Prof. Dr. Christine Schmitt

Research themes
  • Land use and food security
  • Environmental and climate change
  • Ecosystem services
  • Sustainable use of natural resources
  • Biodiversity
  • Agriculture, land use, climate change
Research countries
  • Germany
  • Ethiopia
  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Peru
Research projects

Improving dietary quality and livelihoods using farm and wild biodiversity through an integrated community-based approach in Kenya (2019-2022,  leader wild edible plants group, with Bioversity International, Nairobi, Kenya)

FSS Project: Implementation of food security criteria within biomass sustainability standards (Oct-Dec 2020, interim project lead at ZEF)

Floristic affiliation and diversity patterns of African tropical mountain forests (2019-2020, leader diversity analysis, data synthesis initiative with University of York, UK)

Reconciling human livelihood needs and nature conservation in East African forest biodiversity hotspots (2016-2019, leader vegetation group)

BiomassWeb - Improving food security in Africa through increaed system productivity of biomass-based value webs (2013-2018, project coordinator)

Working groups

Working Group on Biogeography (AK Biogeo)

ZEF Biodiversity Working Group

ZEF Gender Working Group

University of Bonn Transdisciplinary Research Area 'Innovation and Technology for Sustainable Futures'


2018-2020: Contributions to Bonn International Graduate School for Development Research (BIGS-DR) and Agricultural Sciences and Resource Management in the Tropics and Subtropics (ARTS) Seminar Series, University of Bonn, Germany

2015-2020: Private docentship, University of Freiburg, Germany (contribution to study programmes in the Forest and Environmental Sciences B.Sc./M.Sc.)

2016-2019: Lead of field classes in Vegetation Ecology in Kenya organized through the project "Reconciling human livelihood needs and nature conservation in East African forest biodiversity hotspots"

11/2017: Contribution to 'Think Landscape' course at ZEF, Bonn; in collaboration with WUR, GLF and others -

04/2015: Freiburg University College, Germany (International Nature Conservation B.Sc., 10-days course with seminars and excursions)

10/2014: Baden-Wuerttemberg Certificate of Academic Didactics, University of Freiburg, Germany

Additional Information:

Host of international fellows

2018: Dr. Seid Dawud from Ethiopia - project: Meeting biodiversity and climate goals through forest restoration in Ethiopia, DFG-TWAS Cooperation Visits Programme

2015-2016: Joelle Mukungu from DRC - project: How to achieve effective participation of communities in the monitoring of REDD+ projects: A case study on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Alexander von Humboldt International Climate Protection Fellowship

2011-2012: María Jeaneth Delgado-Aguilar from Ecuador - project: Biodiversity assessment in the national REDD+ strategy of Ecuador,  Alexander von Humboldt International Climate Protection Fellowship

Supervision of
ongoing doctoral theses

since 2020: Su Mon San - Managing forest encroachment with an integrated approach of remote sensing and social science: A case study in Myanmar (first supervisor)

since 2019: Wyclife Oluoch - Availability and sustainable harvesting of wild edilble plants in Turkana County, Kenya. (first supervisor)

since 2019: Karen Veridiano - Policy, practice and people: towards science-based climate-adaptive tropical forest management in the Philippines. (first supervisor)

since 2016: Sebastian Brackhane - Potential for wilderness areas to meet the German National Biodiversity Strategy goals. (first supervisor)

Supervision of
completed doctoral theses

2013-2020: Dr. Daniel Akoto-Sarfo - Bamboo agroforestry for household energy and food security in Ghana: An exploratory study. (first supervisor)

2012-2017: Dr. María Jeaneth Delgado-Aguilar - Integration of remote sensing techniques and information on ecosystem services to measure tropical forest degradation: a case study from Ecuador. (first supervisor)

2013-2016: Dr. Bertrand Festus Nero - Urban green spaces enhance carbon sequestration and conserve biodiversity in the global South – case of Kumasi, Ghana. (second supervisor)

2009-2014: Dr. Steffen Entenmann - Consideration of forest biodiversity conservation in REDD+ implementation: an analysis of actors’ views in Kenya and Peru. (tutor)

Professional experience

Since 01 April 2021, I hold the Chair of Physical Geography with a focus on Human-Environment Research at the University of Passau, Germany.


