Prof. Dr. rer. nat. habil. Hans Jürgen Böhmer

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. habil. Hans Jürgen Böhmer
Nienburger Straße 17
30167 Hannover
Prof. Dr. rer. nat. habil. Hans Jürgen Böhmer
Nienburger Straße 17
30167 Hannover
Institute of Geobotany

Focal points in research and teaching

Focal Points in Research & Teaching

  • Integrative Vegetation Ecology
  • Disturbance Ecology
  • Biological Invasions
  • Conservation Biology
  • Environmental Planning
  • Policy Advice
  • Holistic Mentoring (K.G. Hollywood et al. 2016)
  • Research interests

    My Background

    I have been studying the responses of plants to environmental pressures for more than 30 years. I am particularly interested in the space-time dynamics of forests and pastures under the influence of natural and human disturbances, biological invasions, and land-use changes.

    From an early age, I developed an interest in plant behavior and how plants coexist in communities, which motivated me to pursue a career in botany and nature conservation. These interests have led me from the forests and refuges of my homeland—the Franconian Alb (Bavaria)—to ecosystems in the European Alps, and the forests of Labrador, Mongolia, East Africa, Hawaii, and Fiji.

    Research & Policy Advice

    My main research focus is integrative vegetation ecology, an approach to studying vegetation dynamics that accounts for both natural and human variables. Studying ecosystems impacted by humans requires integrating knowledge from local actors in many sectors, including agriculture, forestry, nature conservation, and urban planning. To capture the full context of these ecosystems, I integrate perspectives from local stakeholders with both novel research findings and legacy data.  

    I believe applied research is key to addressing societal challenges, which has motivated my long-term commitment to nature conservation, environmental planning and policy advising. A key policy achievement was advising Member States of the Pacific Island Development Forum (PIDF) on issues related to sustainable forest development under climate change in preparation for the Paris Climate Change Conference (COP 21).

    I am a founding member of IUFRO´s (International Union of Forest Research Organization) () Task Force “Monitoring Global Tree Mortality Patterns and Trends”, and coordinator of this network for the South Pacific. As Deputy Coordinator of the IUFRO Working Group 4.02.01 Resource Data in the Tropics, I ensure data from previous tropical forest research projects (i.e., legacy data) is available for future research.

    Teaching & Mentoring

    I believe mindful self-care is the foundation for creating a more sustainable world.

    As a teacher and mentor, I help my employees and mentees develop an individual and integrative strategy for self-fulfillment that leverages their unique combination of skills and experiences. My objective is to help individuals use their personal resources efficiently to fulfill their goals and attain a healthy work-life balance. Equality, optimism, and compassion are the core values that drive my teaching and mentoring work.

    I enjoy working with and supporting scientists of all ages, from undergraduates to professors. I help individuals tackle a range of personal and professional challenges, such as career issues, self-doubt, work-life imbalances, and work overload. My goal is to ensure my mentees find the career path that best suits them. In guiding my employees and students, I take a holistic approach, which means that career planning must be balanced with sustainable life planning.

    In addition to teaching and mentoring as a professor at the Institute of Geobotany, I am a mentor in the Mentoring for Scientists program at the Technical University of Munich.

    Academic Editorial Work

    • Endangered Species Research (Editor)
    • Journal of Ecology
    • Forest Ecology & Management
    • Biological Conservation
    • Ecological Applications
    • Applied Vegetation Science
    • Science of the Total Environment
    • Natural Hazards
    • Phytocoenologia
    • others


    Scientific Memberships

    • European Geosciences Union (EGU)
    • International Biogeography Society (IBS)
    • Society for Ecology (GfÖ)
    • Deutscher Hochschulverband (DHV; German Association of University Professors)
    • Verein zur Erforschung der Flora des Regnitzgebietes e. V.
  • Curriculum vitae

    November 2022-present. Professor. Institute of Geobotany. Leibniz University Hannover (Germany).

    2020-2022.Visiting Professor (during COVID pandemic). Chair of Geoinformatics, Institute of Geography. Friedrich Schiller University, Jena (Germany).

    2014-2020. Professor of Biogeography. School of Geography, Earth Science and Environment (SGESE). University of the South Pacific (USP) (Fiji); 2015 – 2017. Director (Head of School). School of Geography, Earth Science and Environment (SGESE). University of the South Pacific (USP) (Fiji).

    2006-2014. Managing Director and Scientific Director. Interdisciplinary Latin America Center (ILZ) of the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn under the umbrella of the Center for Development Research (ZEF).

    2007-2014. Appointment as Adjunct Associate Professor (PD). Department of Ecology and Ecosystem Management. Technical University of Munich (TUM) (Germany).

    2006. Habilitation. Venia legendi for Landscape Ecology. Department of Ecology and Ecosystem Management. Technical University of Munich (TUM) (Germany).

    2004 – 2006. Substitution and establishment of the newly created professorship for Plant Geography. Department of Geography. Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University Bonn (Germany).

    2003. Postdoctoral Fellow. Department of Conservation Biology (lab of Prof. Dr. Klaus Henle). Environmental Research Centre Leipzig-Halle (UFZ) (Germany).

    2002-2003. Affiliate Faculty. University of Hawaii at Hilo (USA).

    1999 – 2003. Postdoctoral Fellow. Department of Botany (lab of Prof. Dr. Dieter Mueller-Dombois). Habilitation Fellowship of the German Research Foundation (DFG). University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu (USA).


    Education & Training

    1994-1998.  Ph.D. (summa cum laude). Institute of Geography (lab of Prof. Dr. Uwe Treter). Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg (Germany). Dissertation title: Vegetation dynamics in high mountains under the influence of natural disturbances.

    1993. M.Sc. Geography. Minor subjects: Biology and Geology. Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg (lab of Prof. Dr. Uwe Treter) (Germany). Thesis title: The vegetation in the catchment area of the Glatzbach (Hohe Tauern, Austria).

    1990. B.A. Geography. Minor subjects: Political Science and Science Communication/Journalism. Otto-Friedrich-University of Bamberg (Germany).

    1988. Internship. Department of Landscape Ecology. Landesbund für Vogelschutz in Bayern (Bavarian Society for the Protection of Birds) (Germany).

    1986-1987. Military Service (Germany).