The Departement is composed of two research groups focusing on the following areas:


Research group Scherer-Lorenzen:

  1. Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning

  2. Global Change Biology

  3. Soundscape Ecology


We aim to better understand the influence of biologic diversity on ecologic processes and how global change drivers are influencing these interactions. With a process oriented approach to the “ecosystem services” concept, we quantify the interaction between ecosystem processes, function, and ecosystem services.


Our main research questions are:

  • How do the different aspects of global change influence biodiversity, ecological processes, and services?
  • What is the direct influence of biodiversity on ecosystems and ecosystem services?
  • What are the underlying mechanisms responsible for diversity effects?
  • What are the species functional traits, and what eco-physiologic processes are relevant for the effects of diversity?
  • What is the relationship between land use intensity, vegetation structure and acoustic diversity?


 We use short-term mesocosm experiments in our lab and greenhouse, as well as long-term experiments in the field. Observational and comparative studies are an important foundation of our research in order to reach an understanding of “global change” effects at the ecosystem scale. 


Research group Ludemann:

  1. Comparative Vegetation Science
  2. Vegetation History


We analyze spatio-temporal patterns of vegetation types at different scales, especailly in forest ecosystems in the Black Forest. To reconstruct past forest composition, we analyze historical kiln sites for charcoal production.


Current Research projects:

  • Dr.Forest: Diversity of forests affecting human health
  • W³: Win-Win im Weinberg - innovatives, ökologisches und ökonomisches Weinbergsmanagmenet mit extensiver Schafbeweidung
  • ConFoBi: Conservation of Forest Biodiversity in Multi-Use Landscapes of Central Europe
  • HILLSCAPE: HILLSlope Chronosequence And Process Evolution)
  • SoilForEUROPE: Predicting European forest soil biodiversity and its functioning under ongoing climate change.
  • Hochdivers-KUP (Nutzung von Baum-Diversität zur Erhöhung der Produktivität und ökologischen Stabilität von Kurzumtriebsplantagen)
  • IDENT-Freiburg (International Diversity Experiment Network with Trees)

  • ECOLINK-SALIX (Linking individual plant traits to ecosystem processes using a willow model system)
  • BEsound (Die Beziehung zwischen Landnutzungsintensität, organismischer Diversität und akustischer Komplexität)

  • FunDivEUROPE (The Functional significance of forest bioDiversity in EUROPE), EU Framework Programme VII. Coordinator. Hier gibt es eine Auswahl von Videos zu diesem Projekt.

  • DIVERFOR (Functional implications of inter- vs. intraspecific trait DIVERrsity in European FORests), Marie-Curie Action

  • smallFOREST (Biodiversity and ecosystem services of small forest fragments in European landscapes), BiodivERsA, EU Framework Programme VII.

  • BEF CHINA (DFG-Reseacrh Unit "Forest Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning in China"): The functional significance of forest diversity: N-pools, fluxes and N-uptake complementarity. Decomposition and nutrient cycling.

  • BIOTREE (Biodiversity and Ecosystem Processes of Experimental Tree Stands)

  • The Jena Experiment (DFG-Research Unit "The role of biodiversity for element cycling and trophic interactions“)

  • FUN_DIV (Functional significance of tree diversity for nutrient dynamics in a tropical plantation) within The Sardinilla Project



Past Research Projects:  


AlpFUTUR (The effect of management intensity and natural variability on ecosystem services in alpine pastures)

BACCARA (Biodiversity And Climate Change, A Risk Analysis). EU Framework Programme VII. "Effects of forest biodiversity on ecosystem functioning"

BIODEPTH (Biodiversity and Ecological Processes in Terrestrial Herbaceous Ecosystems)

CLIMATE CHANGE project within the Biodiversity Exploratories: Biodiversity controls of climate change effects on biogeochemical processes

IMEXCLIME (IMpacts of EXtreme CLIMatic Events on ecosystem functioning in alpine grasslands)

NCCR Climate: WP3.1 Plant Soil Interactions, subproject PLANT/SOIL

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