Ulrike Hiltner

PhD student

Department Ecological Modelling
for Environmental Research - UFZ
Permoserstr. 15
04318 Leipzig

Tel.: +49 341 235-1723
Fax: +49 341 235-451723

Ulrike Hiltner

  • My major fields of study are Physical Geography, Ecosystem Modelling, Data Science, Dendroecology, and Forestry.
  • In my current work, I focus on forest ecosystems. I develop and apply simulation models to investigate crucial mechanisms in forests that influence the structure, dynamics and ecosystem functions. The references to natural systems I derive from various types of field data. Important subjects of my research are: tree growth, spatio-temporal dynamics and community interactions, effects of disturbances, such as climate change and forest management, as well as resilience to stress.
  • I am also interested in data scientific methods which are helpful for the development of models and the analysis of simulation results.

Predicting the impact of forest management and climate change on forest ecosystems

Ecosystem functions of forests, such as biomass productivity but also the supply of timber, are of particular interest for me. Forests help to stabilize the global climate as they fix carbon in their biomass. However, there is a potential for vulnerability. Disturbances, such as continuous climate change and logging interventions, affect the forests’ sensitive balance to varying degrees. If, as a result, forest degradation or even land use change into agricultural land occurs, this will bring further negative feedback loops which may affect other ecosystem services.

Identifying which forest management strategies are sustainable in times of climate change is of global relevance. This ensures that forest ecosystems and resources remain stable in the future. In order to achieve these goals, decision-makers should be able to weigh up reasonable trade-offs between ecological and economic alternatives to forest use. Finding a consensus is often difficult because non-linear, interactive processes within forest ecosystems under additional influences of various environmental factors make predictions difficult. Simulation models can be used to test a wide range of options for action, respectively. For my investigations, I use the forest model FORMIND to quantify the long-term effects of different forest management strategies on forest growth in the context of climate change.

Talks and Posters


  • Ulrike Hiltner, A. Bräuning, A. Huth, R. Fischer: Simulation der Sukzession neotropischer Wälder: Hohe selektive Abholzungsintensitäten verlängern die Erholungszeiten verschiedener Ökosystemleistungen. Talk on Forstwissenschaftliche Tagung - FowiTa in Goettingen, Germany.
  • Ulrike Hiltner, A. Bräuning, A. Huth, R. Fischer: Long-term effects of selective logging: A production forest's succession of the Amazon. Poster on HIGRADE conference in Leipzig, Germany.
  • Ulrike Hiltner, A. Bräuning, A. Huth, R. Fischer: Effects of selective logging on a production forest's succession of the Amazon: a simulation experiment. Talk on Conference of Society of Tropical Ecology - GTOE in Paris, France.



Since 2016 PhD student at UFZ Leipzig (Resarch Group Huth) and Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (Research Group Bräuning) with DBU doctoral scholarship
2014-2016 Research assistant at Department Ecological Modelling of UFZ Leipzig
2011-2013 Master Student of Physical Geography (Emphasis: Forest Modelling, Dendro Ecology) at Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nuremberg
2007-2011 Bachelor Student of Physical Geography (Emphasis: Biogeography, Palaeoclimatology) at Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nuremberg
2009-2013 Student assistant in dendro-lab (Research Group Bräuning) at Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nuremberg