Christine B. Schmitt

Christine B. Schmitt
Universität Passau · Department of Geography

Prof. Dr.

About

88
Publications
60,879
Reads
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2,166
Citations
Introduction
I am a Landscape Ecologist specialized in Vegetation Geography and with experience in international policy deliberation. My goal is to evaluate the interactions between the natural environment, human resource use and recent environmental change to support the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and natural resources. One focus of my research is on how climate and land use change affect biodiversity and ecosystem services of tropical and temperate forests and forest landscapes.
Additional affiliations
April 2021 - present
Universität Passau
Position
  • Professor
November 2019 - December 2019
University of Melbourne
Position
  • Guest Researcher
April 2015 - December 2020
University of Bonn
Position
  • Senior Researcher
Education
February 2003 - January 2005
Addis Ababa University
Field of study
  • Botany
October 2002 - June 2006
University of Bonn
Field of study
  • Geography
September 1995 - July 1996
Bangor University
Field of study
  • Environmental Sciences

Publications

Publications (88)
Article
Full-text available
Understanding leaf litter decomposition dynamics is imperative owing to nutrient release rates and synchronization. The emphasis is to sustainably manage agroforestry system and ensure environmental integrity. Therefore, this study aimed at determining the decomposition and nutrient release of leaves of different bamboo species (Oxytenanthera abyss...
Article
The European Union aims to increase the extent of strictly protected areas, including wilderness areas. However, operationalizing this goal in densely populated Central European member states like Germany, that consists almost entirely of cultural landscapes and will need to rely largely on secondary wilderness areas, is challenging. Anthropogenic...
Article
Full-text available
Tropical forests store 40-50% of terrestrial vegetation carbon. Spatial variations in aboveground live tree biomass carbon (AGC) stocks remain poorly understood, in particular in tropical montane forests. Because of climatic and soil changes with increasing elevation, AGC stocks are lower in tropical montane compared to lowland forests. Here we ass...
Article
Full-text available
Tropical forests store 40–50 per cent of terrestrial vegetation carbon1. However, spatial variations in aboveground live tree biomass carbon (AGC) stocks remain poorly understood, in particular in tropical montane forests2. Owing to climatic and soil changes with increasing elevation3, AGC stocks are lower in tropical montane forests compared with...
Article
The idea that tropical forest and savanna are alternative states is crucial to how we manage these biomes and predict their future under global change. Large-scale empirical evidence for alternative stable states is limited, however, and comes mostly from the multimodal distribution of structural aspects of vegetation. These approaches have been cr...
Preprint
Full-text available
11 Natural disturbances are largely suppressed in Central European landscapes due to economic and human safety 12 concerns. European goals to increase the extent of secondary wilderness areas have the potential to support the 13 restoration of threatened habitats associated with natural disturbances. Germany is among the Central European 14 countri...
Article
Natural disturbances are largely suppressed in Central European landscapes due to economic and human safety concerns. European goals to increase the extent of secondary wilderness areas have the potential to support the restoration of threatened habitats associated with natural disturbances. Germany is among the Central European countries with the...
Article
Full-text available
The success of nature conservation strongly depends on the attitudes and awareness of people, as well as on the level of poverty, land scarcity, communication gaps, and governance structures. In this commentary we elaborate potential effects of inter-community differences on peoples´ attitudes towards nature conservation and the role of land manage...
Article
The idea that tropical forest and savanna are alternative states is crucial to how we manage these biomes and predict their future under global change. Large-scale empirical evidence for alternative stable states is limited, however, and comes mostly from the multimodal distribution of structural aspects of vegetation. These approaches have been cr...
Article
Full-text available
In the quest to promote bamboo agroforestry in the dry semi-deciduous forest zone of Ghana, we evaluated changes in soil properties, crop productivity and the economic potential of a bamboo-based intercropping system. The intercropping system was established from 3-months old sympodial bamboo (Bambusa balcooa) seedlings planted at a 5 m × 5 m spaci...
Article
Full-text available
Aim Palms are an iconic, diverse and often abundant component of tropical ecosystems that provide many ecosystem services. Being monocots, tree palms are evolutionarily, morphologically and physiologically distinct from other trees, and these differences have important consequences for ecosystem services (e.g., carbon sequestration and storage) and...
Article
Full-text available
Aim: Palms are an iconic, diverse and often abundant component of tropical ecosystems that provide many ecosystem services. Being monocots, tree palms are evolutionarily, morphologically and physiologically distinct from other trees, and these differences have important consequences for ecosystem services (e.g., carbon sequestration and storage) an...
Article
To promote bamboo use for charcoal production, environmental impacts and financial profitability of producing 1 MJ energy of charcoal from bamboo - Bambusa balcooa in comparison with two commonly used local species - Anogeissus leiocarpus and Senna siamea were analyzed. Environmental impacts were assessed using the life cycle analytical (LCA) appro...
Article
Full-text available
In the quest to promote bamboo agro-forestry in the dry semi-deciduous forest zone of Ghana, we evaluated changes in soil properties, crop productivity and the economic potential of a bamboo-based intercropping system. The intercropping system was established from 3-months old sympodial bamboo (Bambusa balcooa) seedlings planted at a 5 m95 m spacin...
