Terrestrial systems - frontiers of our understanding

21.-24. September 2015, Freudenstadt, Germany

Is our understanding of terrestrial systems still like an oasis in the desert?


The goal of this workshop is a thorough analysis of the current state of our understanding of terrestrial systems. This includes the transformation and transfer of organic and inorganic matter in interaction with the water cycle by living organisms as well as abiotic processes. A sound understanding of the involved processes is pivotal for sustainable development of the earth system. During the last decades, the disciplinary approaches of current research and new technical development have improved the availability of information on state and dynamics of terrestrial systems worldwide. However, this may have led us into some blind alleys of research and our capabilities to cope with the multitude of processes interacting in a complex manner and generating the emergent functions of terrestrial systems is still rather limited.

This workshop intends to develop new perspectives for promising future research from a very interdisciplinary perspective. Where appropriate it should also be used to shed light on current approaches that are deemed to be less promising. Learning from what did not work out by analyzing why this is the case might be a rewarding exercise.

During this workshop a number of invited presentations of recognized experts will be given covering a broad range of critical issues as e.g. self-organization of terrestrial systems, solute transport in groundwater and the vadose zone, water flux between atmosphere and the subsurface, feedbacks between soil and vegetation, biological activity triggered by physical state variables and scaling strategies for flow and transport. The presentations are thought to be critical and provocative rather than self-congratulatory to stimulate discussions for which ample time is provided. Voluntary contributions from all participants are presented as posters.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers

  • Phlippe Baveye, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York, U.S.A.
  • Klaus Butterbach-Bahl, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
  • Julia Boike, Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Potsdam, Germany
  • Marco Dentz, Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research, Barcelona, Spain
  • Hannes Flühler, Switzerland
  • Peter Grathwohl, Universität Tübingen, Germany
  • Georg Guggenberger, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany
  • Ciaran Harman, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, U.S.A.
  • Christoph Hinz, Brandenburgische Technische Universität, Cottbus, Germany
  • Olaf Ippisch, TU Clausthal, Germany
  • Xin Li, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, China
  • Eckhard Priesack, HelmholtzZentrum münchen, Germany
  • Kurt Roth, Universität Heidelberg, Germany
  • David Russell, Senckenberg Museum of Natural History, Görlitz, Germany
  • Jan Vanderborght, Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany
  • Hans-Jörg Vogel, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung - UFZ, Halle, Germany
  • Ute Wollschläger, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung - UFZ, Leipzig, Germany
  • Sjoerd van der Zee, Wageningen University, The Netherlands


  • Olaf Ippisch, TU Clausthal, Germany
  • Kurt Roth, Universität Heidelberg, Germany
  • Hans-Jörg Vogel, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung - UFZ, Germany
  • Ute Wollschläger, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung - UFZ, Germany


September 21-24, 2015


Waldhotel Zollernblick, Am Zollernblick 1, 72250 Freudenstadt, Black Forest, Germany



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