2015: Habilitation from University of Freiburg, Germany (Venia legendi: Landscape management and nature conservation)

2006: PhD in Geography from University of Bonn, Germany (Dr. rer. nat.)

2000: Diplom in Landscape Ecology from University of Münster, Germany

Funding institutions



Research affiliation

Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, Germany

Chair of Nature Conservation and Landscape Ecology, University of Freiburg, Germany -


Brackhane S, Reif A, Zin E & Schmitt CB.  2021.  Are natural disturbances represented in strictly protected areas in Germany?.  Global Ecology and Conservation, e01436   : 21   . (Open Access)   Further Information
Cuni Sanchez, A., M. Sullivan, P.Platts, C. Schmitt.  2021.  High aboveground carbon stock of African tropical montane forests.  Nature, 596 (7873)   . Further Information


Akoto DS, Partey ST, Denich M, Kwaku M, Borgemeister C & Schmitt CB.  2020.  Towards bamboo agroforestry development in Ghana: evaluation of crop performance, soil properties and economic benefit.  Agroforestry Systems,   . (Open Access)   Download [PDF]
Further Information
Akoto DS, Partey ST, Denich M, Kwaku M, Borgemeister C & Schmitt CB.  2020.  Environmental and financial assessment of producing bioenergy from Bambusa balcooa, Anogeissus leiocarpa and Senna siamea in Ghana.  Journal of Cleaner Production, 275   : 123147   . Further Information
Aleman JC & 32 co-authors, including Schmitt CB.  2020.  Floristic evidence for alternative biome states in tropical Africa.  PNAS,   : 1-8   . Further Information
Avilés-Irahola D, Beuchelt T, Schmitt CB, Nischalke S, Youkhana E & Geiger F.  2020.  Gender inequalities show and deepen in times of pandemic.  ZEF blog post ZEF blog post. Further Information
Callo-Concha D, Jaenicke H, Schmitt CB & Denich M.  2020.  Food and non-food biomass production, processing and use in sub-Saharan Africa: Towards a regional bioeconomy, Editorial.  Sustainability, 12   : 1-9   . (Open Access)   Download [PDF]
Further Information
Callo-Concha D, Jaenicke H, Schmitt CB & Denich M (Eds.).  2020.  Advances in Food and Non-Food Biomass Production, Processing and Use in Sub-Saharan Africa: Towards a Basis for a Regional Bioeconomy.  Edited book (434 pages), MDPI. Basel, Switzerland. (Open Acess) Further Information
Habel JC, Nzau JM, Apfelbeck B, Bendzko T, Fischer C, Kimatu JN, Mwakumanya MA, Maghenda M, Mulwa RK, Rieckmann M, Shauri H, Teucher M & Schmitt CB..  2020.  Land scarcity, communication gaps and institutional confusions influence the loss of biodiversity in south-eastern Kenya.  Biodiversity and Conservation,   : 1-7   . Further Information
Muscarella R & 222 co-authors, including Schmitt CB.  2020.  The global abundance of tree palms.  Global Ecology and Biogeography, DOI: 10.1111/geb.13123   : 1-20   . (Open Access)   Further Information
Schmitt CB, Börner J & Luedeling E.  2020.  Planting trees - no all-round solution for climate change mitigation.  ZEFNews 41. Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn.   p. 10.  (Open Acess)  Further Information
Teucher M, Schmitt CB, Wiese A, Apfelbeck B, Maghenda M, Pellikka P, Lens L & Habel JC.  2020.  Behind the fog: Forest degradation despite logging bans in an East African cloud forest.  Global Ecology and Conservation,   . (Open Access)   Further Information


