Institute for Technology Assessment and  Systems Analysis (ITAS)

ErWiN: Expanding the ecological, silvicultural, and technical knowledge about forest fires. Sub-project 5: Development of silvicultural strategies for the regeneration of fire-damaged stands

Project description

The rapidly advancing climate change favours the increased occurrence of forest fires in Germany due to drier and hotter climates. In order to be able to counteract these extreme events and mitigate their consequences, knowledge about forest fires in Germany must be expanded. The ErWiN project covers different perspectives on this topic. It is coordinated by the Institute of Geography and Geoecology of the KIT (KIT-IFGG), the technical, silvicultural, and ecological aspects are examined in cooperation with the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (KIT-ITAS), the Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research of the KIT (KIT-IMK-IFU), the Institute of Forest Ecosystems of the Thuenen Institute Eberswalde (TI-WO), the Eberswalde Forestry Competence Centre (LFE), and the Department of Crisis Management and Research at the Fire Brigade Institute of North Rhine Westphalia.

The Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis is entrusted with sub-project 5. The task of this sub-project is to document and evaluate the natural regeneration of fire-damaged forest areas and the resilience of native tree species with regard to long heat and drought episodes in order to develop possible approaches for supporting regeneration through silvicultural measures. The understanding of how forest ecosystems recover after the fires in Brandenburg forms the essential basis for further forestry measures.

The natural regeneration of a forest ecosystem is influenced by a variety of factors. These include climatic conditions, soil erosion caused by fire, and the presence of diseases and pests that can severely affect young tree seedlings and trees.

Field data collection at various test plots in the fire areas should provide information on the state of regeneration of the forests and their ecosystems. Special attention will be paid to the natural re-growth by native tree species and their health. If the natural regeneration of a forest progresses only to a very small extent, this forms the point of intervention for forestry measures such as the planting of trees. In addition, plant physiological experiments will be used to determine how native tree seedlings live and survive under the hot and dry conditions of climate change. The results of these experiments should help to facilitate the choice of tree species to be planted, if the natural regeneration of a forest area is not progressing optimally.

The results of this sub-project on the natural regeneration and resilience of indigenous trees will not only increase our knowledge on the consequences of forest fires, but will also help to adapt our forests to advancing climate change.


Dr. rer. nat. Somidh Saha
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe

Tel.: +49 721 608-24644