Forest transitions are not necessarily sustainable. It may, in fact, be rather misleading to equate a forest transition with a shift towards more sustainability. Initiated by the HEFT "sister-project" FTViet, this paper lists ten reasons why:

Kull, C.A., Bartmess, J., Dressler, W., Gingrich, S., Grodzicki, M., Jasikowska, K., Łapniewska, Z., Mansourian, S., Nguyen, V.T.H., Persson, J., Pichler, M., Rajaonarivelo, H.M., Robert, A., Tran, T.N., Woods, K., 2024. Pitfalls for the sustainability of forest transitions: evidence from Southeast Asia. Environmental Conservation 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0376892924000079 

For a summary of the paper by Christian Kull, see here !


A new paper is out: Based on her work as HEFT student intern, Léonore Darrobers led the publication of a new, harmonized long-term social metabolism dataset on physical trade of wood and wood products in the United States from 1870 to 2017, with contributions by Andreas Magerl and Simone Gingrich. The paper shows how the United States became an increasing net importer of woody biomass while domestic forests recovered, and thus demonstrates the utilty of social metabolism approaches in historical analyses of resource use.

Darrobers, L., Gingrich, S., Magerl, A., 2024. Timber trade in the United States of America 1870 to 2017. A socio-metabolic analysis. Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1080/01615440.2024.2316039

Read the paper here !

Also, watch out for more papers on social metabolism in history in the forthcoming Special Issue, guest edited by Andrew Watson, Josh MacFadyen and Simone Gingrich!


For German-Speakers: Read HEFT-content on the potentials of land use to contribute to climate-change mitigation in Austria, part of the Young Academy science blog series in the Austrian newspaper derstandard.at:

Simone Gingrich Karl-Heinz Erb Christian Lauk: Wie die Landnutzung helfen kann, das Klima zu schützen



Happy new year, and a new paper is out - accepted manuscript online first! 

Gingrich, S., Theurl, M., Erb, K., Le Noë, J., Magerl, A., Bauernschuster, S., Krausmann, F., Lauk, C., 2024. Livestock increasingly drove global agricultural emissions growth from 1910-2015. Environmental Research Letters https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/ad1cb6

In an analysis of 20th century global emissions from agricultural activities, we find that increases in livestock production offset the improvements in emissions intensity achieved through industrial intensification of agriculture. Do give the paper a read!


Simone Gingrich presented results from the collaborative analysis of a long time series of global agricultural emissions (1910-2015) in the Social Ecology Research seminar. Valuable feedback for the ongoing revision process. Watch out for a paper coming out soon (hopefully!):

Simone Gingrich, Michaela Theurl, Karlheinz Erb, Julia Le Noë, Andreas Magerl, Sonja Bauernschuster, Fridolin Krausmann, Christian Lauk: Livestock increasingly drove global agricultural emissions growth from 1910-2015


Social Ecology Day 2023! Great discussions on how we operationalize the concept of colonization in social ecology - in the HEFT project and beyond.


Today, Simone Gingrich presented and discussed some HEFT insights on the climate impacts of Austrian long-term land-use dynamics at the conference "Land und Heute" in St. Pölten, held by the Institut für Geschichte des ländlichen Raumes.  

Great exchange with interdisciplinary researchers studying rural societies, their histories and current challenges.

23.11.2023: New paper alert:

Ever wondered how land-use intensification and industrialization affected long-term emissions trends from agricultural activities? Christian Lauk and HEFT team colleagues investigated this little researched question for the case of Austria in 1830-2018!

Spoiler: agricultural emissions increased significantly in the long run! But: much less than fossil emissions, and a significant absolute decline occurred in the late 20th century.

Read more, online first: 

Lauk, C., Magerl, A., Le Noë, J., Theurl, M.C., Gingrich, S., 2023. Analyzing long-term dynamics of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions in Austria, 1830–2018. Science of The Total Environment 168667. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.168667

HEFT proudly presents: Dr. Sonja Bauernschuster!

Congratulations Sonja on your successful PhD defence today, sharing your work on Lao land-use dynamics, their underlying political strategies and the ensuing climate impacts!

It has been a priviledge to have you on our team, and we wish you all the best for your next steps!

Announcement: Please join us for Sonja Bauernschuster's PhD defense!

"The nexus between climate change mitigation and development in Laos"

Oct. 24 2023, 10h at Schottenfeldgasse 29, 1070 Vienna, SR 4c


For German Speakers: Read the press release to our most recent article here!

Andreas Magerl explains the role of fires in long-term forest change in the United States, and its implications for climate-change mitigation today.


Andreas Magerl and colleagues have a new paper out, investigating the role of wildfires in shaping forest carbon in the United States in the long run. The study finds that on average across the 20th century, wildfires reduced forest carbon stock increase by 14%. The paper presents a whole lot of new data on fire dynamics and their relevance as compared to wood harvest and forest grazing.

Magerl A, S Gingrich, S Matej, G Cunfer, M Forrest, C Lauk, S Schlaffer, F Weidinger, C Yuskiw, K-H Erb (2023): The role of wildfires in the interplay of forest carbon stocks and wood harvest in the contiguous United States during the 20th century. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 37, e2023GB007813 https://doi.org/10.1029/2023GB007813


Melanie Pichler gloriously defended her habilitation thesis in political sciences with a lecture on "Political dimensions of social-ecological transformations: polity, politics, policy", including findings from her HEFT research in Laos. Congratulations, Melanie! 


For German speakers: Karl-Heinz Erb and Simone Gingrich, together with a number of colleagues, published a fact sheet on the limited potentials of providing wood-based bioenergy in Austria. Despite high imports, high domestic harvest intensity and efficient use of residues from processing, wood bioenergy currently only provides c. 16% of Austria's primary energy supply. Improving energy efficiency in domestic heating has greater potentials to mitigate emissions than enhancing wood bioenergy use.

