Institute of Landscape Ecology


New publication

Early detection of GPP-related regime shifts

© André Große-Stoltenberg

The invasion by Acacia in Portugal is a striking example of how exotic plant species can threaten native ecosystems. In the 20th century, the Long-leaved Wattle (Acacia longifolia), which is native to Australia, was planted along the Portuguese coast to stabilize dunes. Since then, the yellow flowering shrub has become invasive, and it is altering water and nutrient cycling with negative effects for the native species. Scientists from the Universities of Münster, Hamburg, Freiburg and Bielefeld show for the first time how to produce high-accurate maps of the wattle including its impact on nutrient cycling in a Mediterranean dune ecosystem. To this end, the team used high-resolution airborne sensor data. The study is published in the journal “Remote Sensing of Environment” 

For further information please check the publication here.

© Andy Malkus

Non-lecture period means field-trip time at the Geographical Institutes of the University of Münster. Thus, a group of 16 geographers and landscape ecologists under the guidance of Dr. Andreas Malkus and Christoph Nothelfer went on a scientific excursion to Nepal end of February. Inter alia a trekking tour through the Himalaya mountains and a multi-day stay in the bustling capital Kathmandu are planned.

To share their experiences, the group arranged a blog. Find out more...

New publications at the ILÖK

  • Sorkau, E., Boch, S., Boeddinghaus, RS., Bonkowski, M., Fischer, M., Kandeler, E., Klaus, VH., Kleinebecker, T., Marhan, S., Müller, J., Prati, D., Schöning, I., Schrumpf, M., Weinert, J., Oelmann, Y. (2018): The role of soil chemical properties, land use and plant diversity for microbial phosphorus in forest and grassland soils. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science 181 (2): 185-197 doi: 10.1002/jpln.201700082
  • Gilhaus, K., Boch, S., Fischer, M., Hölzel, N., Kleinebecker, T., Prati, D., Rupprecht, D., Schmitt, B., Klaus, VH. (2017): Grassland management in Germany: effects on plant diversity and vegetation composition. Tuexenia 37: 379-397 doi:10.14471/2017.37.0 10
  • Heim, W., Trense, D., Sokolova, GV., Kitagawa, T. (2017): Increased Populations of Endangered Cranes After Amur River Flood. Waterbirds 40(3):282-288 doi:10.1675/063.040.0309 Open Access
  • Sander, MM., Eccard, JA., Heim, W. (2017): Flight range estimation of migrant Yellow-browed Warblers Phylloscopus inornatus on the East Asian Flyway. Bird Study 64 (4): 569-572 doi:10.1080/00063657.2017.1409696
  • Trappe, J., Kunz, F., Weking, S., Kamp, J. (2017): Grassland butterfly communities of the Western Siberian forest steppe in the light of post-Soviet land abandonment. Journal of Insect Conservation 21(5-6): 813-826 doi:10.1007/s10841-017-0021-0
  • Wolff, C., Gilhaus, K., Hölzel, N., Schneider, S. (2017): Status and restoration potential of heathlands and sand grasslands in the southwest of Luxembourg. Tuexenia 37: 179-200 doi:10.14471/2017.37.007
  • Heer, N.; Klimmek, F.; Zwahlen, C.; Fischer, M.; Hölzel, N.; Klaus, VH.; Kleinebecker,T.; Prati, D.; Boch, S. (2018): Hemiparasite-density effects on grassland plant diversity, composition and biomass. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 32: 22-29 doi:10.1016/j.ppees.2018.01.004

further Publications: ILÖK, Arbeitsgruppen, Mitarbeiter

Conference "Insect declines"


Over the past 27 years, insects biomass in parts of Northern Germany has declined by 75%. The consequences for the environment, for wildlife and humans are far-reaching. Therefore, together with the NABU (Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union) the Institute of Landscape Ecology of the University of Münster invited to the symposium "Insect declines: State of Knowledge - Research - Countermeasures" on February, 17th 2018. Experts from science, agriculture and nature conservation discussed the current situation, threats and countermeasures.

Further information [in german], the 'Münsteraner Appell', an appeal to all stakeholders, as well as the presentations can be found at the NABU website.

Wet forests and climate change - state and future

Flyer-fachtagung-fechtwaelder-im-klimawandel Cover Small
© Fit für den Klimawandel

The final conference of the "Fit for Climate Change" project was held on the 15th and 16th of February, 2018 at the Institute of Landscape Ecology. Approximately 150 participants joined.

documentation of the conference, with talks, posters and field trips [in german]

press release of the NABU-Naturschutzstation Münsterland [in german]

television report of the WDR in the local tv news "Lokalzeit Münsterland" from 15th of February including an interview with Dr. Britta Linnemann on the project, available until 22nd of February

Yellow-breasted Bunting: uplisted to Critically Endangered, consumption and trade go on, but there is hope

Illegally trapped Yellow-breasted bunting in China
© Huang Qiusheng

Yellow-breasted Bunting, once a superabundant songbird species, has declined by 85-95% since the early 1980s, with heavy, illegal persecution in China being an important driver. The species' status has recently been updated to Critically Endangered on IUCN's international Red List, based on a quantitative assessment of the decline led by Johannes Kamp of the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research Group.

However, birds are still caught and sold in larger numbers, even on eBay-like platforms in China. A price of 15-30 USD per bird suggests high demand. Good news is that conservation organizations along the flyway are raising awareness, see e.g. this excellent video from Hongkong. Also, the Chinese law has been changed, and hunting and consumption are now criminal offences.
More research is underway to shed light on the year-round distribution and flyways of the species. Data on migration routes have been retrieved from geolocator devices by Wieland Heim. This will help us to identify key areas for conservation of the species, and learn more about potential additional drivers of the decline, such as land-use change and agricultural intensification on the wintering grounds.

Prof. Dr. Tillmann Buttschardt

Klaus-Holger Knorr has qualified as a professor

© K.-H. Knorr

Dr. rer. nat. Klaus-Holger Knorr (Ecohydrology and Biogeochemistry Research Group)was awarded the Venia legendi for Biogeochemistry by the Department of Geosciences on 29.11.2017 with a cumulative thesis on the topic:"Using organic matte quality, stable isotopes, and electron transfer processes as tools to understand mechanisms of element cycling in wetlands". Congratulations!

Further Links

  • Research at the Institute of Landscape Ecology
  • Staff of the Institute of Landscape Ecology