Talking Trees

The composite project BayTreeNet combines climate modeling, dendroecology, and educational research in a unique interdisciplinary approach. It studies the response of forest ecosystems to the current climate dynamics over the free state of Bavaria. A network of forest sites is designed in a way that the impacts of specific weather types on the growth and ecophysiology of major tree species is reflected for different growth regions. By using climate model scenarios, these tree responses will be modeled for climate conditions at the end of the 21 st century. The created monitoring network will allow the quantification of forests on changes in the frequency of specific weather types and reveal potential risks for the vitality of affected forest regions. In each study region, one tree will be selected in a place accessible to the interested public and will be equipped with an internet-based transmission unit to visualize tree reactions to local climate conditions in real time. Each of these “talking trees” is looked after by a partner school that will translate the tree reactions into human spoken messages. The development of a teaching concept related to the „talking trees“ will be accompanied by research. My using this technically innovative and motivating approach, the spatially explicit effects of concrete climate events on Bavarian forest ecosystems will be illustrated to students and the public.


Subproject 1

The subproject works on two key aspects: Physiological, structural, biochemical and growth responses of important tree species to weather types will be analyzed for a network of five low-elevation and five high-elevation sites distributed over the area of the free state of Bavaria. These indicators of climate response will be integrated in a new model that estimates the vitality and stress level of the studied trees. Due to the disperse spatial distribution in different elevation zones, a dendroecological indicator network for Bavaria shall be established that allows a better explanation of regional growth patterns and the estimation of risk potentials during extreme weather conditions for individual forest areas under defined weather types.

The second focus is the establishment of an internet-based network of ten “talking trees”; located in places of public interest close to the forest research sites. These trees are equipped with physiological instruments to monitor the reaction of the trees to climatological factors in real-time. Students from partner schools translate the response of “their” talking tree to the current weather situation in common language and thus contribute to the environmental education of the public.

Principal investigator
Prof. Dr. Achim Bräuning
Institute of Geography
Chair of Geography
Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Wetterkreuz 15
91058 Erlangen
Tel: +49 9131 85 29372

Climate Dynamics

Subproject 2

Local climatic phenomena, such as glaciers, lakes, or vegetation patterns, always show a certain dependency on the properties of large-scale climate. On a day-to-day basis, these properties are manifested as a sequence of weather types, which enclose characteristic distributions of high- and low-pressure systems over Europe and the associated weather conditions. Subproject “Climate Dynamics” will establish the local effects of weather types for Bavaria over several decades with the help of an atmospheric (computational) model, which will be executed on high-performance systems (so-called “supercomputers”).

Complementary steps will allow us to interpret the results for the recent past (e.g., 1981-2010) as well as for the expected climatic conditions in the 21st century. In particular, these steps will help to assess ecologically important elements like air temperature and precipitation in the context of extreme events. The subproject, therefore, will deliver the physical, meteorological basis for the understanding of weather type effects on selected forest sites in Bavaria. Since people usually have a strong association with weather types, which springs for instance from the daily weather reports in the media, a good connecting point to educational research on climate change impacts emerges as well.

Principal investigator
Prof. Dr. Thomas Mölg

Institute of Geography
Chair of Climatology
Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Wetterkreuz 15
91058 Erlangen
Tel: +49 9131 85 26325

Education for Sustainable Development

Subproject 3

The focus of this research and development project is educational work on interconnections between macro weather situations and forest ecosystems in Bavaria in the context of climate change. In the course of this project, a teaching concept is designed which deals with regionally different effects of macro weather situations (which develop differently due to climate change) on forest ecosystems. The research focuses on the effects of the teaching concept, e. g. regarding changes in students’ knowledge and attitudes.

The results will be the basis for a revision of the concept in order to receive an empirically founded teaching concept which has been tested in the classroom against the background of the guiding principle of Education for Sustainable Development. The teaching concept enables a knowledge transfer into the civil society using the most important institution in this context: school. Thus, a large group of future decision makers can be reached who will be especially affected by the regional consequences of climate change – a group which can also be characterized by considerable deficits especially regarding knowledge on and attitudes towards climate change (e. g. consequences of climate change or few own relations to climate change).

Principal investigator
Prof. Dr. Jan Christoph Schubert

Institute of Geography
Chair of Didactics of Geography
Regensburger Straße 160
90478 Nürnberg
Tel: +49 911 53 02523


  • BayTreeNet. Sprechende Bäume als Schnittstelle von Klimadynamik, Dendroökologie und Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung in Bayern
    Bräuning A, Debel A, Collier E, Höhnle S, Mölg T, Schubert JC, Thieroff B, Wehrmann S
    Mitteilungen der Fränkischen Geographischen Gesellschaft 2021; 67: 177-188
  • Climate signals for growth variations of F. sylvatica, P. abies, and P. sylvestris in southeast Germany over the past 50 years
    Debel A, Meier WJH, Bräuning A
    Forests 2021 ; 12(11): 1433
  • BayTreeNet: Sprechende Bäume als Schnittstelle von Klimadynamik, Dendroökologie und Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung in Bayern.
    Bräuning A, Debel A, Collier E, Höhnle S, Mölg T, Schubert JC, Thieroff B, Wehrmann S
    Mitteilungen der Fränkischen Geographischen Gesellschaft 2021; 67
  • Entwicklung und empirische Validierung eines kontextorientierten Skalenmodells zur Erfassung des Interesses von Schüler*innen am Klimawandel
    Thieroff B, Schubert JC, Gölitz D
    Zeitschrift für Didaktik der Naturwissenschaften 2021; 27: 45–57
  • BAYWRF: a high-resolution present-day climatological atmospheric dataset for Bavaria
    Collier E, Mölg T
    Earth System Science Data 2020; 12(4): 3097–3112
  • Klimawandel, Waldökosysteme und BNE
    Bräuning A, Collier E, Mölg T, Müller A, Schubert JC, Thieroff B
    Praxis Geographie 2019; 12: 56
  • Klimawandel und Wälder in Bayern: Schüler lassen Bäume sprechen
    Bräuning A, Mölg T, Schubert JC
    Umwelttechnologie und Energie in Bayern 2019: 38-39; München, media mind

