Department für Geographie






Julia Pongratz

Prof. Dr. Julia Pongratz

Inhaberin des Lehrstuhls für Physische Geographie und Landnutzungssysteme


Lehrstuhl für Physische Geographie und Landnutzungssysteme
Luisenstraße 37
80333 München


Luisenstraße 37
Zweiter Stock
80333 München
Raum A204

Tel.: +49 (0) 89 / 2180 - 6652



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The vegetation covering the continents has decisive influence on climate, exchanging heat, moisture, momentum, and a variety of chemical materials with the atmosphere. Humans are substantially interfering with this exchange, having transformed three quarter of the ice-free land surface to managed lands, with severe effects on the Earth system; e.g., one quarter of current anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions arise from land use. Effects are expected to become even stronger in the future, as demand for food and fibre rises in a more populous and affluent world, and as the international goal of limiting global warming to two degrees may rely on substantial additional CO2 sinks through land use. 

Our research assesses questions like this:

+ What were the effects of land use change over the last few centuries? A warming, because deforestation caused CO2 emissions and reduced transpiration? Or a cooling, because clearing dark forest made the land surface brighter?

+ How large are the potential of negative emission technologies such as af/reforestation or bioenergy with carbon capture and storage to take up and sequester CO2? How permanent is this carbon storage, could future extreme events annihilate a forest carbon sink? What are the risks and side-effects of NETs?

+ Is it possible to create win-win situations for mitigation and adaption by land use change such as afforestation, where we achieve a reduction in the global atmospheric CO2 concentration concurrently with a local cooling through energy and water fluxes?

+ How can we reduce the large uncertainties around land use emission estimates, integrating model simulations with Earth observations?

+ How can we integrate land management in global Earth system models to assess effects e.g. of forestry harvest and intensification on vegetation and climate?

To this end we combine and develop a range of tools: semi-empirical carbon cycle models (“bookkeeping models”), dynamic global vegetation models and Earth system/climate models, and integrate them with Earth observations (site-level, inventories, remote sensing).

Julia Pongratz is member of the Scientific Steering Committee of two Future Earth projects: the Global Carbon Project, in which she also coordinates land use emission estimates for the annual global carbon budget, and AIMES ("Analysis, Integration & Modelling of the Earth System”), in which she co-chairs the newly founded working group on human-Earth system interactions. She is also SSC member for two CMIP6 model intercomparison projects, C4MIP (“Coupled Climate Carbon Cycle MIP”), aiming at a better understanding of carbon cycle feedbacks, and LUMIP (“Land Use MIP”), which investigates projections of land use change and their effects on climate to 2100.

For external projects see “Forschungsprojekte” below. Julia Pongratz also leads the joint research group on "Land use in the Earth system” at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, following an Emmy-Noether group on forest management.


+ Two new papers out on the same day: Integrating the evidence for a terrestrial carbon sink caused by increasing atmospheric CO2 (New Phytologist) and Forest production efficiency increases with growth temperature (Nature Communications) [2020/10/21]

+ Impulsvortrag 20.10.2020 beim LMU Design Thinking Workshop „Wie müssen die Besteuerungssysteme im Sinne der Nachhaltigkeit und Digitalisierung transformiert werden?“

+ New paper: Carbon-concentration and carbon-climate feedbacks in CMIP6 models and their comparison to CMIP5 models [2020/10]. Press release at MPI.

+ Virtual seminar to the Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science at University of Leeds on 2020/10/13: "Forests as key drivers of local, regional and global climate"

+ Scientists4Future podcast 2020/06: Klimaeffekte der Landnutzung
+ Virtual seminar at the Max Planck Institute for Ageing on 2020/06/30: Land use change - a prime tool for adaptation and mitigation?
+ Webinar on Forest Management and Land Cover Change under Changing Climate by Julia Pongratz and Pierre Ibisch, 2020/06/23 (recording soon online)
+ Vortrag 11.6.2020 am Zentrum für Kultur und Medien, Karlsruhe: Terrestrische Universität: Grundlagen des Klimawandels
+ Press on our drought paper:



... (1:55)


+ New paper: Warm spring explains half of the 2018 drought [2020/06/10]

