Dr. Rico Fischer

Contact

Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ Leipzig

Department of Ecological Modelling

Permoserstr. 15
04318 Leipzig
Germany

Buildung 1.0, Room 202 Map

Tel.: +49 341 235 - 48 2267
Fax: +49 341 235 - 45 2267
rico.fischer@ufz.de    



Research Interests

Standsoftime
"Stands of Time" within the heart of the Malagasy Hauts-Plateaux. Credit: Trent Marwick

Projects

Forest Modeling

The forest gap model FORMIND is an individual-based vegetation model that simulates the growth of forests on the hectare scale. It allows to explore forest dynamics and forest structure including also processes like gap building (falling down of large trees).

Publication: Lessons learned from applying a forest gap model to understand ecosystem and carbon dynamics of complex tropical forests.

More details about FORMIND at www.formind.org

FORMIND at Wikipedia


Formind
FORMIND. An individual-based forest model.

Simulating the carbon stocks and fluxes of tropical rainforests at Mt. Kilimanjaro

Analyzing the carbon fluxes of a tropical forest in Tansania, Africa. We simulated biomass dynamics, forest productivity and carbon fluxes for a sub-montane forest at Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Publication: Simulating Carbon Stocks and Fluxes of an African Tropical Montane Forest with an Individual-Based Forest Model

Publication: Consequences of a Reduced Number of Plant Functional Types for the Simulation of Forest Productivity


Modelling the dynamics of tropical rainforests in Madagascar under climate change

Simulating the dynamics of lowland tropical forest in a changing world. Analyzing the impact of drought and logging on rainforest structure and dynamics.

Publication: Simulating the impacts of reduced rainfall on carbon stocks and net ecosystem exchange in a tropical forest

Publication: Simulating Forest Dynamics of Lowland Rainforests in Eastern Madagascar


Evaluating the impact of selective logging on forest dynamics

Analyzing the mid- and long-term impacts of different management intensities on the dynamic and structure of a species-rich tropical lowland forest of French Guiana. High selective logging intensities prolong the recovery times of ecosystem functions such as biomass and productivity.

Publication: Simulation of succession in a neotropical forest: High selective logging intensities prolong the recovery times of ecosystem functions.


Grouping of tree species for modelling species-rich forests

The challenge of considering the high species diversity of tropical forests in forest models is often addressed by grouping species into plant functional types (PFTs). However, the number of PFTs affect the predictions of forest productivity and other carbon fluxes derived from forest simulations.

Publication: Consequences of a Reduced Number of Plant Functional Types for the Simulation of Forest Productivity

Remote Sensing

Emissions from the edge of the forest: global forest fragmentation

Deforestation has a correspondingly fatal effect, even for the remaining forest fragments. Vegetation at the edges is exposed to an unfavourable micro-climate: direct solar radiation and higher wind speeds mean that these areas dry out more readily. We analysed the state of tropical forest fragmentation and its impact on the global carbon cycle by using high-resolution remote sensing data. We have discovered that fragmentation of formerly contiguous areas of forest leads to carbon emissions rising by another third.

Fragmentation
The photo shows forest fragments of the Brazilian Atlantic rainforest in Northeastern Brazil. Photo: Mateus Dantas de Paula

Publication: High resolution analysis of tropical forest fragmentation and its impact on the global carbon cycle.

Press release

We found also similar patterns of fragment sizes in the tropics across all continents. These patterns follow exactly the analytical predictions of percolation theory. In our analysis we show that, beyond the critical point, continental tropical landscapes will in future consist of many more small and isolated forest fragments if deforestation continues as before.

Publication: Global patterns of tropical forest fragmentation

Press release

Estimating forest biomass and forest structure from remote sensing

We investigated the potential of lidar and radar data to monitor forest biomass and forest structure and its temporal variations. Forest structure identification can be used to distinguish between different forest stages and different types induced by logging, natural disturbance, or forest management.

Publication: Monitoring of Forest Structure Dynamics by Means of L-Band SAR Tomography

More methods regarding forest structure analysis was performed within the HGF Alliance “Remote Sensing and Earth System Dynamics” - improving the understanding and modelling of dynamic processes.

http://hgf-eda.de/

Linking remote sensing with ecological modeling

An innovative field is the combination of individual-based vegetation models with the latest remote sensing technology. For this purpose, the high degree of detail of the models in combination with the full-coverage measurement of the earth is used to determine the different ecosystem functions.

