We investigate and teach the interactions between society, soils, water, vegetation and climate. Without an understanding of this interplay, a sustainable approach to our environment is impossible.



Fabian Fassnacht
F. Faßnacht appointed to FU Berlin

Fabian Faßnacht from the vegetation research group was appointed to the Freie Universität Berlin, where he holds the professorship for remote sensing and geoinformatics at the Institute of Geographical Sciences.

Gabi Zachmann, KITFoto: Gabi Zachmann, KIT
Leibniz Prize for A. Arneth

Almut Arneth receives Germany's most important research award, the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, for her research on ecosystems under the influence of global environmental change. A. Arneth heads the Department of Ecosystem-Atmosphere Interactions at Campus Alpin (IMK-IFU) and she is a professor at the Institute of Geography and Geoecology.

Virus Update
Covid-19 Update

Most of the teaching is face-to-face again. The online format will be retained in some courses which rely heavily on IT anyway. Information on the individual courses can be found on Ilias. Make sure that e-mails from the Ilias system can reach you. Please also see the KIT FAQ page on the topic.

Erwin Project
How do forests burn?

A film team from SWR accompanied us during work on the project ErWiN: SWR Wissen: How do forests burn? The aim is to better understand the dynamics of forest fires and to reduce the risk of forest fires. Aim is to better understand the dynamics of forest fires and to reducing the risk. Projects website.

Pastures unfertilisedJörg Hailer
Biodiversity closes the phosphorus cycle

In a publication in the renowned journal Nature Communications Sophia Leimer and Wolfgang Wilcke from IFGG together with Yvonne Oelmann from the University of Tübingen and the consortia of two large German biodiversity experiments were able to show that in agricultural grassland ecosystems both the above- and belowground biodiversity contribute to optimally use the available phosphorus - an important plant nutrient element and a scarce ressource as mineral fertiliser.

Rio NegroChristian Damm
Rio Negro

During a two-week excursion over 30 students from both the KIT (Germany) and INPA (Brazil) installed permanent forest inventories on the Rio Negro, a large tributary of the Amazon River. We subsequently merged resulting inventory data with historical hydrological data to model the flooding distribution of 111 tree species.

VjosaStefan Schmutz

This baseline survey summarises the value of the Vjosa River system as one of the few remaining reference sites for dynamic floodplains in Europe on the one hand, and reveals the detrimental effects dams could have on the river system on the other: Only one dam will significantly destroy the ecological continuum of a pristine river.

New tool to recognize ecosystem change

In a new publication in the renowned journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (PNAS), the consortium of the German Biodiversity Exploratories with the participation of Sophia Leimer and Wolfgang Wilcke of the IFGG show that increasing land-use intensity in grassland and forest changes the relationship between biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and the resulting ecosystem services, which are important for humans. With the proposed method which is based on network theory, a novel tool becomes available with which the entire complexity of the anthropogenically caused ecosystem changes can be recognized.