Nikolai Knapp


Nikolai Knapp
Department of Ecological Modelling
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ
Permoserstr. 15
04318 Leipzig

Since 2021:
Nikolai Knapp
Thuenen Institute of Forest Ecosystems
Alfred-Möller-Str. 1
16225 Eberswalde


Nikolai Knapp


Since 2021, I am working at the Thuenen Institute of Forest Ecosystems, where I am responsible for the coordination and data analysis of the German crown condition survey ( WZE ) within the ICP forests monitoring program. My research is about modeling tree vitality and mortality by integrating field data, remote sensing, machine learning and process models.

Personal Thuenen website

WZE data visualization

From 2015 to 2021 at UFZ, my main research focus was on the following topics:

My research interest is about linking the fields of remote sensing and forest modelling. Lidar and radar remote sensing allow us to measure forest structures at large scales. Dynamic forest models, like FORMIND , provide tools to study the processes behind the structures. Combining both improves our understanding of how canopy height structure is related to above ground biomass and carbon dynamics. The focus lies on tropical forests. They play an important role in the global carbon cycle, but they are structurally complex and less well covered by inventories compared to other ecosystems.

Project: Biotrop-X

In this context, I also work on the question of how distributions of different forest attributes, such as biomass, growth and mortality, vary with spatial scale. I use forest models of different complexities to investigate how model parameters can be upscaled to obtain coarse-scale simulation results, which are consistent with aggregated fine-scale simulation results. Upscaling and complexity reduction are important for reducing the computational demand of ecological models.

Project: Reduced Complexity Models (RedMod)

Forest simulation FORMIND simulation Lidar simulation Lidar simulation




since 2021 Scientist at Thünen-Institute of Forest Ecosystems and guest scientist at UFZ
2019 - 2021 Scientist at UFZ working for the RedMod project
2015 - 2018 PhD student at UFZ working for the Biotrop-X project
2015 Research assistant in the REDD+ monitoring group of the Peruvian ministery of environment in Lima
2012 - 2014 Forest Information Technology studies (MSc.) at HNE Eberswalde and SGGW Warsaw
2006 - 2012 Biology studies (Diploma) at University of Würzburg (Tropical Ecology, Bioinformatics, Vegetation Ecology, Biotechnology) with research stays at University Via Domitia Perpignan (2010) and University of Brunei Darussalam (2011)