Research
Full-text available
One would not have expected a vicious virus causing a respiratory disease to discriminate in its life-threatening passage. Yet, according to conventional wisdom, inequalities are revealed when disaster or crisis strike. Moreover, misfortunes do not happen in a social vacuum, but find different expressions in specific contexts and groups of people....
Book
Full-text available
The bioeconomy concept has the aim of adding sustainability to the production, transformation and trade of biological goods. Though taken up throughout the world, the development of national bioeconomies is uneven, especially in the global South, where major challenges exist in Sub-Saharan Africa with respect to implementation. This special issue...
Article
Full-text available
The bioeconomy concept has the aim of adding sustainability to the production, transformation and trade of biological goods. Though taken up throughout the world, the development of national bioeconomies is uneven, especially in the global South, where major challenges exist in Sub-Saharan Africa with respect to implementation. The BiomassWeb proje...
Article
Full-text available
Habitat destruction and deterioration are amongst the main drivers of biodiversity loss. Increasing demand for agricultural products, timber and charcoal has caused the rapid destruction of natural forests, especially in the tropics. The Taita Hills in southern Kenya are part of the Eastern Afromontane Biodiversity Hotspot and represent a highly di...
Experiment Findings
Full-text available
Workshop report - Strategies for ecosystem and species conservation: Exploring lessons learnt from Australia and Africa, Charles Darwin University (CDU), Australia, 18-22 November 2019
Article
Full-text available
Bastin et al .’s estimate (Reports, 5 July 2019, p. 76) that tree planting for climate change mitigation could sequester 205 gigatonnes of carbon is approximately five times too large. Their analysis inflated soil organic carbon gains, failed to safeguard against warming from trees at high latitudes and elevations, and considered afforestation of s...
Article
Full-text available
Developing countries that implement the Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) mechanism under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change are required to ensure the effective participation of all stakeholders including indigenous peoples and local communities. Community-based monitoring (CBM) of REDD+ pr...
Poster
Full-text available
African mountains vary considerably in their geological age and origin, size, spatial isolation and climate. These differences affect the floristic composition of Tropical Mountain Forests (TMFs) in Africa, which harbor high levels of endemism both at mountain resolution and across groups of mountains. TMFs are under threat from human activities, a...
Article
Full-text available
Forest degradation is an environmental problem that falls in the domains of different disciplines. Therefore, it is necessary to tackle this issue from a multidisciplinary perspective to support the design of appropriate forest monitoring systems and policies. The overall goal of this study was to combine remote sensing (RS) and ecosystem services...
Article
Riparian forests in tropical drylands support high biodiversity and provide crucial ecosystem services. Yet, fertile soil, water availability and trees as a source of charcoal and timber make them a favourable place for settlements and subsistence agriculture. The present study aimed at evaluating the floristic diversity of riparian forest remnants...
Article
Aim In tropical Africa, savannas cover huge areas, have high plant species richness and are considered as a major natural resource for most countries. There is, however, little information available on their floristics and biogeography at the continental scale, despite the importance of such information for our understanding of the drivers of speci...
Research
The Taita Hills, located in southeastern Kenya, comprise several mountain chains that rise dramatically from the savannah lowlands up to 2,228 m above sea level. It’s an amazing biodiversity hotspot. I led a vegetation survey in the Taita Forests in August 2018. For more information and first results, see: http://blog.zef.de/?p=3474
Article
Full-text available
Knowledge about the biogeographic affinities of the world’s tropical forests helps to better understand regional differences in forest structure, diversity, composition, and dynamics. Such understanding will enable anticipation of region-specific responses to global environmental change. Modern phylogenies, in combination with broad coverage of spe...
Research
http://science.sciencemag.org/content/356/6338/635/tab-e-letters In their report “The extent of forest in dryland biomes” (12 May 2017, p. 635), J.-F. Bastin and colleagues identified 1079 million hectares of forest in global dryland biomes based on very high spatial resolution (VHR) images. Forest was defined as “land spanning an area of more tha...
Article
Full-text available
This study explores the use of TerraSAR-X (X-Band) and Sentinel-1 (C-Band) SAR data for detecting degraded forests and deforestation in the Sumaco Biosphere Reserve, Ecuador. The study area shows a complex topography and permanent cloud cover, which complicates forest monitoring from optical remote sensing. Thresholds of canopy cover for degraded f...
Poster
Full-text available
Deforestation, forest degradation and the related decline in biodiversity continue to be major issues in tropical countries. In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), the drivers of deforestation come mostly from outside the forestry sector. For example, natural forests are under pressure from smallholder cultivation practices and charcoal production for everyd...
Article
Full-text available
The PREDICTS project—Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems (www.predicts.org.uk)—has collated from published studies a large, reasonably representative database of comparable samples of biodiversity from multiple sites that differ in the nature or intensity of human impacts relating to land use. We have used t...