Read all the details here 


Sonja Bauernschuster presented her recent paper on the climate impact of large-scale land acquisitions in Lao PDR as part of the Social Ecology research seminar. Insightful presentation, relevant results, and inspiring discussions on both the biophysical and the political dimensions of land-use change and concessions in Laos.

Read the paper here if you haven't done that! 


Melanie Pichler and Simone Gingrich had the pleasure to attend a workshop of the FTViet project hosted by Christian Kull at University of Lausanne. We dicsussed the pertinent question "What sustainability within which transitions?", based on numerous contributions about livelihoods dynamics in the course of forest change in local contexts across Southeast Asia. It was highly inspirational to learn more about research very complementary to our HEFT work. 

Thanks for having us - we look forward to the further exchange!


Full house today, both physical and virtual, for Andreas Magerl's PhD defense! It was a fantastic event: a dense and clear presentation, and an engaging discussion for colleagues working in closely and less closely related fields, as well as for friends and family members.  

Congratulations, Dr. Magerl!!


Join us tomorrow for Andreas Magerl's PhD Defense: "A Socioecological Reading of the Forest Transition in The United States"

14.02.2023, 10:00 Schottenfeldgasse 29/3 1070 Vienna Seminar Room 3a, or online via zoom 


A year's work is (almost) done! After a presentation and lively discussions in the Social Ecology Research Seminar on GWP* as a metric for the climate impact of agricultural methane emissions and insights derived from long-term assessments, we raised a glass on Michaela Theurl who will start new adventures in 2023 and will therefore sadly leave the HEFT team.

We wish you all the best, Michi, and look forward to the continued collaboration!


Happy to share a new publication led by Julia Le Noë: 

Le Noë, J., Gingrich, S., Pichler, M., Roux, N., Kaufmann, L., Mayer, A., Lauk, C., 2023. Combining biophysical modeling and Polanyian theory pleads for a re-embedding of the agricultural system in 2050 in Austria. Environmental Science & Policy 139, 228–239. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2022.11.006

In exploring a biophysical option space of no or negative emissions of the land sector in Austria 2050, we find that reducing the consumption of animal products is the major lever in reducing emissions, opening room for self-sufficiency or agro-ecological production. Using Polanyian social theory, we argue that to achieve such a transformation, re-embedding the agricultural system in social, spatial and ecological terms is required. 


What impact have large-scale land acquisitions had on forest change and land-use induced carbon emissions in Lao PDR? Quite a big one, actually: they made up for 34% of land-use emissions on only 12% of the land areas subject to land conversion. For more, read our new publication, led by Sonja Bauernschuster: 

Bauernschuster, S., M. Pichler, V. Nanhthavong, R. Bernhard, M. Epprecht, and S. Gingrich. 2022. Carbon emissions from land acquisitions in Laos. Ecology and Society 27(3):45. [online] URL: https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol27/iss3/art45


Today, Prof. Christian Kull from Université Lausanne visited the HEFT team to discuss interdisciplinary approaches to forest transitions that combine qualitative and quantitative methods across humanities, natural and social sciences. Talking about our research on forest transitions in Laos and Vietnam, Madagascar and Austria, we identified a respectful and enjoyable working atmosphere as a major condition for innovative interdisciplinary collaboration - and practiced it, too. So much so that we forgot to take a picture!

Thank you for the visit, Christian, we look forward to continuing the conversation!

26.8.2022: Hot off the press: Manan Bhan's final PhD chapter got published today, less than two months after he defended the thesis, building on collaborative work with Patrick Meyfroidt in Louvain:  

Bhan, M., Meyfroidt, P., Matej, S., Erb, K.-H., Gingrich, S., 2022. A mid-20 th century inventory-based estimate of global terrestrial vegetation carbon stocks. Journal of Land Use Science 17, 429–453. https://doi.org/10.1080/1747423X.2022.2112779

The paper combines the earliest global forest assessment with information on potential vegetation to develop the first inventory-based estimate of global biomass carbon stocks. The paper establishes a best guess value of global biomass carbon stocks of 450.2PgC (range: 443.7–584.0 PgC), indicating a reduction of 8-29% between 1950 and 2000. The resulting annual emissions are similar to those from the effects of harvest and land conversion alone, suggesting that all other effects, such as environmental change, management other than harvest, and legacy effects, had a minor net impact on carbon emissions in the long run.  

Congratulations on this important milestone, Manan!

8.8.2022: New publication: 

Infante-Amate, J., Iriarte-Goñi, I., Urrego-Mesa, A., Gingrich, S., 2022. From woodfuel to industrial wood: A socio-metabolic reading of the forest transition in Spain (1860–2010). Ecological Economics 201, 107548. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2022.107548

Taking HEFT ideas to Spain, Simone Gingrich contributed to a publication with long-term friends and collaboration partners on long-term forest change in Spain and its socio-metabolic context. In Spain, the forest transition was characterized by a strong shift towards high forests and timber production from the 1950s onwards.

6.8.2022: Exciting publication news: 

Bauernschuster, S., Pichler, M., Ingalls, M., Thongmanivong, S., Gingrich, S., 2022. Discursive and biophysical dimensions of land sparing policies in Laos: Implications for greenhouse gas emissions and food security. Land Use Policy 120, 106293. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2022.106293

After a very long review process, Sonja Bauernschuster has her first PhD-paper published, based on collaborative research conducted during her research stay in Laos in 2020! The paper investigates land sparing policies in Laos and the effects of land-use change on emissions and food security since 2000. It concludes that "the narrow focus of land-use policies on land sparing falls short in effectively balancing societal needs and ecosystem functions".

