M., Walentowski, H., Ammer, C., Kühn, I., Bouriaud, O., von Gadow, K. (2016). A review on plant diversity and forest management of European beech forests. European Journal of Forest Research, 135(1), 51-67. doi:10.1007/s10342-015-0922-y.
  • [13]: Schulze, E. D., Frör, O., Hessenmöller, D. (2016). Externe ökologische Folgen von Flächenstilllegungen im Wald. AFZ, der Wald, 15, 24-26.''
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