Summit of La Campana in coastal coastal Cordillera of central Chile, where we investigate how vegetation dynamics influence landscape evolution

Research Group

Quantitative Biogeography

Our working group investigates interactions between biodiversity, ecosystem functioning, and climate on spatiotemporal scales ranging local studies to the globe and from the past (mainly Neogene and Quaternary) to future scenarios.
We develop process-based and statistical computer models for simulating the dynamics of species and ecosystems, in particular dynamic regional to global vegetation models. The models are combined with various data types to improve system understanding. More applied research concerns climate impacts and the supply of ecosystems services to society. The future scenarios should inform climate adaptation measures and the identification of societal pathways to achieve sustainable development.
Furthermore we cooperate with the Hydrology Group at Goethe University Frankfurt to work on global water modelling with the aim to understand the impact of climate change on this important ressource.

Current projects

Selected publications

Fire in the Earth System

Teckentrup L, Harrison SP, Hantson S, Heil A, Melton JR, Forrest M, Li F, Yue C, Arneth A, Hickler T, Sitch S, Lasslop G. 2019. Response of simulated burned area to historical changes in environmental and anthropogenic factors: a comparison of seven fire models. Biogeosciences 16: 3883–3910 doi:

Andela N, Morton DC, Giglio L, Chen Y, Werf GR van der, Kasibhatla PS, DeFries RS, Collatz GJ, Hantson S, Kloster S, Bachelet D, Forrest M, Lasslop G, Li F, Mangeon S, Melton JR, Yue C, Randerson JT. 2017. A human-driven decline in global burned area. Science 356: 1356–1362 doi: 10.1126/science.aal4108.

Hantson S, Arneth A, Harrison SP, Kelley DI, Prentice IC, Rabin SS, Archibald S, Mouillot F, Arnold SR, Artaxo P, Bachelet D, Ciais P, Forrest M, Friedlingstein P, Hickler T, Kaplan JO, Kloster S, Knorr W, Lasslop G, Li F, Mangeon S, Melton JR, Meyn A, Sitch S, Spessa A, van der Werf GR, Voulgarakis A, Yue C. 2016. The status and challenge of global fire modelling. Biogeosciences 13: 3359–3375 doi: 10.5194/bg-13-3359-2016.


Paleo-environmental Changes

Feurdean A, …, Warren D,… , Forrest M, Liakka J,. .., Werner C, …, Naimar A ,  …, Pfeiffer M, … Hickler T. 2020. Fire hazard modulation by long-term dynamics in land cover and dominant forest type in eastern and central Europe. Biogeosciences 17: 1213–1230 doi:



Seebens  H, Blackburn TM, Dyer EE, Genovesi P, Hulme PE, Jeschke JM, Pagad S, Pyšek P, van Kleunen M, Winter M, Ansong M, Arianoutsou M, Bacher S, Blasius B, Brockerhoff EG, Brundu G, Capinha C, Causton CE, Celesti-Grapow L, Dawson W, Dullinger S, Economo EP, Fuentes N, Guénard B, Jäger H, Kartesz J, Kenis M, Kühn I, Lenzner B, Liebhold AM, Mosena A, Moser D, Nentwig W, Nishino M, Pearman D, Pergl J, Rabitsch W, Rojas-Sandoval J, Roques A, Rorke S, Rossinelli S, Roy HE, Scalera R, Schindler S, Štajerová K, Tokarska-Guzik B, Walker K, Ward DF, Yamanaka T, Essl F. 2018. Global rise in emerging alien species results from increased accessibility of new source pools. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 115: E2264–E2273 doi: 10.1073/pnas.1719429115.

Seebens H, Blackburn TM, Dyer EE, Genovesi P, Hulme PE, Jeschke JM, Pagad S, Pyšek P, Winter M, Arianoutsou M, Bacher S, Blasius B, Brundu G, Capinha C, Celesti-Grapow L, Dawson W, Dullinger S, Fuentes N, Jäger H, Kartesz J, Kenis M, Kreft H, Kühn I, Lenzner B, Liebhold A, Mosena A, Moser D, Nishino M, Pearman D, Pergl J, Rabitsch W, Rojas-Sandoval J, Roques A, Rorke S, Rossinelli S, Roy HE, Scalera R, Schindler S, Štajerová K, Tokarska-Guzik B, van Kleunen M, Walker K, Weigelt P, Yamanaka T, Essl F. 2017. No saturation in the accumulation of alien species worldwide. Nature Communications 8: 14435 doi: 10.1038/ncomms14435.

Seebens H, Essl F, Blasius B. 2017. The intermediate distance hypothesis of biological invasions. Ecology Letters 20: 158–165 doi: 10.1111/ele.12715.

Dawson W, Moser D, van Kleunen M, Kreft H, Pergl J, Pyšek P, Weigelt P, Winter M, Lenzner B, Blackburn TM, Dyer EE, Cassey P, Scrivens SL, Economo EP, Guénard B, Capinha C, Seebens H, García-Díaz P, Nentwig W, García-Berthou E, Casal C, Mandrak NE, Fuller P, Meyer C, Essl F. 2017. Global hotspots and correlates of alien species richness across taxonomic groups. Nature Ecology & Evolution 1: 0186 doi: 10.1038/s41559-017-0186.

Capinha C, Essl F, Seebens H, Moser D, Pereira HM. 2015. The dispersal of alien species redefines biogeography in the Anthropocene. Science 348: 1248–1251 doi: 10.1126/science.aaa8913.


Ecological and Ecosystem Modelling

Forrest M, Tost H, Lelieveld J, Hickler T. 2020. Including vegetation dynamics in an atmospheric chemistry-enabled general circulation model: linking LPJ-GUESS (v4.0) with the EMAC modelling system (v2.53). Geoscientific Model Development 13: 1285–1309 doi:

Dantas de Paula, M, Gómez Giménez M, Niamir A, Thurner M,  and Hickler, T. 20 20. Combining European Earth Observation products with Dynamic Global Vegetation Models for estimating Essential Biodiversity Variables. International Journal of Digital Earth 13:2 262-277 doi: 10.1080/17538947.2019.1597187

Dantas de Paula M, Groeneveld J, Fischer R, Taubert F, Martins V F, and Huth A. 2018. Defaunation impacts on seed survival and its effect on the biomass of future tropical for ests. OIKOS 00: 1-13 doi: 10.1111/oik.05084

Bagnara ,M, Silveyra Gonzalez R, Reifenberg S, Steinkamp J, Hickler T, Werner C, Dormann CF, and Hartig ,F. 2019. An R package facilitating sensitivity analysis, calibration and forward simulations with the LPJ-GUESS dynamic vegetation model. Environmental Modelling and Software 111: 55–60 doi: 10.1016/j.envsoft.2018.09.004