Congratulations, Sonja!


Martin Schmid remotely presented ongoing HEFT research at the Agricultural History Society's Annual Meeting held in Stavanger, Norway "Excluding Peasants from Forests: the Politics of Woodfuel Use and Energy Shifts in 19th Century Austria", co-authored with Simone Gingrich, in the double-session "Farm Power in Flux: Energy Transitions in 19th-Century Agricultural Systems".

Inspiring discussions, despite the physical distance!


Briefly interrupting her vacation, Simone Gingrich today had a virtual presentation in the hybrid double-session on "The making of the agricultural development: landscapes, resource-use and energy flows (19th-20th century)" at the XIX World Economic History Congress in Paris. Her talk was titled "Forest transitions and industrializing land and energy use: a long-term comparison of national European trajectories" and co-authored by Julia Le Noë, Christian Lauk, Juan Infante-Amate, Eduardo Aguilera, Josette Garnier and Gilles Billen.

Exciting new research exchange on the interconnections of agricultural industrialization, energy and land use!


Today, Andreas Magerl presented his paper "A Socioecological Perspective On Landscape Fires in the U.S. 1900-2016" in the session "Forest fires from an agroecological perspective. Forest transition, farm abandonment and environmental services provision in world agriculture" at ESEH 2022. Very interesting conversations on the role of fire in 20th century land management and its impacts on ecosystems in the past, present and future!

4.-8.7.2022: Finally an in-person conference trip again! 

After a long train ride, Martin Schmid, Andreas Magerl and Simone Gingrich are attending ESEH 2022 in Bristol. Lots of food for thought on new directions in environmental history. 


Today we experienced a very hot and rather intense day of project meetings in hybrid format (pandemic 2.0) to recapitulate year 4 of our project and make plans for the final project stage.

At night, we finally got to meet in person, hang out the old-fashioned way, and cheer the new doctor among us.

And now: Have a great summer everyone!  

28.6.2022: Whoop Whoop! 

Manan Bhan gloriously defended his PhD thesis today on "Quantifying, mapping and assessing the impacts of land use on global biomass carbon stocks": A crystal clear presentation, and a lively and insightful discussion.

Congratulations, Dr. Bhan!!

23.6.2022: How nice to meet people in person:

Today, members of the HEFT and Mat_Stocks teams exchanged with Stefan Pauliuk from Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg about how to conceptualize the climate impact of wood production and use, and how to operationalize its empirical assessment. We are on to some big questions and promising answers!

22.6.2022: HEFT outreach (in German):

"Schützen oder nützen? Die Rolle der Wälder im Kampf gegen die Klimakrise" commentary by Andreas Magerl in the Austrian online-newspaper derstandard.at's blog series "Klima in Bewegung". He argues that extensive (rather than intensive) forest use is a bridging technology for carbon sequestration until energy systems are further decarbonized.

27.5.2022: And another HEFT presentation at EGU General Assembly 2022: Andreas Magerl on the long-term impacts of vegetation fires and harvest on forest biomass carbon stocks in the United States, a digital presentation in the session "The socio-ecological dynamics of Anthropocene wildfire regimes".

23.5.2022: Manan Bhan is presenting results from his recently submitted paper on global biomass carbon stocks in 1950 at EGU General Assembly 2022 in Vienna, in a session on "Present and future global vegetation dynamics and carbon stocks from observations and models". High interest by a large audience!

10.5.2022: Taking HEFT research to the next level: Melanie and Simone explored ways of collaboration with Joel Gustav Persson who is currently starting his Post-Doc research "Livelihoods across the border: The causes and impacts of the forest transition in a borderland region" on forest and livelihood change at the border of Laos and Vietnam, funded through Denmark's DFF-International Postdoctoral Grant. Inspirational to see that the approaches developed in HEFT are being applied and further advanced in new cutting-edge interdisciplinary research at the local and regional scales.

We look forward to further exchange and collaboration, Joel! 

28.4.2022: Starting a new activity: Andrew Watson, Josh MacFadyen and Simone Gingrich are guest editing a special issue in Historical Methods on social metabolism in environmental history.

Today, we had a first exchange among the authors of the planned contributions which will address different elements of social metabolism and their links to ecological and societal dynamics of the past with a geographical focus on Europe and the Americas. Léonore Darrobers will contribute a HEFT publication with Andreas Magerl and Simone Gingrich, and Julia Le Noe will contribute a paper with Jawad Daheur, further elaborating on sources she collected during her HEFT research.

Stay tuned, the special issue will be published in 2023!


Today, Simone Gingrich presented some ongoing work from the HEFT project in the Online Winter Seminar Series of the ReSEED project at University of Coimbra, Portugal. The topic of the seminar was "Energy use in agriculture: a long-term perspective", the other presenter Sofia Teives Henriques, Porto University.

Exciting exchange about the diverse roles of energy in biomass production and the values of studying history for sustainability!

24.1.2022: New publication: 

Erb, K.-H., & Gingrich, S. (2022). Biomass—Critical limits to a vital resource. One Earth, 5(1), 7–9. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.oneear.2021.12.014

In this short commentary, Heinz and Simone discuss the limitations of biomass production at the global scale. They highlight that in addition to considering limitations pertaining to area availability, productivity of ecosystems (NPP) and trade-offs between different carbon fluxes (e.g., extraction vs. accumulation in ecosystems), research on sustainable biomass use needs to better integrate the critical, but often overlooked time dimension. 