Publication: Linking lidar and forest modeling to assess biomass estimation across scales and disturbance states

Publication: Model-Assisted Estimation of Tropical Forest Biomass Change: A Comparison of Approaches

Publication: The importance of forest structure for carbon fluxes of the Amazon rainforest.

Project: Innovative methods to calculate aboveground biomass of tropical forests from TanDEM-X data: Biotrop-X

TandemX
Satellites TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X 3D-scanning the earth surface. Image: EADS Astrium

2018 (10)

  • Armstrong, A., Fischer, R., Huth, A., Shugart, H., Fatoyinbo, T., (2018):
    Simulating forest dynamics of lowland rainforests in Eastern Madagascar
    Forests 9 (4), art. 214
    full text (url)
  • Dantas de Paula, M., Groeneveld, J., Fischer, R., Taubert, F., Martins, V.F., Huth, A., (2018):
    Defaunation impacts on seed survival and its effect on the biomass of future tropical forests
    Oikos 127 (10), 1526 - 1538
    full text (url)
  • Fischer, R., Rödig, E., Huth, A., (2018):
    Consequences of a reduced number of plant functional types for the simulation of forest productivity
    Forests 9 (8), art. 460
    full text (url)
  • Hiltner, U., Huth, A., Bräuning, A., Hérault, B., Fischer, R., (2018):
    Simulation of succession in a neotropical forest: High selective logging intensities prolong the recovery times of ecosystem functions
    For. Ecol. Manage. 430 , 517 - 525
    full text (url)
  • Knapp, N., Fischer, R., Huth, A., (2018):
    Linking lidar and forest modeling to assess biomass estimation across scales and disturbance states
    Remote Sens. Environ. 205 , 199 - 209
    full text (url)
  • Knapp, N., Huth, A., Kugler, F., Papathanassiou, K., Condit, R., Hubbell, S.P., Fischer, R., (2018):
    Model-assisted estimation of tropical forest biomass change: a comparison of approaches
    Remote Sens. 10 (5), art. 731
    full text (url)
  • Rödig, E., Cuntz, M., Rammig, A., Fischer, R., Taubert, F., Huth, A., (2018):
    The importance of forest structure for carbon fluxes of the Amazon rainforest
    Environ. Res. Lett. 13 (5), art. 054013
    full text (url)
  • Shugart, H.H., Wang, B., Fischer, R., Ma, J., Fang, J., Yan, X., Huth, A., Armstrong, A.H., (2018):
    Gap models and their individual-based relatives in the assessment of the consequences of global change
    Environ. Res. Lett. 13 (3), art. 033001
    full text (url)
  • Taubert, F., Fischer, R., Groeneveld, J., Lehmann, S., Müller, M.S., Rödig, E., Wiegand, T., Huth, A., (2018):
    Global patterns of tropical forest fragmentation
    Nature 554 (7693), 519 - 522
    full text (url)
  • Tello, M., Cazcarra-Bes, V., Fischer, R., Papathanassiou, K., (2018):
    Multiscale forest structure estimation from SAR tomography
    Electronic Proceedings EUSAR 2018; 12th European Conference on Synthetic Aperture Radar, 04-07 June, 2018, Aachen, Germany
    VDE-Verlag, Berlin ; Offenbach, p. 600 - 603
    full text (url)

2017 (4)

  • Brinck, K., Fischer, R., Groeneveld, J., Lehmann, S., Dantas de Paula, M., Pütz, S., Sexton, J.O., Song, D., Huth, A., (2017):
    High resolution analysis of tropical forest fragmentation and its impact on the global carbon cycle
    Nat. Commun. 8 , art. 14855
    full text (url)
  • Cazcarra-Bes, V., Tello-Alonso, M., Fischer, R., Heym, M., Papathanassiou, K., (2017):
    Monitoring of forest structure dynamics by means of L-band SAR tomography
    Remote Sens. 9 (12), art. 1229
    full text (url)
  • Getzin, S., Fischer, R., Knapp, N., Huth, A., (2017):
    Using airborne LiDAR to assess spatial heterogeneity in forest structure on Mount Kilimanjaro
    Landsc. Ecol. 32 (9), 1881 - 1894
    full text (url)
  • Paulick, S., Dislich, C., Homeier, J., Fischer, R., Huth, A., (2017):
    The carbon fluxes in different successional stages: modelling the dynamics of tropical montane forests in South Ecuador
    For. Ecosyst. 4 , art. 5
    full text (url)

