Research Interests


The vegetation covering the continents has decisive influence on climate. About three quarters of this vegetation cover have been altered by humans through land use - by transforming natural vegetation to agricultural land and urban areas, but also by more subtle changes such as changing management methods. In my research I investigate how land use changes affect climate.

I am particularly interested in the consequences of large-scale land use change on the global and regional carbon balance. I contrast such biogeochemical effects with biophysical consequences of land use change, such as changes in energy and water fluxes. Here, my current focus lies on the effects of forest management on global climate and the carbon cycle.

The timescales considered cover the last millennium to the near future. I address questions on the beginning of human-induced climate change and the role of land use in shaping the "Anthropocene". Further, I evaluate possible future mitigation and adaptation strategies by land use change, including aspects of geoengineering. Recently, I have also worked on food security, closing the feedback cycle of human activity, land use, and climate change in my work.

In my research, I have combined field measurements, satellite data, biosphere models, and comprehensive Earth system models.