Brackhane S, Schoof N, Reif A & Schmitt CB.  2019.  A new wilderness for Central Europe? — The potential for large strictly protected forest reserves in Germany.  Biological Conservation, 237   : 373-382   . Further Information
Delgado-Aguilar MJ, Hinojosa L & Schmitt CB.  2019.  Combining remote sensing techniques and participatory mapping to understand the relations between forest degradation and ecosystems services in a tropical rainforest.  Applied Geography, 104   : 65-74   . Further Information
Denich M, Schmitt CB & Wakjira FS.  2019.  Kaffee in Äthiopien – Die Bedeutung des Waldes.  In: Jahreis M, Marquart S & Möllers N (eds.): Kosmos Kaffee. German Museum Munich, Germany.   22-26. 
Schmitt C.B. and J. Mukungu.  2019.  How to achieve effective participation of communities in the monitoring of REDD+ projects: A case study in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  Forests, 10   : 794   . (Open Access)   Download [PDF]
Schmitt CB & Maghenda M.  2019.  Reconciling human livelihood needs and nature conservation.  ZEFNews 39. Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn.   p. 6.  Further Information
Schmitt CB, Kisangau D & Matheka KW.  2019.  Tree diversity in a human modified riparian forest landscape in semi-arid Kenya.  Forest Ecology and Management, 433   : 645-655   . Further Information
Schmitt CB, Frank A & Zander K.  2019.  Workshop report - Strategies for ecosystem and species conservation: Exploring lessons learnt from Australia and Africa.  Download [PDF]
Further Information
Veldman JW & 45 co-authors including Schmitt CB.  2019.  Comment on “The global tree restoration potential”.  Science, Vol. 366, Issue 6463   : eaay7976   . Further Information


Biber-Freudenberger L, Denich M, Whitney C, Beuchelt T, Jaenicke H, Kelboro G, Schmitt CB & Sommer JH.  2018.  More inter- and transdisciplinary research needed in agroecology.  Rural 21, 2   : 31-33   .
Fayolle A & 27 co-authors including Schmitt CB.  2018.  A sharp floristic discontinuity revealed by the biogeographic regionalization of African savannas.  Journal of Biogeography, DOI: 10.1111/jbi.13475   : 1-12   . Further Information
Schmitt CB.  2018.  Field notes from the Taita Forests, Kenya.  ZEF Blog Further Information
Slik F & 183 co-authors, including Schmitt CB.  2018.  Phylogenetic classification of the world’s tropical forests.  PNAS, 115 (8)   : 1837-1842   . Further Information


Delgado-Aguilar MaJ, Fassnacht FE, Peralvo M, Gross CP & Schmitt CB.  2017.  Potential of TerraSAR-X and Sentinel 1 images to detect deforested and degraded forest areas in complex rain forests of Ecuador.  The International Forestry Review , 19(1)   : 102-118   . Further Information
Delgado-Aguilar MaJ, Konold W & Schmitt CB.  2017.  Community mapping of ecosystem services in tropical rainforest of Ecuador.  Ecological Indicators, 73   : 460-471   . Further Information
Schmitt CB, Crowther TW, Demissew S, Matheka K & Senbeta F.  2017.  RE: The extent of forest in dryland biomes.  Science, e-letter   :   . Further Information


Hudson LN and 514 co-authors, including Schmitt CB.  2016.  The database of the PREDICTS (Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems) Project.  Ecology and Evolution, DOI: 10.1002/ece3.2579   : 1-44   . (Open Access)   Download [PDF | 1.55MB]


Schmitt CB.  2015.  Global patterns of biodiversity in forests.  In: Peh K, Corlett R & Bergeron Y (eds.): The Routledge Handbook of Forest Ecology. Routledge, Oxford, UK.  
Slik, F. & 171 co-authors, including Schmitt CB.  2015.  An estimate of the number of tropical tree species.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 112 (24)   : 7472–7477   . Further Information


Entenmann S, Kaphegyi T & Schmitt CB.  2014.  Forest biodiversity monitoring for REDD+: A case study of actors' views in Peru.  Environmental Management , 53   : 300-317   .
Entenmann S, Schmitt CB & Konold W.  2014.  REDD+-related activities in Kenya: actors’ views on biodiversity and monitoring in a broader policy context.  Biodiversity and Conservation, 23   : 3561-3586   .
Senbeta F, Schmitt CB, Woldemariam T, Boehmer HJ & Denich M.  2014.  Plant diversity, vegetation structure and relationship between plant communities and environmental variables in the Afromontane forests of Ethiopia.  Ethiopian Journal of Science, 37(2)   : 113-130   .


