Project groups


Following the last ice age, when Central Europe was completely deforested, the vegetation changed several times. The common beech (Fagus sylvatica) has only dominated Central European vegetation on well-watered to moderately dry soils over the last 3000 to 4000 years. If current climate change scenarios unfold as predicted, the growth conditions for oaks, which are adapted to dryer soils, will change again. In the South Hesse Oak Project (SHOP), Mediterranean oak species are tested in different locations to assess their potential for planting as alternative forest trees on dry sites in Central Europe.

In a model plantation at the Biologicum of the Goethe University (GU) Frankfurt, southern-European species are growing in competition with Pedunculate Oak (Quercus robur). These trees are tested for their drought and frost tolerance under different water regimes by monitoring growth and physiological parameters. Damage by summer drought and winter frost is monitored.

On three forest sites in southern Hesse, plantations have been established in existing forests to compare different methods of plantation. In one section of the State Forest of Hesse near Lampertheim, the Nordwestdeutsche Forstliche Versuchsanstalt (NW-FVA) is coordinating a scientific forestry plantation with juvenile plants on forest clearings, where tree establishment (NW-FVA) and physiological fitness (GU) are monitored. The Mediterranean oaks are here  compared with forest trees typically planted in this region. In the communal forests of Ruesselsheim and Frankfurt, other growth concepts are tested, i.e. planting both juvenile trees in small groups and taller trees (1.5 – 2 m) under pine shielding. Here we monitor tree establishment and photosynthesis parameters of the newly planted trees as well as water consumption (sap flow analysis) of established oaks (GU).


Alfonso, S. & W. Brüggemann (2012) : Photosynthetic responses of a C3 and three C4 species of the genus Panicum (s.l.) with different metabolic subtypes to drought stress. - Photosynthesis Research 112: 175-191. 

Baeten, L., Verheyen, K., Wirth, C.,..., Brüggemann, W., et all. (2013) : A novel comparative research platform designed to determine the functional significance of tree species diversity in European forests. - Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 15: 281-291.

Brüggemann, W., Bergmann, M., Nierbauer, K.-U., Pflug, E., Schmidt, C. & D. Weber (2009) : Photosynthesis studies on European evergreen and deciduous oaks grown under Central European climate conditions: II. Photoinhibitory and light-independent violaxanthin deepoxidation and downregulation of photosystem II in evergreen, winter-acclimated European Quercus taxa. - Trees 23, 1091-1100.

Bussotti, F., Pollastrini, M., ..., Weber, D. et al. (2011) : Conclusive remarks. Reliability and comparability of chlorophyll fluorescence data from several field teams. - Environmental and Experimental Botany 73: 116-119.

Dorow, W.H.O., Lange, A., Querbach, A. & W. Brüggemann (2012) : Mediterranean Oaks (Quercus spp) and Central European Oak-feeding Lepidoptera in Southern Hesse, Germany. - Entomologia Generalis 34: 119-130.

Holland, V. & W. Brüggemann (2011) : Photosynthetic properties of Quercus x hispanica Lam. and Q. suber L. under harsh Central European winter conditions. - Photosynthetica 49: 459-465.

Holland, V., Koller, S. & W. Brüggemann (2014) : Insight into the photosynthetic apparatus in evergreen and deciduous European oaks during autumnal senescence by using OJIP fluorescence transient analysis. - Plant Biology 16: 801-808.

Koller, S., Holland, V. & W. Brüggemann (2013) : Effects of drought stress on the evergreen Quercus ilex L., the deciduous Q. robur L. and their hybrid Q. x turneri Willd. - Photosynthetica 51: 574-582.

Koller, S., Jedmoski C., Kamm, K. & W. Brüggemann (2013) : The South Hesse Oak Project (SHOP): Species- and site-specific efficiency of the photosynthetic apparatus of Mediterranean and Central European Oaks. - Plant Biosystems, DOI:10.1080/11263504.2012.762947

Pflug, E. & W. Brüggemann (2012) : Frost-acclimation of photosynthesis in overwintering Mediterranean holm oak, grown in Central Europe. - International Journal of Plant Biology 3e1: 1-8.

Pollastrini, M., Holland, V., Brüggemann, W., Koricheva, J., Jussila, I., Scherer-Lorenzen, M., Berger, S. & F. Bussotti (2014) : Interactions and competition processes among tree species in young experimental mixed forests, assessed with chlorophyll fluorescence and leaf morphology. - Plant Biology 16: 323-331.