Data
The PREDICTS project—Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems (www.predicts.org.uk)—has collated from published studies a large, reasonably representative database of comparable samples of biodiversity from multiple sites that differ in the nature or intensity of human impacts relating to land use. We have used t...
Article
This study explores the use of TerraSAR-X (X-Band) and Sentinel-1 (C-Band) SAR data for detecting degraded forests and deforestation in the Sumaco Biosphere Reserve, Ecuador. The study area shows a complex topography and permanent cloud cover, which complicates forest monitoring from optical remote sensing. Thresholds of canopy cover for degraded f...
Article
Full-text available
Diversity patterns of vascular plant species were studied along geographical gradients in the Afromontane regions of Ethiopia. Vegetation data were sampled from five moist evergreen Afromontane forest fragments, namely Harenna (southeast), Bonga, Maji, Berhane-Kontir and Yayu (southwest). In each forest, quadrats of 20x20 m were laid along transect...
Chapter
This chapter evaluates the global distribution of biodiversity in forests in terms of species and ecosystems. In particular, global ecosystem classification systems are discussed and patterns of species diversity analysed. The availability of global species data has been increasing, especially due to the IUCN Red List initiative and other online da...
Article
Full-text available
The high species richness of tropical forests has long been recognized, yet there remains substantial uncertainty regarding the actual number of tropical tree species. Using a pantropical tree inventory database from closed canopy forests, consisting of 657,630 trees belonging to 11,371 species, we use a fitted value of Fisher’s alpha and an approx...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The Democratic Republic of Congo (D.R.Congo) has a forest area estimated at about 155 million hectares, which represents up to 61% of the entire Congo Basin forest area. More than 70% of the population of the country depend on forests for their survival and livelihoods. Through the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+...
Article
Full-text available
The high species richness of tropical forests has long been recognized, yet there remains substantial uncertainty regarding the actual number of tropical tree species. Using a pantropical tree inventory database from closed canopy forests, consisting of 657,630 trees belonging to 11,371 species, we use a fitted value of Fisher's alpha and an approx...
Article
Full-text available
The PREDICTS project—Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems (www.predicts.org.uk)—has collated from published studies a large, reasonably representative database of comparable samples of biodiversity from multiple sites that differ in the nature or intensity of human impacts relating to land use. We have used t...
Article
Full-text available
Activities related to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+) bear potential benefits for, and also pose risks to, the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services (ES). Next to ecological, socioeconomic and technical factors, the priorities of key actors in REDD+ implementation shape the...
Conference Paper
The Ethiopian moist montane forests host high species diversity and are likely to be strongly affected by climate change, as are tropical mountain forest ecosystems worldwide. It is difficult, however, to estimate the impacts of a changing climate on tropical plant species because their specific environmental requirements are often only incompletel...
Article
Full-text available
The climate change mitigation mechanism Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in developing countries (REDD+) is currently being negotiated under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Integrating biodiversity monitoring into REDD+ facilitates compliance with the safeguards stipulated by the UNFCC...
Article
Full-text available
For REDD+ to achieve synergies between climate and biodiversity objectives, the complex spatial pattern of forest biodiversity needs to be considered. Data on forest cover and species diversity in tropical and subtropical forest types could serve as biodiversity indicators for REDD+ on the global scale. The evaluation of existing global ecological...
Article
Full-text available
Although synergies between reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+) and biodiversity conservation are generally expected, they will not be achieved through poorly designed REDD+ schemes. Perceptions of actors in REDD+ implementation processes can guide the design of appropriate policies. Semi-stru...
Conference Paper
The current rates of tropical deforestation and forest degradation cause not only a loss of biodiversity but also high emissions of greenhouse gases, and have gained much attention at the international policy level, e.g., under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Global initiati...
Chapter
Full-text available
full report available at: http://www.iufro.org/science/gfep/biodiv-forman-redd-panel/report/
Article
Full-text available
Questions How are plant species distribution patterns in tropical montane forest linked to altitude, regional climate and geographic location? Which climatic variables are most important in explaining variations in floristic diversity? What are potential effects of climate change on species diversity? Location Ethiopia. Methods Vegetation surveys...
Article
Full-text available
The UNFCCC mechanism for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation in developing coun-tries (REDD+) represents an unprecedented opportunity for the conservation of forest biodiversity. Nev-ertheless, there are widespread concerns surrounding the possibility of negative environmental outcomes if biodiversity is not given adequate conside...
Article
Full-text available
Fuelled by the continuing destruction of forests in developing countries and by the unsatisfactory success of previous efforts to curb these developments, since 2005 the aspired REDD+ mechanism and its implementation under the UNFCCC evolved into one of the major issues in the negotiations on a successor agreement for the Kyoto Protocol. Initially,...