Entenmann S & Schmitt CB.  2013.  Actors' perceptions of forest biodiversity values and policy issues related to REDD+ implementation in Peru.  Biodiversity and Conservation, 22   : 1229-1254   .
Pistorius T & Schmitt CB.  2013.  The Protection of Forests under Global Biodiversity and Climate Policies: Policy Options and Case Studies on Greening REDD+.  German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) . Bonn, Germany. (Open Acess) Download [PDF | 2.05MB]
Schmitt CB.  2013.  Global tropical forest types as support for the consideration of biodiversity under REDD+.  Carbon Management, 4   : 501-517   .
Schmitt CB, Senbeta F, Woldemariam T, Rudner M & Denich M.  2013.  Importance of regional climates for plant species distribution patterns in moist Afromontane forest.  Journal of Vegetation Science , 24   : 553-568   .


Gardner TA, Burgess ND, Aguilar-Amuchastegui N, Barlow J, Berenguer E, Clements T, Danielsen F, Ferreira J, Foden W, Lees AC, Roman-Cuesta RM, Parry L, Schmitt CB, Strange N, Khan SM, Theilade I & Vieira ICG.  2012.  A framework for integrating biodiversity concerns into national REDD+ programmes.  Biological Conservation, 154   : 61-71   .
Kapos V, Kurz WA, Gardner T, Ferreira J, Guariguata M, Koh LP, Mansourian S, Parrotta J, Sasaki N, Schmitt CB, Barlow J, Kanninen M, Okabe K, Pan Y, Thompson ID & van Vliet N.  2012.  Impacts of forest and land management on biodiversity and carbon.  In: Parrotta A, Wildburger C & Mansourian S (eds.): Understanding Relationships between Biodiversity, Carbon, Forests and People: The Key to Achieving REDD+ Objectives. IUFRO, Vienna, Austria.   53-80. 
Thompson ID, Ferreira J, Gardner T, Guariguata MR, Koh LP, Okabe K, Pan Y, Schmitt CB, Tylianakis J, Barlow J, Kapos V, Kurz WA, Parrotta JA, Spalding MD & van Vliet N.  2012.  Forest biodiversity, carbon and other ecosystem services: relationships and impacts of deforestation and forest degradation.  In: Parrotta A, Wildburger C & Mansourian S (eds.): Understanding Relationships between Biodiversity, Carbon, Forests and People: The Key to Achieving REDD+ Objectives. IUFRO, Vienna, Austria.   21-52. 


Entenmann S & Schmitt CB.  2011.  REDD+ as a contribution to conservation and connectivity of World Heritage Forest Sites.  In: Patry M, Horn R & Haraguchi S (eds.): Adapting to change. The state of conservation of World Heritage Forests in 2011. UNESCO, Paris, France.   32-38. 
Pistorius T, Schmitt CB, Benick D, Entenmann S & Reinecke S.  2011.  Greening REDD+ – challenges and opportunities for integrating biodiversity safeguards at and across policy levels.  German Journal of Forest Research, 182   : 82-98   .
Pistorius T, Schmitt CB, Benick D, Entenmann S & Reinecke S.  2011.  Greening REDD+: Challenges and opportunities for forest biodiversity conservation. 
Schmitt CB.  2011.  A tough choice: Approaches towards the setting of global conservation priorities.  In: Zachos FE & Habel JC (eds.): Biodiversity Hotspots. Springer Publishers, Berlin, Heidelberg, Germany.   23-42. 


Schmitt CB, Denich M, Demissew S, Friis I & Boehmer HJ.  2010.  Floristic diversity in fragmented Afromontane rainforests: Altitudinal variation and conservation importance.  Applied Vegetation Science, 13   : 291-304   .
Schmitt CB, Senbeta F, Denich D, Preisinger H & Boehmer HJ.  2010.  Wild coffee management and plant diversity in the montane rainforest of southwestern Ethiopia.  African Journal of Ecology, 48 (1)   : 78–86   . Further Information


