Interactions between vegetation and its environment shape ecosystems. They influence biodiversity and also the provision of ecosystem services to humans. Our research focuses on two fundamental, interconnected questions:
(1) How do climate and biotic factors affect the diversity of vegetation?
(2) Which effects does vegetation have on its environment, in particular: What role does diversity play for ecosystem services?
To answer these questions, we use an integrated approach that combines field and laboratory experiments with mechanistic, process-based ecosystem models. In this way, we can extrapolate interactions between vegetation and its environment to large spatial regions, up to the global scale. It is also possible to make projections into the future to assess the impact of climate change on vegetation, its diversity and ecosystem services. In particular, we investigate the following research topics: