A W F Projects   |   Prof. Dr. Christoph Kleinn - Dr. Hans Fuchs
Spatiotemporal Variability of Landscape Units and Aboveground Biomass using High-Resolution Space Images: Case Study at Catchment Level in the Tundra of the Yenissej Region in Siberia.


Boreal and arctic ecosystems are of great importance in the global carbon cycle. There is evidence that climate of the arctic has warmed significantly in the last 30 years (Sereeze et al. 2000).

Hinzman et al. 2005 povide a review of indicators for the response of arctic ecosystems to an altered climate: new extreme and seasonal climatic conditions are recorded, later freeze-up and earlier break-up of arctic rivers and lakes mirror increase in air temperatures and altered hydrological and biochemical cycles. Human social systems and subsistence hunting and fishing are being affected.

Permafrost ist one of the main driving factor for tundra vegetation in high latitudes. Climate warming has a great impact especially on permafrost areas because melting of permafrost and the related deepening of the active layer can drastically increase soil organic matter mineralization. Little is known on consequences for carbon and nitrogen fluxes between soil, atmosphere and hydrosphere.

Physiologically based ecosystem process models are important tools to quantify fluxes of carbon and other elements. Research for the integration of remote sensing and environmental data into process models is needed to validate model-based flux estimates on local to regional scale.

 Objectives This study is part of an interdisciplinary research project which adresses carbon and nitrogen fluxes of plant cover and fine scaled landscape units. Our topic is the application of remote sensing and inventory techniques and analyses to assess landcover changes (wetlands, ponds and thermokarst) and disturbance regimes.

We focus on changes in forest area and displacement of treeline because the boundary between tundra and boreal ecosystems may be highly sensitive to changes in temperature. Tundra-forest vegetation, structure and aboveground biomass is examined on field plots and optical very high-resolution space images.

 Working Plan
01/06 – 02/06: Methods of image processing and biomass assessment
03/06 – 07/06: Preprocessing and change assessment
08/06 – 09/06: Field work in the study area
10/06 – 12/06: Statistical analysis and reporting


Field manual will be compiled in May 2006.


Hinzman, L. et al. 2005. Evidence and implications of recent climate change in northern Alaska and other arctic regions. Climatic Change 72: 251-298.

Turner, D.P, Ollinger, S.O., Kimball, J.S. 2004. Integrating remote sensing and ecosystem process models for landscape- to regional-scale analysis of the carbon cycle. Bioscience 54: 573-584.

Serreze et al., L. 2000. Observational evidence of recent change in the northern high latitude environment. Climatic Change 46: 159-207.


A  Institut für Bodenkunde und Pflanzenernährung, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Germany. Prof. Dr. G. Guggenberger (Coordinator).

B  Institut für Bodenkunde und Waldernährung, Universität Göttingen, Germany. PD Dr. H. Flessa (Coordinator).

C  Field Station Igarka of the Permafrost Institute Yakutsk, Russian Federation

D  V.N. Sukachev Institute for Forest, Krasnoyarsk


Prof. Dr. Christoph Kleinn
Institut für Waldinventur und Waldwachstum
Büsgenweg 5
37077 Göttingen
Tel. +49 551 39 3472
HFuchs@gwdg.de and CKleinn@gwdg.de

 Participating Scientists

Dr. Hans Fuchs


DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft)

 Time Frame

January 2006 – December 2006