Schmitt CB, Burgess ND, Coad L, Belokurov A, Besançon C, Boisrobert L, Campbell A, Fish L, Gliddon D, Humphries K, Kapos V, Loucks C, Lysenko I, Miles L, Mills C, Minnemeyer S, Pistorius T, Ravilious C, Steininger M & Winkel G.  2009.  Global analysis of the protection status of the world's forests.  Biological Conservation, 142   : 2122-2130   .
Schmitt CB, Denich M & Boehmer HJ.  2009.  Plant diversity and conservation of Afromontane rainforest with Coffea arabica in the Bonga region (SW Ethiopia).  In: van der Burgt, X., van der Maesen, J. & Onanan, J.-M. (eds.): Systematics and Conservation of African Plants. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.   679-690. 
Schmitt CB, Pistorius T & Winkel G.  2009.  Global conservation of forest biodiversity: Options for a forest protected area network under the CBD.  Schriftenreihe Naturschutz und Biologische Vielfalt 84, German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN). Bonn, Germany.


Schmitt CB, Pistorius T & Winkel G.  2007.  A global network of forest protected areas under the CBD: Opportunities and challenges. Proceedings of an International Expert Workshop, Freiburg, May 9-11, 2007.  Freiburger Schriften zur Forst- und Umweltpolitik 16. Verlag Kessel. Remagen, Germany.


Schmitt CB.  2006.  Schutz und Nutzung der biologischen Vielfalt von Bergregenwald mit wildem Kaffee (Coffea arabica L.) in der Bonga-Region Südwest-Äthiopiens.  In: Korn, H. and U. Feit (eds.): Treffpunkt Biologische Vielfalt VI, BfN-Skripten. Bundesamt für Naturschutz: Bonn.   121-126. 
Schmitt CB.  2006.  Montane rainforest with wild Coffea arabica in the Bonga region (SW Ethiopia): plant diversity, wild coffee management and implication.  Doctoral thesis at  Faculty of Math. & Nat. Science, University of Bonn.  Ecology and Development Series 47, Cuvillier Verlag, Göttingen, Germany   Further Information
Schmitt CB, Senbeta F, Denich M, Preisinger H & Böhmer HJ.  2006.  Impact of traditional coffee management on the biodiversity of natural coffee forests in Bonga region (SW Ethiopia).  In: Society for Tropical Ecology (eds.): 19th Annual Conference “Connecting microbes, plants, animals and human impact”, book of abstracts. University of Kaiserslautern: Kaiserslautern.   221. 
Schmitt CB, Senbeta F, Denich M, Preisinger H & Böhmer HJ.  2006.  Impact of wild coffee management on plant diversity in montane rainforest of the Bonga region (SW Ethiopia).  In: National Biodiversity Data Bank (eds.): Biodiversity in inhabited areas of Eastern Africa, abstracts and programme. Makerere University und University of Dar es Salaam: Makerere, 43-44.  


Schmitt CB, Senbeta F, Denich M, Preisinger H, Woldemariam T & Demissew S.  2005.  Sustainable management of the montane rainforests with wild coffee (Coffea arabica L.) in the Bonga region of Southwest Ethiopia.  In: Tielkes, E., C. Hülsebusch, I. Häuser, A. Deininger and K. Becker (eds.): The Global Food & Product Chain - Dynamics, Innovations, Conflicts, Strategies, book of abstracts Tropentag 2005. University of Hohenheim: Stuttgart.   78. 
Senbeta F, Schmitt CB, Denich M, Demissew S, Vlek P, Preisinger H, Woldemariam T & Teketay D.  2005.  The diversity and distribution of lianas in the Afromontane rain forests of Ethiopia.  Diversity and Distributions, 11   : 443-452   .


Schmitt CB & Ruhnau M.  2002.  Sortenvielfalt als Chance für den pestizidfreien Apfelanbau.  In: BUKO Agrar Koordination (eds.): Biologische Vielfalt und Ernährungssicherung. BUKO Agrar Dossier 25. Schmetterlingsverlag: Stuttgart.   114-120. 


Schmitt CB, Broll GE, Kuyper TW & Onguene NA.  2001.  Mycorrhizal selectivity of three timber tree species in the tropical rainforest of South Cameroon.  Mitteilungen der Deutschen Bodenkundlichen Gesellschaft 96, .

Additionals, Curriculum Vitae
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Christine Schmitt

Associated Researcher

Private website:

Ecology and Natural Resources Management


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