Nikolai Knapp


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

Tel: ++49 341 235 4764
Fax: ++49 341 235 1473


Nikolai Knapp


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

Currently, I 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.

Current project: Reduced Complexity Models (RedMod)

Forest simulation FORMIND simulation Lidar simulation Lidar simulation



  • 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)
  • Fischer, R., Knapp, N., Bohn, F., Huth, A., (2019):
    Remote sensing measurements of forest structure types for ecosystem service mapping
    In: Schröter, M., Bonn, A., Klotz, S., Seppelt, R., Baessler, C., (eds.)
    Atlas of ecosystem services : drivers, risks, and societal responses
    Springer International Publishing, Cham, p. 63 - 67
    full text (url)
  • Fischer, R., Knapp, N., Bohn, F., Shugart, H.H., Huth, A., (2019):
    The relevance of forest structure for biomass and productivity in temperate forests: New perspectives for remote sensing
    Surv. Geophys. 40 (4), 709 - 734
    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)
  • Knapp, N., (2019):
    Remote sensing of forests: analyzing biomass stocks, changes and variability with empirical data and simulations
    Dissertation, Universität Osnabrück
    PhD Dissertation 3/2019
    Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung - UFZ, Leipzig, XI, 161 pp.
    full text (pdf)
  • 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)
  • 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)


since 2019 Postdoc 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)