2016 (3)

  • Fischer, R., Bohn, F., Dantas de Paula, M., Dislich, C., Groeneveld, J., Gutiérrez, A.G., Kazmierczak, M., Knapp, N., Lehmann, S., Paulick, S., Pütz, S., Rödig, E., Taubert, F., Köhler, P., Huth, A., (2016):
    Lessons learned from applying a forest gap model to understand ecosystem and carbon dynamics of complex tropical forests
    Ecol. Model. 326 , 124 - 133
    full text (url)
  • Hiltner, U., Bräuning, A., Gebrekirstos, A., Huth, A., Fischer, R., (2016):
    Impacts of precipitation variability on the dynamics of a dry tropical montane forest
    Ecol. Model. 320 , 92 - 101
    full text (url)
  • Kazmierczak, M., Backmann, P., Fedriani, J.M., Fischer, R., Hartmann, A.K., Huth, A., May, F., Müller, M.S., Taubert, F., Grimm, V., Groeneveld, J., (2016):
    Monodominance in tropical forests: modelling reveals emerging clusters and phase transitions
    J. R. Soc. Interface 13 (117), art. 0123
    full text (url)

2015 (2)

  • Fischer, R., Ensslin, A., Rutten, G., Fischer, M., Schellenberger Costa, D., Kleyer, M., Hemp, A., Paulick, S., Huth, A., (2015):
    Simulating carbon stocks and fluxes of an African tropical montane forest with an individual-based forest model
    PLOS One 10 (4), e0123300
    full text (url)
  • Shugart, H.H., Asner, G.P., Fischer, R., Huth, A., Knapp, N., Le Toan, T., Shuman, J.K., (2015):
    Computer and remote-sensing infrastructure to enhance large-scale testing of individual-based forest models
    Front. Ecol. Environ. 13 (9), 503 - 511
    full text (url)

2014 (3)

  • Fischer, R., (2014):
    Modellierung der Dynamik afrikanischer Tropenwälder. Analyse des Einflusses von Störungen auf tropische Wälder mit Hilfe des Waldmodells FORMIND
    Dissertation, Universität Osnabrück
    PhD Dissertation 4/2014
    Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung - UFZ, Leipzig, 187 S.
    full text (pdf)
  • Fischer, R., Armstrong, A., Shugart, H.H., Huth, A., (2014):
    Simulating the impacts of reduced rainfall on carbon stocks and net ecosystem exchange in a tropical forest
    Environ. Modell. Softw. 52 , 200 - 206
    full text (url)
  • Tello, M., Pardini, M., Papathanassiou, K., Fischer, R., (2014):
    Towards forest structure characteristics retrieval from SAR tomographic profiles
    Electronic Proceedings EUSAR 2018; 12th European Conference on Synthetic Aperture Radar, 04-07 June, 2018, Aachen, Germany
    VDE-Verlag, Berlin ; Offenbach, p. 1425 - 1428
    full text (url)

since 2018 Post Doc position at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig. Linking remote sensing and forest modeling.
2013 - 2017 Post Doc position at the Helmholtz Alliance “Remote Sensing and Earth System Dynamics"
2010 - 2013 PhD student at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig within the DFG Research Unit "KiLi” Kilimanjaro ecosystems under global change - Linking biodiversity, biotic interactions and biogeochemical ecosystem processes
Thesis: "Modelling the dynamics of African tropical forests. Analysis of the influence of disturbances on tropical forests using the FORMIND forest model"
2008 - 2010 Master in Applied Mathematics at the University of Applied Science (HTWK) Leipzig
Thesis: "Modelling the growth of rainforests. Investigation of the effects of drought stress and timber use on the tropical rainforest using the example of RNI Betampona, Madagascar"
2005 - 2008 Diploma in Business Mathematics at the University of Applied Science (HTWK) Leipzig
Thesis: "Modelling of non-linear dependencies with the help of copulas - application in the determination of value at risk"

Awards

2014 - UFZ Doctoral Award
2013 - Best Presentation HIGRADE Conference