Reconstructing (long-term) change of land-cover/habitat structure to assess climate regulation service in DBU national natural heritage areas in Germany

Master thesis by Luis Daniel Hernandez Rodriguez


Protected areas have been established and maintained worldwide for protecting biodiversity and ecosystems, focusing on endangered species and habitat quality, nevertheless, protected areas also have an important function for the supply of regulating ecosystem services and the mitigation of climate change.

Since 2009 DBU National Natural Heritage has been entrusted with the protection of several areas across Germany, putting special attention on the long-term natural forest development, the preservation of anthropogenic open landscapes and maintaining specific habitats.

The historical use as former military areas, the management goals aiming at natural forest development and the banning of harvesting activities, generates an opportunity to explore the benefits of the DBU National Natural Heritage forest ecosystems in the context of climate regulation and carbon storage.

In order to assess the natural heritage and the value of the NNE sites over time, we first need to estimate the historical change in land cover and habitat structure. This then provides a basis to measure ecosystem services. Here we focus on climate regulation services, namely climate regulation through forest.

Roland Krämer

Aim of the Study

The aim of this thesis is to evaluate available historical maps, remote sensing imagery and forest inventory data, to generate long-term land-cover/habitat structure change maps, in order to assess the climate regulation potential of forest (above-ground carbon stocks) in the selected DBU – National Natural Heritage areas in Germany.

The following questions will be answer:

What was the historical land cover change over time on the selected DBU – National Natural Heritage areas?

How has climate regulation potential of NNE forest changed over time, measured as above-ground carbon stocks in the forest on the selected DBU – National Natural Heritage areas?


First results:

About Louis Daniel Hernandez

Research Interests : My research interests are related to Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, focusing on management, conservation, and sustainable use. For this, I started a MSc in Landscape Ecology and Nature Conservation, with special interest on the integration of geographic information systems in development planning, monitoring and assessment of biodiversity and ecosystems.

Scientific career:


2013 – 2015

Regional Autonomous Corporation of Guavio – CORPOGUAVIO, Colombia.
Render Professional services as the Coordinator of the activities from the sub-direction of Environmental Management, with the implementation of the program “Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services”. Coordination of the projects “Ecosystem Planning and Management” and “Biodiversity Management and Conservation”.

2012 – 2013

Regional Autonomous Corporation of Guavio – CORPOGUAVIO, Colombia.
Render Professional services as a biologist to support the activities of the sub-direction of Environmental Management.


2015 Present: MSc Landscape Ecology and Nature Conservation, Greifswald Univertisy, Germany.

2006 – 2012 B.Sc. in Biology, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Colombia.