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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - IRI THESys

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Projects | IRI THESys | People | Prof. Dr. Tobias Kuemmerle

Prof. Dr. Tobias Kuemmerle

Balancing biodiversity conservation and humanity’s resource needs


  • drivers and patterns of land use change
  • land use effects on biodiversity
  • trade-offs between agriculture and conservation


"I have always been fascinated by nature - and about how people interact with it. I am also deeply concerned about the pace and magnitude at which we are transforming wild places, and losing their biodiversity. My research is motivated by generating insights and datasets that can help to tackle some of the sustainability challenges we are facing and thus to transition towards more sustainable futures." Tobias Kuemmerle

Tobias Kuemmerle is a professor for biogeography and conservation biology at the Geography Department at Humboldt-University Berlin. He has a Diplom in Applied Environmental Sciences from the University of Trier (2003) and a PhD in Geography from Humboldt-University Berlin in 2008. His career path includes postdoctoral stays at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2008-2010) and the Postdam Institute for Climate impact Research (2010-2011). In 2012, he became an Einstein Junior Fellow Professor at the Geography Department of Humboldt-University Berlin, which transitions into a full professorship in 2015. Tobias Kuemmerle is IRI THESys foundation member.

The overarching goal of his research is to improve our understanding of where and why land use changes, how that affects species’ habitats and populations, and what characterizes sustainable land systems that balance biodiversity conservation and humanity’s resource needs. He uses tools from land use science, landscape ecology, conservation biology, and biogeography to address these issues at broad geographic scales.

Selected publications

Baumann, M.; Gasparri, I.; Piquer-Rodríguez, M.; Gavier Pizarro, G.; Griffiths, P.; Hostert, P.; Kuemmerle, T. (2017): Carbon emissions from agricultural expansion and intensification in the Chaco, Global Change Biology, 23, 1902-1916. doi: 10.1111/gcb.13521.

Kehoe, L.; Senf, C.; Meyer, C.; Gerstner, K.; Kreft, H.; Kuemmerle, T. (2016): Agriculture rivals biomes in predicting global species richness, Ecography, in press. doi: 10.1111/ecog.02508.

Kuemmerle, T.; Levers, L.; Erb, K.H.; Estel, S.; Jepsen, M.R.; Kroisleitner, C.; Müller, D.; Plutzar, C.; Stürck, J.; Verkerk, P.J.; Verburg, P.H.; Reenberg, A. (2016): Hotspots of land use change in Europe, Environmental Research Letters, 11, 6. doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/11/6/064020.

Meyfroidt, P.; Schierhorn, F.; Prishchepov, A.V.; Müller, D.; Kuemmerle, T. (2016): Drivers, constraints and trade-offs associated with recultivating abandoned cropland in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, Global Environmental Change, 37, 1-15. doi: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2016.01.003.

Dorresteijn, I.; Schultner, J.; Nimmo, D.G.; Fischer, J.; Hanspach, J.; Kuemmerle, T.; Kehoe, L.; Ritchie, E.G. (2015): Incorporating anthropogenic effects into trophic ecology: predator-prey interactions in a human-dominated landscape, Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, 282, 105-112. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2015.1602.


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