+ New paper: European anthropogenic AFOLU greenhouse gas emissions: a review and benchmark data [2020/05/01]

+ Keynote talk at the Open Science conference “Managing forests in the 21st century” (PIK/EFI): "Forests as key drivers of local, regional and global change" [2020/03/05]

+ New paper: Sources of uncertainty in regional CO2 exchange estimates [2020/02/07]
+ Keynote talk at the Institute of Geography, University of Augsburg: “Land-based carbon dioxide removal – risks and opportunities” [2020/02/03]

+ New paper: Can models simulate rainfall manipulation experiments? [2020/02/03]

+ New paper: Forest age in an Earth system model [2020/01/27]

+ Press: Global carbon budget 2019: fossil emissions keep rising (SZ) [2019/12/04]

+ New paper: The global carbon budget 2019 [2019/12/04]

+ Talk at Technical University of Munich, Weihenstephan, Colloquium for Applied Ecology and Planning: “Do forests cool or warm the climate?” [2019/12/02]
+ Seminar talk at the Institute of Evolution and Systematics of Plants and Fungi, LMU: “Do forests cool or warm the climate?” [2019/11/27]
+ Panelist at dena Energiewende-Kongress, Berlin: “Klimaneutralität – Aufbruch zu einer Zielbestimmung” [2019/11/25]

+ BR podcast: Treibhausgase einfach wegräumen? [2019/11/19]

+ New paper: Oversights in Bastin et al forest restoration study [2019/10/18]

+ Vortrag 17.10.2019 & 7.10.2019, 18:30, im Kolloquium der Münchner Geographische Gesellschaft: " 'Fridays for Future' - die wissenschaftlichen Grundlagen" [2019/08/08]
+ Panelist at German Congress for Geography, Kiel: “Zur Diskussion gestellt: Die 10 wichtigsten Forschungsthemen und Herausforderungen für die Geographie”, "Das Anthropozän und die Geographie – eine große Herausforderung?" [2019/09/27& 29]
+ Aspen Global Change Institute. Walter Orr Roberts Public Lecture: “Climate Consequences of Land Management”, Aspen, USA [2019/09/18]
+ Swiss Climate Summer School. Keynote: “Land use change: a prime tool for mitigation and adaptation?”, Ascona, Switzerland [2019/09/09]

+ Press: Der Wald, der Kühlung bringt (Welt Kompakt) [2019/08/05]

+ Press: Was Millionen Bäume bringen (Welt) [2019/08/02]

+ New paper: High roughness is dominating effect of forests for local climate [2019/07/20]

+ Feature on the research focus of the new chair for Physical Geography and Land Use Systems [2019/07/11]

+ Talk at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Institute for Environmental Studies: “Managing climate by managing land”, Amsterdam [2019/06/28]
+ Talk in KlimaCampus Hamburg Colloquium: “Managing climate by managing land”, Hamburg [2019/06/20]

+ Ankündigung: Vortrag im Munich GeoCenter am 17.5.2019, 14 Uhr, HS C006: "Managing Climate by Managing Land"

+ New paper: Strong climate-dependence of potential wood harvest [2019/01/22]

+ New paper: The Max Planck Institute Earth system model MPI-ESM1.2 [2019/01/13]

+ Ankündigung: Antrittsvorlesung am 9.1.2019, 15:00, HS C106: "Ackern für den Klimaschutz"

+ New paper: Non-local effects dominate the biogeophysical effects of deforestation [2018/12/31]

+ Julia Pongratz joining Science's Board of Reviewing Editors [2018/11]

+ New paper: El Niño impacts on land CO2 uptake [2018/10]

+ Aufnahme in den Lenkungsausschuss von "AIMES" [2018/09]

+ Aufnahme in den Global Carbon Project Lenkungsausschuss [2018/05]

    Publications (as of 2019/11)


    Curriculum Vitae



    LAnd MAnagement for CLImate Mitigation and Adaptation (LAMACLIMA) (15.10.2019 - 14.08.2022) >> mehr

    VERIFY - Observation-based system for monitoring and verification of greenhouse gases (01.02.2018 - 01.01.2022) >> mehr