Hochschule für nachhaltige Entwicklung Eberswalde

Cooperative graduation successfully completed 

© HNEE, Florian Reischauer

Jeanette Blumröder is the first doctoral graduate of the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development (EUSD), who defended her dissertation in cooperation with Leuphana University Lüneburg on November 23, 2021 with very good results. Her doctoral thesis deals with the questions of how to quantify and evaluate the functional efficiency of forests and how forest management affects the functions and services, related to the microclimate. In the process, the young scientist investigated what positive ecological contribution Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification actually makes and comes to an astonishing conclusion.

Jeanette Blumröder has been conducting research at the Centre for Econics and Ecosystem Management (CEEM) at the EUSD for 10 years and is now a mainstay there in the area of forest-related projects. At one time, she completed her master's degree in Global Change Management.

 "Assessment of forest functionality and the effectiveness of forest management and certification systems" was the title of the doctoral thesis in which Jeanette Blumröder developed an ecosystem-based and participatory methodology called ECOSEFFECT and that was applied in Arkhangelsk, in northwestern Russia.

Ms. Blumröder, how are you doing now after your dissertation? Has your life already changed fundamentally?
Not really, as I am already back in the forest recording data and other publications are in the making, which takes a lot of time and energy.

It was already briefly touched on above. Can you briefly describe again in your own words what the core of the doctorate was and why the topic is relevant to the world?
The work is based on two research projects. The project to review the effectiveness of FSC certification in Russia was funded and jointly implemented by WWF Germany, among others. We also worked closely with colleagues from Russia. The Transparent Forestry Project is not yet finished, the final data collection is still in progress. But the data from the two extreme summers of 2018 and 2019 were so exciting that we have already utilized them.
Forests are not only of enormous importance for us humans and the climate because of the production of the raw material wood, but also provide a variety of so-called ecosystem services for free. However, forestry use can limit the ecosystem's ability to provide functions and services - especially in times of advancing climate change. Sustainability certificates are supposed to ensure that the functionality of forests is not reduced despite timber use, so it is even more important to scientifically verify what it actually does for the ecosystem in the end. Unfortunately, in our studies we found that the certified Russian clearcuts are no better than the non-certified ones.

In what time frame did you implement the work?
The work on the FSC project actually started in 2014 and we implemented the studies piecemeal. The Transparent Forest Enterprise project has been running since the beginning of 2017 and will last a total of 5 years.

How did the collaboration with Leuphana University Lüneburg work out in concrete terms?
Of course, it would have been easier if we could have carried out the PhD directly at EUSD. But a cooperation with Leuphana University of Lüneburg is something very valuable and also has many advantages, such as the additional exchange of content and expertise. I have received very good support from my supervisors.

What advice do you have for others who are interested, despite the fact that universities of applied sciences still do not have the right to award doctorates?
I still think that it's not really about doing a doctorate for the sake of doing a doctorate, but about the motivation to take on a subject, a certain topic, and to do everything possible to advance this subject and topics. There are always possibilities and ways to be found, even if they may not be easy, but bumpy.

What are the next steps for you and in which areas? Will you remain loyal to the HNEE?
For me, everything will remain the same for the time being, as I am still involved in various projects in CEEM and continue to develop new projects in parallel.

The dissertation was supervised by Prof. Dr. Pierre L. Ibisch, professor of conservation at EUSD, and supervised by Prof. Dr. Werner Härdtle, professor of landscape ecology and conservation at Leuphana University Lüneburg. "It is important to note that with our projects and our candidates* we are basically capable of implementing very high quality PhDs. Ms. Blumröder has proven this. Her work is also special because she published an above-average proportion of her work in international journals before submitting it," summarizes Prof. Dr. Ibisch.

Dr. Jeanette Blumröder
Research Assistant
Phone: +49 3334 657-229

Press contact
Corinna Hartwig
Science communication
Phone: +49 3334 657-227

About Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development (EUSD)

Connecting with Nature for the benefit of Humans.

EUSD is a nationally and internationally active impulse generator for sustainable development. Around 2,300 students from 57 countries study and more than 350 employees research, teach and work at the university in the midst of an extensive natural landscape just outside Berlin. In the four faculties of Forest and Environment, Landscape Use and Conservation, Wood Engineering and Sustainable Economy, students can obtain skills in fields such as nature conservation, forest ecosystem management, organic agriculture, adaptation to climate change, sustainable economy, timber construction or sustainable tourism management in currently 20 study programmes, some of which are unique in Germany.