5.1.2022: New publication: 

Gingrich, S., Magerl, A., Matej, S., Le Noë, J., 2022. Forest Transitions in the United States, France and Austria: dynamics of forest change and their socio- metabolic drivers. Journal of Land Use Science. https://doi.org/10.1080/1747423X.2021.2018514

For a special issue on women in land science, we quantitatively compare long-term forest transitions in three of our national case studies with respect to the underlying processes of forest change (applying a novel forest identity), and regarding their socio-metabolic drivers (using regression analysis), applying a framework on the impacts of proximate and underlying drivers of forest change. All countries experience a strong effect of the improved growth conditions in the long run, contributing importantly to forest thickening. 

25.12.2021: New publication out: 

Erb, K., Haberl, H., Le Noë, J., Tappeiner, U., Tasser, E., Gingrich, S., 2021. Changes in perspective needed to forge “no‐regret” forest‐based climate change mitigation strategies. GCB Bioenergy gcbb.12921. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcbb.12921

We argue that climate-change mitigation research on forests should take desired carbon sequestration potentials as starting point and quantify sustainable wood yields compatible with those potentials, rather than focusing on the quantification of (hypothetical) wood-for-fossil substitution. 

13.12.21: Nice to meet up again for an extended HEFT project workshop!

We had inspiring discussions on how to quantify long-term emissions from ecosystems and agricultural activities. Exciting new research ahead of us in the next two years!

2.12.21: "Land use change emissions from biomass consumption: Going from estimation to attribution"

As part of his collaboration with UC Louvain, Manan Bhan presented his HEFT research at the ELIC/TECLIM seminar today. Read the abstract here!

24.11.21: What role can biomass play in a transformation towards sustainability?

Simone Gingrich contributed to a lively line-up of talks in the session "supporting the transition towards sustainable agri-food systems" at the 2nd EPICUR Annual Forum, held on Nov.24-26.

23.11.21: Engaging with silviculture:

Simone Gingrich presented HEFT research in the "Scientific Afternoon" jointly organized by the BFW's Departments Forest Growth, Silviculture and Genetics and Forest Biodiversity and Nature Conservation. Inspiring discussions on the carbon impacts of differing forest management practices in the past and the future, the diversity of practices across forest users, and the effects of environmantal versus management change.   

17.11.21: Some things are easier online:

Today, Julia Le Noë joined us from Paris and presented HEFT results on global forest dynamics in the Institute of Social Ecology's research seminar. It's always a great pleasure to discuss with you, Julia!   

11.11.21: A new publication:

Bhan, M., Gingrich, S., Matej, S., Fritz, S., Erb, K.-H., 2021. Land Use Increases the Correlation between Tree Cover and Biomass Carbon Stocks in the Global Tropics. Land 10, 1217. https://doi.org/10.3390/land10111217

We analyze several reomote-sensing datasets on the global tropics and show that across biomes, land use increases the correlation between tree cover and biomass carbon stocks. This increased correlation is the result of both land conversion and land management. The paper importantly informs upcoming remote sensing missions by highlighting that in undisturbed tropical ecosystems, tree cover is not a suitable proxy for biomass carbon stocks.

The paper emerged from Manan's participation in IIASA's Young Scientists Summer program and is part of the Special Issue "Feature Papers for Land–Climate Interactions Section".

9.11.21: We have a new HEFT team member: 

As of Nov. 2021, Michaela Theurl contributes to HEFT as post-doc researcher and strengthens the team with her expertise in agricultural systems and their climate impacts. We are very happy to have you on board, Michi, and look forward to collaborating with you!

29.10.21: Read about spatial patterns of global land-use intensification in the 20th century:

Kastner, T., Matej, S., Forrest, M., Gingrich, S., Haberl, H., Hickler, T., Krausmann, F., Lasslop, G., Niedertscheider, M., Plutzar, C., Schwarzmüller, F., Steinkamp, J., Erb, K., 2021. Land use intensification increasingly drives the spatiotemporal patterns of the global human appropriation of net primary production in the last century. Global Change Biology gcb.15932. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15932

We use the HANPP framework to consistently quantify and map global changes in land-use intensity in five land-use categories in 1910-2010. We find that land-use intensification was the most important driver of HANPP globally, increasing over time in all biomes. The research highlights the relevance of land-use intensity in global land system change and provides the empirical basis for further analyses.

19.10.21: New paper on the drivers of global forest change:

Le Noë, J., Erb, KH., Matej, S., Magerl, A., Bhan, M., Gingrich, S.: Altered growth conditions more than reforestation counteracted forest biomass carbon emissions 1990-2020. Nature Communications 12, 6075 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-26398-2

By applying the CRAFT model to data from the global Forest Resource Assessment, we quantify the effects of varying drivers of forest change on global forest C dynamics. We show that the major driver of emissions is deforestation in the global tropics, and the most important counteracting driver is an increase in the forest growth rates in temperate and boreal zones.     

18.10.21: How does agricultural trade impact land systems?

In a review with some empirical elements, an international group of researchers led by Thomas Kastner at SBiK-F explores some of the heterogeneous sustainability implications of agricultural trade across products and regions, with a HEFT contribution by Simone Gingrich:  

Kastner, T., Chaudhary, A., Gingrich, S., Marques, A., Persson, U.M., Bidoglio, G., Le Provost, G., Schwarzmüller, F., 2021. Global agricultural trade and land system sustainability: Implications for ecosystem carbon storage, biodiversity, and human nutrition. One Earth. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.oneear.2021.09.006

30.09.21: New insights on the connections between long-term dynamics of forest carbon, ecosystem services provision and resource use in the United States:

Magerl, A., Matej, S., Kaufmann, L., Noë, J.L., Erb, K., Gingrich, S., 2022. Forest carbon sink in the U.S. (1870–2012) driven by substitution of forest ecosystem service flows. Resources, Conservation and Recycling 176, 105927. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resconrec.2021.105927

We show that the increase in forest biomass stocks was connected to substitution of forest ecosystem services with fossil fuel-based production systems.

