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Matthias Forkel

Projektass. Dr.rer.nat. MSc

Research Group:
Remote Sensing
Research Area:
Remote sensing and vegetation modelling to better understand the role of ecosystems in the Earth system

Phone #:
+43 (1) 58801 - 12229
Forkel, Matthias

Biography | Twitter: @MatthiasForkel

Current research questions

  • Phenology: How did the seasonal development of vegetation change in the last decades? What are the impacts on the global carbon cycle?
  • Vegetation dynamics: How did the structure and composition of ecosystems change in the last decades?
  • Fire: What are the controls on recent changes in vegetation fires?
  • Data integration: How can optical and microwave satellite observations be combined to better characterize vegetation changes?
  • Predictive Earth observation: How can satellite observations be used to predict ecosystem states and processes?
  • Model evaluation and development: How can satellite data be used to improve dynamic global vegetation models?



Matthias was born in Zittau, Germany. He studied Geography (BSc) and Geoinformatics (MSc) with a focus on remote sensing and hydrological modelling at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany. He had several research stays at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and performed his doctoral research at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry Jena. Thereby he focused on remote sensing and modelling of global vegetation trends. He received the PhD (Dr. rer. nat.) degree from the University Jena in 2015. Since 2016, Matthias is working as a PostDoc at the Remote Sensing Research Group at TU Wien. Matthias’ main research interest is the application of satellite data and global ecosystem models to assess the role of land ecosystems in the carbon cycle and the Earth system. Thereby he has a special focus on vegetation phenology, vegetation dynamics, and ecosystem disturbances like fires. Matthias uses a broad range of methodological approaches like time series analysis of satellite data, machine learning approaches, dynamic global vegetation models, atmospheric transport models, and especially model-data integration approaches.


Awards and stipends

  • Beutenberg Campus Science Award in life sciences and physics for the best PhD thesis in 2015
  • Living Planet Fellowship from the European Space Agency (CCI4SOFIE) (2016-2018)


Co-convener of EGU session

  • BG4.12/GI2.26 Global Earth observation and in-situ data for improved understanding of terrestrial ecosystem dynamics