Research of the Forest Ecology and Forest Management Group

The research of the Forest Ecology and Forest Management Group is part of the C.T. de Wit Research School in Production Ecology and Resource Conservation (PE&RC)

Our mission is to understand the growth of trees and forests in relation to site and climate, and to apply this knowledge in support sustainable forest management aimed at provision of ecosystem services.

Our research is both fundamental and applied: we evaluate the ecological consequences of environmental changes onecosystem functioning and on the services forests provide to humans. We seek to determine how forest functioning and services may be restored, sustained or optimized by management that follows ecosystem dynamics. Our research is centered on three main themes.


  1. Ecology of forests in a changing world
  2. Understanding biodiversity and functional diversity in relation to resource gradients
  3. Sustainable supply of forest resources and environmental services


We work at local, regional and national scales and in a wide variety of forestecosystems. Our research approach is to use a combination of field data, statistical analysisof large datasets and mechanistic modelling to increase fundamental understanding of the structure and dynamics of forest ecosystems.

We scale upfrom detailed eco-physiological observations of the individual tree to ecosystems andlandscapes. Our deliberate strategy to study both the ecology andmanagement of forests, and to do so in both tropical and temperate forests allows effective and important collaboration between research disciplines and geographicregions.