25.8.21: Read our newest publication on forest transitions as political processes:

Pichler, M., Schmid, M. & Gingrich, S.: Mechanisms to exclude local people from forests: Shifting power relations in forest transitions. Ambio (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-021-01613-y 

Combining political ecology and environmental history, we unravel shifting power relations in the course of forest transitions: Drawing on qualitative evidence for Austria in the 19th century and Lao PDR in the 21st century, we show that forest transitions are accompanied by the exclusion of local people and their multifunctional forest uses. Forest transitions are thus conceptualized as a "socio-ecological simplification" of forests.

22.7.21: A new read for your summer vacation, especially if you are interested in agroforestry:

Bertsch-Hoermann, B., Egger, C., Gaube, V., Gingrich, S., 2021. Agroforestry trade-offs between biomass provision and aboveground carbon sequestration in the alpine Eisenwurzen region, Austria. Regional Environmental Change 21, 77. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10113-021-01794-y

The study finds that there are significant trade-offs between C sequestration and harvest in more productive parts of the region, but conclude that silvoarable agroforestry systems could substantially contribute to climate-change mitigation, particularly on extensively used grasslands. Congratulations to Bastian for publishing the research of his master thesis in the topical collection on Trajectories of socio-ecological change in mountains!

30.6.2021: Another publication: Simone Gingrich, Christian Lauk, Fridolin Krausmann, Karlheinz Erb and Julia Le Noë use a counterfactual approach to quantify the relative effects of diverging biophysical drivers on forest change in Austria in 1830-1910. It turns out energy and livestock changes were equally important as other, more commonly addressed drivers agricultural intensification and trade. Read the paper here:

Gingrich, S., Lauk, C., Krausmann, F., Erb, K.-H., Le Noë, J., 2021. Changes in energy and livestock systems largely explain the forest transition in Austria (1830–1910). Land Use Policy 109, 105624. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2021.105624 

28.6.2021: New publication out: Melanie Pichler and Micah Ingalls from the Center for Development and Environment of University of Bern wrote a paper on the power and politics of forest transitions, based on their research conducted in Lao PDR. They argue that while tree plantations and REDD+ gain importance to modernize extractivist activities, livelihoods-based approaches should figure more prominently in forest politics. Read more here:

Pichler, M., Ingalls, M., 2021. Negotiating between forest conversion, industrial tree plantations and multifunctional landscapes. Power and politics in forest transitions. Geoforum S0016718521001792. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2021.06.012

21.6.2021: New publication out: Julia Le Noë and Simone Gingrich contributed to a collective effort towards quantifying the potentials for sustainable food provision in Europe. A scenario considering 1) dietary changes & efficient recycling of human excreta 2) generalizing region-specific organic crop rotations 3) reconnecting livestock with crop systems can halve current reactive N losses while feeding the EU population in 2050.

Billen, G., Aguilera, E., Einarsson, R., Garnier, J., Gingrich, S., Grizzetti, B., Lassaletta, L., Le Noë, J., Sanz-Cobena, A., 2021. Reshaping the European agro-food system and closing its nitrogen cycle: The potential of combining dietary change, agroecology, and circularity. One Earth 4, 839–850. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.oneear.2021.05.008

14.6.2021: Another year has passed: looking back and ahead at our annual HEFT project meeting. It's hard to believe that we have already passed half-time. Many great ideas remain to be explored.

27-28.5.2021: Strong HEFT participation at the workshop „Contested Society-Nature-Relations. Forest related Emotions, Practices and Conflicts in Times of Societal Change“ hosted by FSU Jena (via zoom): Here, Sonja Bauernschuster presents her work on "Discursive and biophysical dimensions of forest use in Laos" as part of a session chaired (and captured) by Manan Bhan. Manan Bhan presents his research "What changes when a ‘forest’ changes? A perspective on the utility of 20th century FAO assessments for global forest change analyses" in a later session.

For the full program, see here 

26.5.2021: We are pleased to welcome Léonore Darrobers, our new student collaborator. Over the summer, Léonore will work with us on 20th century international trade with agricultural and forest products in the United States.

We look forward to the collaboration!

20.-21.5.2021: Martin Schmid and Simone Gingrich are participating in the second part of the workshop series "Exploiting Nature, Making an Empire. Natural Resource Extraction in the Late Habsburg Empire" hosted by Iva Lučić and Jawad Daheur.

Two days of exciting interdisciplinary exchange ahead!

10.5.2021: HEFT exchanged with the Department of Ecology at Innsbruck University: Simone Gingrich presented HEFT research in the "Ökologisches Kolloquium" in her talk "Forest recovery and industrialization: resources, ecosystems, and politics", as part of an exciting lecture series


6.5.2021: Kicking off the collaboration with Geoff Cunfer and Cody Yuskiw at University of Saskatchewan: Over the next months, we will look into 20th century newspaper articles to learn about vegetation fires and fire suppression in the South of the United States.

We are very much looking forward!

5.5.2021: Simone Gingrich presented HEFT results in the course "Un balance del metabolismo social. Métodos, estudios de caso y perspectivas futuras" at Universidad de Granada. Inspiring exchange on the possibilities to learn from the past to shape a just and sustainable future.

More extremely interesting sessions in spanish and english in the days and weeks to come!

4.5.2021: International exchange in (still) pandemic times: Manan Bhan has taken up work in Belgium where he will stay for three months to collaborate with colleagues at UC Louvain.

Have a good time there, Manan!

