• Duration: 01.02.2024 – 31.01.2027
  • : Biodiversity

Revitalized riparian forests - dynamics and resilience in the context of multifunctionality (A-DUR)

With the generous designation of the "riparian forests on the Middle Isar" as a natural forest (strict forest reserve) in accordance with the Bavarian Forest Act Art. 12a, the use of the forest for timber production is largely abandoned in favour of other ecosystem services (climate and flood protection, biodiversity, local recreation, wildlife management, etc.). The research project examines effects of this land use change on nature and society and develops evidence-based recommendations for the management of this forest area close to the Greater Munich conurbation.

Isar floodplains near Freising © Birgit Reger
Isar floodplains between Freising and Achering © Jörg Ewald


Due to land use change, rivers and alluvial forest systems are among the most heavily changed ecosystems in Central Europe. Hydraulic engineering interventions have led to the loss of ecosystem services. The typical habitats of riparian forests are increasingly threatened by climate change, pathogens (elm bark beetle, root neck rot, ash dieback) and invasive neophytes.

Alluvial forests play a key role in climate protection and achieving climate targets. Thus, services such as carbon sequestration, nutrient cycling, groundwater formation, erosion protection, fresh air formation, habitat function, pollination, noise protection and local recreation should be guaranteed in their diversity in the future.

Black poplar (Populus nigra) in the Isar floodplains © Jörg Ewald
Branch of a black poplar (Populus nigra) © Jörg Ewald

Objectives of the joint project

As a basis for the revitalization revitalization of riparian forests, we study the site-dependence of biodiversity and ecosystem functions, assess future development scenarios and develop recommendations for restoration and and management.

Awareness for riparian forests and their ecosystem services is raised among the population and decision-makers, relevant stakeholders in administrations, municipalities and associations through citizen science and workshops. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are developing digital tools for visitor guidance. The results should be transferable to similar alluvial forest systems in Central Europe.

A-DUR is a joint project of Technical University of Munich (TUM), University of Applied Sciences Weihenstephan-Triesdorf (HSWT), the Bavarian State Institute of Forestry (LWF), the Bavarian Forestry Administration, the Bavarian Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation, Scientes Mondium and Green Solution under the management of Prof. Dr. Peter Annighöfer (TUM). The HSWT is responsible for the sub-project "Natural Processes versus Species Conservation" lead by Prof. Dr. Jörg Ewald and Prof. Dr. Volker Zahner. In addition, HSWT's Prof. Dr. Andreas Rothe is involved in sub-project "Forest dynamics and carbon sequestration" (lead: Prof. Annighöfer), in which the forest structure, forest dynamics and carbon storage of riparian forests after abandonment are being investigated.

Topics of the HSWT in sub-project "Natural Processes versus Species Conservation"

  • Establishing a network of sampling sites representative of site conditions and land use
  • Survey of multitrophic diversity (epiphytic mosses, vascular plants, flying insects, butterflies, birds)
  • Supplementation of survey data through citizen science
  • Identification of target species and key habitats for nature conservation management
  • Analysis of goal conflicts between natural processes, conservation of species and habitats, and recreational use
  • Development of a concept for nature conservation in riparian forests


Project lead (HSWT)



Adressierte SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals)