About the Forest Ecology and Forest Management Group

The Forest Ecology and Forest Management Chair Group (FEM) is part of Wageningen University & Research and cooperates with teams of Wageningen Environmental Research (Alterra).

Mission and objectives


Forests comprise the most diverse ecosystems in the world, hosting a substantial part of all living species. Forests also provide a wide variety of essential services to society, ranging from provision of natural resources such as timber, wildlife and other products, to services such as water retention, climate regulation and carbon storage. We believe that forest management is crucial to sustainable use of these services, while at the same time maintaining or restoring overall ecosystem functioning, and ensuring sustainability and preservation of life-support functions. This requires a thorough understanding of the functioning of forest ecosystems, which are complex due to the large numbers of interactions and strong environmental gradients.

Based on understanding of ecosystem structure and functioning, guidelines can be drawn up for sustainable forest management that takes account of the ecosystem’s resilience to disturbances and aims to ensure continued provision of ecosystem services in the long run.

Our mission is to contribute to this by high-quality research in forest ecology and forest management, by capacity-building through PhD and postdoc projects, and by providing advice and raising public awareness on the importance of forests and forest management for society.

Our objectives are to contribute to understanding of structure and functioning of forest ecosystems, and their responses to changing environmental, biotic and social conditions. Furthermore, we aim to apply this knowledge for the development of sustainable forest resource use systems.

We focus on forest ecosystems worldwide, with emphasis on Dutch forestry, European forest resources, and tropical rainforest conservation. Ongoing research includes a.o. partners from most European countries as well as from China, Russia, Indonesia, Eritrea, Cameroun, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Brasil, Chile, Peru, Surinam, Costa Rica, Mexico, US and Canada.

Forest Dynamics