21.4.2021: Internal exchange, still under restrictions: Manan Bhan is presenting his review of consumption-based accounting approaches to quantify FOLU emissions in the Social Ecology Research Seminar.

9.3.2021: How to link political ecology (or qualitative social science approaches, more generally) with biophysical analyses on land and energy use? Highly fruitful exchange on very diverse research ongoing in the HEFT and reFUEL projects. To be continued!

4.3.2021: New paper: Bhan, M., Gingrich, S., Roux, N., Le Noë, J., Kastner, T., Matej, S., Schwarzmueller, F., Erb, K.-H., 2021. Quantifying and attributing land use-induced carbon emissions to biomass consumption: A critical assessment of existing approaches. Journal of Environmental Management 286, 112228. doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2021.112228

Based on a critical review of existing methodological approaches, we identify major research frontiers in consumption-based land-use emissions accounting: (1) overcoming structural biases to address land-use legacies, (2) explicitly tackling both proximate causes and ultimate drivers of land-use change, and (3) understanding the effects of land management. 

Fruitful collaboration with SBiK-F in Frankfurt! 

7.2.2021: The EU commission is updating its regulation for climate mitigation measures in the LULUCF sector, and engaged in a public consultation. Nicolas Roux, Manan Bhan and Andreas Magerl have contributed a statement, recommending, among others, that the no-debit emissions accounting rule shoud be amended to a net carbon sink rule.

Read their full statement here!

20.1.2021: Fantastic news: Manan Bhan was awarded with a Marietta-Blau scholarship by the Austrian Ministry of Education, Science and Research to conduct nine months of forest transitions research in Belgium and collaborate with his co-supervisor Patrick Meyfroidt at UC Louvain.

Congratulations, Manan!

18.1.2021: We are happy to host John Alexander Urrego Mesa from Universitat de Barcelona! For the next three months, he will finalize his PhD research on land-use change in Colombia. We look forward to learning about his work and exchanging ideas about land use, biomass trade and conflicts.

Welcome, Alex!  

2.1.2021: Another publication to kick off the new year, online first: 

Le Noë, J., Erb, K.-H., Matej, S., Magerl, A., Bhan, M., Gingrich, S., 2021. Socio-ecological drivers of long-term ecosystem carbon stock trend: An assessment with the LUCCA model of the French case. Anthropocene 33, 100275. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ancene.2020.100275

The new dynamic model LUCCA (Land Use Change & Conversion Accounting) quantifies the dynamics of carbon stocks and fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems and shows that in France since 1850, land-use intensity change was the more important driver for ecosystem carbon accumulation than land conversion. 

22.12.2020: And a very last publication this year (in German): 

Gingrich, S., Güldner, D., Schmid, M. (2020): Eine sozial-ökologische Interpretation der „Forest Transition“ in den österreichischen Alpenländern des 19. Jahrhunderts. In: Schanbacher, A. (Ed): Ressourcen in historischer Perspektive. Landschaft, Literatur und Nachhaltigkeit. Universitätsverlag Göttingen. 117-146.

Glad to have contributed to this interdisciplinary environmental history effort discussing resources and resource use in history from various perspectives, an outcome of a workshop in Göttingen last year. The entire book is available online here

18.12.2020: Last publication of the year: 

Scheidel, A., Gingrich, S., 2020. Toward sustainable and just forest recovery: research gaps and potentials for knowledge integration. One Earth 3, 680–690. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.oneear.2020.11.005

Arnim and Simone investigate the research frontiers of land system science and political ecology to identify areas of knowledge integration in the study of ecologically sustainable and socially just forest recovery.

13.12.2020: Physical distance is not social distance: A safe HEFT gathering towards the end of the year to say good-bye to Julia Le Noë.

Thank you Julia for contributing so importantly to our project and our group in the past two years. We are happy to continue the collaboration with you, and wish you all the best for your next endeavours!

2.12.2020: New paper out:

Pichler, M., Bhan, M., Gingrich, S.: "The social and ecological costs of reforestation. Territorialization and industrialization of land use accompany forest transitions in Southeast Asia" Land Use Policy https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2020.105180 - open access!

We link qualitative perspectives from political ecology with quantitative methods from sustainability sciences to analyze unintended social and ecological side effects of forest transitions across Southeast Asia, including the marginalization of shifting cultivators and the increase of fossil energy use.

1.12.2020: Experimenting with more online conference formats: Manan Bhan is presenting a poster on "Characterizing land use impacts on carbon stocks and tree cover in the tropics" at the AGU fall meeting 2020.

Check out the virtual poster and Manan's voice-over here!

20.11.2020: Simone Gingrich kicked off the ELLS scientific student conference held at BOKU (virtually) Nov. 20-21 with her keynote on "Land use and sustainability: lessons from the past and challenges for the future". HEFT content reached more than 100 young people from all over the world (and was turned into a cool graphic recording (c) chartflipper.de)!

19.11.2020: Engaging with environmental history of forests: Martin Schmid and Simone Gingrich presented ongoing research at the virtual workshop "Natural Resource Exploitation in Late Habsburg Empire", organized by Iva Lučić and Jawad Daheur. Their talk was titled "State versus Peasants? The Forest Transition in Late Habsburg Austria".

Valuable discussions about similarities and differences of forest use and management across Central Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries!   

17.11.2020: Continuing the exchange under adverse conditions: Sonja Bauernschuster presented her paper on "Discursive and biophysical dimensions of land sparing in Lao PDR" to a group of students and colleagues from the Institute of Social Ecology.

We look forward to seeing this innovative work published soon!  

27.10.2020: Manan Bhan contributed to HEFT's first Twitter conference, the FLARE Network Twitter conference on "Reimagining Forests and Livelihoods in Turbulent Times". The full title of his presentation is "Quantifying and attributing land use-induced emissions to biomass consumption: a critical assessment of existing approaches". Read a whole lot of intricate methodological knowledge embodied in one entertaining tweet !

