912116 Forest ecology

Lecture and exercise
Semester hours
Lecturer (assistant)
Offered in
Sommersemester 2023
Languages of instruction


Definition of forests and woodlands; the key players in forest ecosystems and their roles: Trees (diversity, life cycles, genotype/phenotype, growth form, bark, wood, leaves; effects of climate, nutrition and biotic interactions, flower and fruit ecology, modes of regeneration, seed dispersal, seed banks), lianas, epiphytes, hemi-epiphytes, mistletoes, shrubs, herbaceous vegetation, dead wood (classification and description), animals in forest ecosystems, pathogens in forest ecosystems; structure of forest ecosystems, forest boundaries (causes and amplification by abiotic and biotic factors), forest formations and forest types (main properties and distribution): Tropical forests, subtropical forests, Mediterranean forests, temperate forests, boreal forests. The long term history of forests, biogeography, the return of forests after the last ice age in Europe, adaptation by selection. Scales in forest dynamics. Regeneration ecology (the role of spatial heterogeneity in micro-climate, soil and structure, stochasticity of gap formation and propagule availability, competition, trade off and facilitation, the role of pests and diseases, rare species advantage, competition in advanced regeneration and forest stands, pioneers vs. late successional species, the role of life span, the phase mosaic in forests. Human impact on forests during history, ecological analysis of modern forest management, clear cut vs. permanent forest, forest plantations, effects of forest management on forest soils, forest hydrology and mineral nutrients; Conservation aspects (how much forest is needed in a landscape), ecological consequences of deforestation and forest degradation, forests as carbon sinks, forest conservation, the role of forest reserves, forest ecosystem restoration.

Field exercises in forest ecology in the Vienna Woods and in riverine forests along the Danube supplement the lectures.

Objective (expected results of study and acquired competences)

Understanding concepts, processes and dynamics forest ecology as well as interactions with other ecosystems as prerequisite for sustainable management
You can find more details like the schedule or information about exams on the course-page in BOKUonline.