Doctoral Thesis

  • High-resolution stable isotope analyses along environmental gradients in Southeast Germany (Bavaria) as indicators of climate change effects of forest ecosystems
    Braun, Marc (laufende Dissertation, BayTreeNet TP1)
  • A multiproxy dendroclimatological analysis of past and present climate responses of a tree-ring network in the province of Bavaria, Southeast Germany
    Debel, Annette (laufende Dissertation, BayTreeNet TP1)
  • Machine-learning based classification of large-scale weather patterns over Europe: Local effects on forest locations in Bavaria at present and in the future
    Wehrmann S. (laufende Dissertation, BayTreeNet TP2)

Final Papers

  • Vergleich der Kambialdynamik im Trockenjahr 2020 von Fichten an zwei Baumstandorten im Alpenvorland
    Achter, J. (laufende Bachelorarbeit, BayTreeNet TP1)
  • Kambialdynamik von Fichten an einem subalpinen Waldstandort in den Allgäuer Kalkalpen
    Hofmann, C. (laufende Bachelorarbeit, BayTreeNet TP1)
  • Modellierung des Bodenwasserhaushalts zur Ermittlung edaphischer Dürrephasen an einem subalpinen Waldstandort in Berchtesgaden
    Albani, C. (laufende Bachelorarbeit, BayTreeNet TP1)
  • Zur artspezifischen Klima-Wachstumssituation verschiedener Baumarten auf edaphischen Trockenstandorten auf Weißjura der nördlichen Frankenalb
    Hildenbrand Bara, E. (laufende Bachelorarbeit, BayTreeNet TP1)
  • Stabile Kohlenstoffisotope als Indikator von Trockenreaktionen von Kiefern in Unterfranken
    Maier, J. (laufende Bachelorarbeit, BayTreeNet TP1)
  • Climatic influence on wood anatomical parameters of Pinus sylvestris and Fagus sylvatica in dry regions of Lower Frankonia
    Yildiz, Murat (laufende Masterarbeit, BayTreeNet TP1)
  • Vergleich der Kambialaktivität von Waldkiefern (Pinus sylvestris) an nordbayerischen Trockenstandorten in klimatischen unterschiedlichen Jahre
    Faber, J. (laufende Bachelorarbeit, BayTreeNet TP1)
  • Stressphysiologische Reaktionen alter Eichen auf pleistozänen Sandstandorten in Mittelfranken auf Trockenjahre
    Wichtrey, S. (Bachelorarbeit 2021, BayTreeNet TP1)
  • Auswirkungen des Trockensommers 2015 auf die Birke (Betula pendula) im mittelfränkischen Trockengebiet
    Stein, Y. (Bachelorarbeit 2021, BayTreeNet TP1)
  • Climatic influence on wood anatomical parameters of Pinus sylvestris in Middle Frankonia
    Tang, Xiaoyang (Masterarbeit 2021, BayTreeNet TP1)
  • Modellierung des Bodenwasserhaushalts zur Ermittlung edaphischer Dürrephasen an einem mittelfränkischen Waldstandort
    Brunner, J. (Bachelorarbeit 2020, BayTreeNet TP1)
  • Zur klimatischen Steuerung der Kambialdynamik von Kiefern in Mittelfranken
    Vogel, S. (laufende Bachelorabeit, BayTreeNet TP1)
  • Climate change in Nürnberg, the representativity for Germany and a future projection
    Wehrmann, S. (Masterarbeit 2020, BayTreeNet TP2)
  • Klimawandelauswirkungen auf die Bewässerungslandwirtschaft im Knoblauchsland
    Schneider, P. (Bachelorarbeit 2020, BayTreeNet TP2)
  • Untersuchung synoptischer Daten auf Veränderungen der Niederschlags-Extrema im Raum Nürnberg
    Amting J. (Bachelorarbeit 2020, BayTreeNet TP2)
  • Vorstellungen von Grundschüler*innen der dritten und vierten Klasse zu Wolken
    Colley, Melody (Zulassungsarbeit 2021, BayTreeNet TP3)
  • Einstellungen von Schüler*innen zum Klimawandel – Entwicklung eines Messinstrumentes
    Hofmann, Anna (Zulassungsarbeit 2021, BayTreeNet TP3)
  • Fachdidaktisches Wissen von Lehramtsstudierenden zu Schülervorstellungen im Geographieunterricht bezüglich des anthropogenen Treibhauseffektes – eine empirische Untersuchung
    Neuhorn, Daniel (Zulassungsarbeit 2018, BayTreeNet TP3)