09.10.2020: For German speakers: Simone Gingrich talks about social ecology, BOKU and the HEFT project in a video portrait at the virtual event "Lange Nacht der Forschung 2020".

Watch the video here

24.09.2020: Today, Sonja Bauernschuster and Melanie Pichler had presentations at the POLLEN20 online conference "Contested Natures", in the session on "Contested green developmentalism. Examples from Lao PDR", chaired by Melanie Pichler. Both presented insights from their research stays in Laos during the last year. Sonja's talk was on "Hidden Emissions behind the Politics of Nature and Resource Control in Lao PDR", and Melanie spoke on "Encroaching on the forests. Competing development projects in times of climate change in Laos". 

16.09.2020: Another online conference: Andreas Magerl virtually visited Moscow, participating in the 1st International conference «Landscape Science and Landscape Ecology: Considering Responses to Global Challenges» hosted by IALE-Russia and Lomonosov Moscow State University. His presentation was on "Forest, Agriculture and Ecosystem Services. A socio-metabolic perspective on the United States Forest Transition, 1870-2012".

01.09.2020: We have a new HEFT-member! Bastian Bertsch-Hörmann is now working with HEFT to study agroforestry systems and their synergy potential for carbon sequestration and biomass production. Welcome Bastian, we look forward to the collaboration!

20.08.2020: Participating in an international scientific conference from her desk: Sonja Bauernschuster presented intermediate results from her PhD research at the IST2020 online conference:

Bauernschuster, S., Gingrich, S., Pichler, M.: The nexus between climate change mitigation and economic development in Laos.

15.6.2020: Our annual project meeting 2020 was cooler and more physically distant than last year's, but equally (or even more?) productive. Lots of great exchange! The social part (dinner and/or drinks) will have to follow another time.

10.6.2020: Still working remotely, Andreas Magerl presented his ongoing research on the changing ecosystem services provided by United States forests since the late 19th century in the Institute of Social Ecology's research seminar. Great presentation, lively discussions, and important feedback. Stay tuned for an exciting upcoming publication!

25.03.2020: Good news in difficult times: We published a new paper on the Phosphorous legacy in French agricultural land and its implications for an agroecological transition! Open access, online first:

Le Noë, J., Roux, N., Billen, G.F., Gingrich, S., Erb, K., Krausmann, F., Thieu, V., Silvestre, M., Garnier, J., 2020. The phosphorus legacy offers opportunities for agro ecological transition (France 1850-2075). Environmental Research Letters https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/ab82cc

23.03.2020: And now, Melanie Pichler also made it back home safely from Laos. We're very happy to welcome you back, Melanie, albeit virtually and from a physical distance.

20.03.2020: We are happy that Sonja Bauernschuster returned safely to Vienna. Welcome back! A pity she had to end her research stay in Laos early, due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The collaboration with partners and colleagues in Laos will continue remotely.

19.03.2020: Working under exceptional circumstances: today we had a HEFT project meeting virtually, all of us being at home to reduce risk of COVID-19 contagion. We agreed that during these times, work is very different. Things advance slowlier as personal and professional lives mix. Let's be mindful and patient about this, and who knows, possibly some unusually creative results could arise from these extraordinary working conditions.

06.03.2020: A warm welcome to Arnim Scheidel, visiting the HEFT team from ICTA, Barcelona, this week. We are having a great time, pondering the potentials for interdisciplinary knowledge integration to work towards forest recovery that is both ecologically sustainable and socially just. Thanks for coming to Vienna and for sharing your ideas, Arnim!

03.03.2020: Simone Gingrich presented approaches and intermediate results from the HEFT project in a Tuesday Colloquium at the Konrad Lorenz Institute in Klosterneuburg. Her talk was followed by inspiring discussions and a pleasant dinner at a fantastic location. We look forward to continuing the exchange with KLI!

27.02.2020: HEFT goes Innsbruck: Simone Gingrich and Andreas Magerl attended two meetings at University of Innsbruck. Andreas joined the "DissertantInnen-Tagung Wirtschafts-, Sozial- und Umweltgeschichte" to engage with economic, social and environmental historians from all over Austria, and Simone visited the conference "Historic cadastres in Europe: source material and state of research" to learn more about cadastral records and discuss their utility for long-term socio-ecological research.

11.02.2020: Sonja Bauernschuster and Melanie Pichler are back to Laos. For three and two months, respectively, Sonja and Melanie will be advancing their HEFT work in and around Vientiane at National University of Laos and Centre for Development and Environment (University of Bern), conducting field research and discussing with project partners, friends, colleagues and experts. We wish you a productive stay!

21.01.2020: Here it is, online first: Le Noë, J., Matej, S., Magerl, A., Bhan, M., Erb, K., Gingrich, S., 2020: Modelling and empirical validation of long‐term carbon sequestration in forests (France, 1850‐2015). Global Change Biolology gcb.15004. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15004 

Julia Le Noë et al. introduce the CRAFT model that quantifies (1) forest biomass C using input data of forest area and wood harvest, building on NPP : biomass ratios and (2) forest SOC. The model opens lots of new ground to assess long-term forest C change and investigate the effects of land use, land management and environmental change.

19.12.2019: Last HEFT presentation this year: Simone Gingrich introduced the project at the Austrian Academy of Sciences' Commission of interdisciplinary ecological studies today. Lots of great interdisciplinary feedback! 

18.12.2019: A day after resubmitting the revised manuscript, Julia Le Noë presented a newly developed model to assess forest carbon change in the course of forest transitions in the Institute of Social Ecology's research seminar. Expect the respective publication soon: Le Noë, J., Matej, S., Magerl, A., Bhan, M., Erb, K.-H., Gingrich, S.: "Modelling and empirical validation of carbon stock accumulation during the forest transition in France 1850-2015".

5.12.2019: Simone Gingrich defended her habilitation thesis in Social Ecology titled "The shifting sustainability problems of land use during industrialization. A socio-ecological perspective". Congratulations!

2.12.2019: New publication: Andreas Magerl and colleagues show that the 20th century forest transition in the United States was mostly the result of vegetation thickening in the Eastern part of the country, and important further sequestration potentials prevail.

Magerl, A., Le Noë, J., Erb, K., Bhan, M., Gingrich, S., 2019. A comprehensive data-based assessment of forest ecosystem carbon stocks in the U.S. 1907-2012. Environmental Research Letters. doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/ab5cb6

27.11.2019: A preview into a manuscript currently under review: Melanie Pichler presenting research on forest transitions in Southeast Asia in the Institute of Social Ecology's research seminar. The respective manuscript by Melanie Pichler, Manan Bhan and Simone Gingrich is titled "The social and environmental costs of reforestation. Territorialization and industrialization of land use accompany forest transitions in Southeast Asia".

21.11.2019: "Tree-planting has enormous potential but significant socio-ecological challenges for climate action"

Read a comment by Manan Bhan in First Post on the recent publication by Bastin et al. in Science on the global tree restoration potential, its criticisms and its implications for tree-planting in India!

7.11.-12.11.2019: Sonja Bauernschuster, Melanie Pichler and Simone Gingrich travelled on to Vientiane to meet with project partners and friends at National University of Laos, discuss their research with colleagues and experts, and prepare for longer research stays. Thanks in particular to Sithong Thongmanivong (NUoL) for his support and hospitality!

4.11.-6.11.2019: In the first part of their research trip, Sonja Bauernschuster, Melanie Pichler and Simone Gingrich visited colleagues in Bangkok at Chulalongkorn University and Stockholm Environment Institute to present the HEFT project and discuss further field research in Southeast Asia. Thanks to Clemens Grünbühel (SEI) for hosting us!

21.10.2019: Manan Bhan published an article in the online news portal 'Youth Ki Awaaz' (The Voice of the Youth), reflecting on the ecosystem impacts of coffee production and the need for an increased consumer responsibility towards it. A sneak peek into his ongoing research!

16.-17.10.2019: Simone Gingrich presented some Austrian environmental history at the final workshop of the research project "Nachhaltigkeit als Argument" at Georg-August Universität Göttingen, Germany. Her talk, co-authored by Martin Schmid and Dino Güldner, linked biophysical and societal changes related to Austrian forest resource use in the 19th century. An edited volume with this and more research from the workshop is in progress!

10.-13.9.2019: Julia Le Noe represented HEFT at the fourth biennial conference of the European Rural History Organisation (EURHO) in Paris. In her talk "Changes in rural environment and livelihood conditions following forest and energy transition in France (1830-1900): A socio-ecological perspective" she jointly investigated changes in forest carbon and the occurrence of forestry crimes.

26.8.2019: We presented HEFT project results at the conference of the European Society of Environmental History in Tallinn, Estonia, from Aug. 21-25, 2019. This was before our session on "Socio-ecological perspectives on forest transitions" with presentations by Andreas Magerl, Julia Le Noe and Simone Gingrich, see full program.

Foto: HEFT Forschungsgruppe

26.6.2019: Looking back at the first project year, taking a deep breath, and looking ahead at what we will do next year. It has been an inspirational, productive and pleasant anniversary meeting. 

Thanks to the entire team!

16.5.2019: New review paper out! We introduce the idea of hidden emissions of forest transitions, discuss how current literature adresses the processes causing them, and identify relevant contexts for informing effective and just climate-change mitigation policies. 
Gingrich, S., Lauk, C., Niedertscheider, M., Pichler, M., Schaffartzik, A., Schmid, M., Magerl, A., Le Noë, J., Bhan, M., Erb, K., 2019. Hidden emissions of forest transitions: a socio-ecological reading of forest change. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 38, 14–21. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cosust.2019.04.005

Foto: Stadt mit blauem Himmel

24.-26.4.2019: Manan Bhan, Karlheinz Erb, Simone Gingrich, Christian Lauk and Anke Schaffartzik attended the Global Land Programme's Open Science Meeting in Bern, Switzerland. It was a unique opportunity to present intermediate project results and discuss drivers, dynamics and GHG effects of land-use change at different spatio-temporal scales.

23.1.2019: Manan Bhan contributed his ideas in two comments to the consultation of the EU commission's initiative to combat deforestation, protect forests and promote sustainable supply chains. See comments by Manan Bhan See comments by Nicolas Roux, Louise Marie Busck Lumholt, Tiago Reis and Manan Bhan

21.1.2019: Simone Gingrich and the HEFT project were portrayed in the Viennese Periodical "Wiener Bezirksblätter" (in German): "Mehr Wald für den Klimaschutz"

29.11.2018: “Carbon dynamics in French cropland: a bio-political history”
Presentation by Julia Le Noe in ZUG Minisymposium 

6.11.2018: „Nachhaltigkeit im ländlichen Raum: eine sozial-ökologische Langzeitperspektive“
Presentation by Simone Gingrich at Rural History Forum (in German)  

14.9.2018: „Mehr Wohlstand, mehr Wald, mehr Klimaschutz?“
Blog entry in JA_Blog in derstandard.at (in German)  

14.9.2018: „Versteckte Emissionen“
Portrait of Simone Gingrich in „Junge Forschung“ Series in diepresse.at (in German)