Knowledge atlas Science

Forest Management - Ecological/Sustainable Forest Management

DE_13_Rüggeberg_Forest and Future_Product_1

The ecosystem forest has been used by humans for centuries (forestry). The Chair of Forest Utilization at the traditional site of Tharandt near Dresden researches and teaches all aspects of human use in order to maintain the balance of this ecosystem in the future. In addition to preserving biodiversity, this also includes the importance of the water balance in the forest for climate stability or climate change resilience of the forest, as well as the sustainable and nature-compatible use of the valuable resource wood.

Name of Field in the local language
Umweltwissenschaften, Forstwissenschaften
Area of Expertise
Forest Utilization
Scientists / Scientific team
Markus Rüggeberg, Professor of Forest Utilization, (degree in biology, material science specialization in plants/wood, teaching: wood material, processing of wood). Workshop staff: 1 carpenter, 2 locksmiths. The entire Department of Forestry consists of 16 professorships and 800 students (approximately 120 students start the bachelor’s degree and 60 students start the master’s degree each semester).
Location, Institution, Website
Tharandt near Dresden, Technical University Dresden, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Department of Forest Sciences, Institute of Forest Utilization and Forest Technology, Chair of Forest Utilization Link to website
Type of Institution

Laboratory and research space
Wood processing: wood workshop for research processing, metal workshop for experimental apparatus and repairs. Sample preparation laboratory for anatomical wood cuts and analysis. Testing laboratory for mechanical examination of wood to investigate the relationships between material behavior and wood anatomy. Electron microscopy. 3D printing laboratory for wood residues. Office rooms of the employees.
Materials and equipment
Forest, Wood
Technology / Tools / Machines
Tools for woodworking. Tools for metalworking. Possibilities to mechanically test wood, testing machines to mechanically test wood (especially bending, destroying). Electron microscopes, the only scanning electron microscope in Eastern Germany specialized in wood and other plant cells. 3D printers. Digital analysis instruments. Laboratory equipment for sample preparation.
Research Methods / Processes
Depending on the respective research project: wood anatomical and wood physical examinations, test/measurement series, interdisciplinary research.

Most impactful project
The research projects of the Chair of Forest Utilization are concerned with the efficient, sustainable, and ecologically sensible use of the valuable resource wood and the preservation of the associated ecosystem forest. The management of the forest in times of climate change, the conversion of the forest for the preservation of biodiversity, and the circular use of the material wood. The research results of the Chair of Forest Utilization include, for example, the use of waste materials from the wood industry through additive manufacturing using a 3D printing process developed here, with which individually shaped products can be manufactured. In addition, a research project is currently underway in cooperation with architects, in which the waste-free production of curved wood structures is being investigated by developing a new, predictable, and controllable self-forming process that exploits the curvature properties of the wood.

Due to the rapid development of the Saxon mining industry in the 18th century and the associated high demand for wood, the increasing devastation of the forests soon made a regulation of forestry necessary. In order to train the necessary experts, the world’s oldest forestry school was founded in Tharandt near Dresden in 1811. In 1929, it was affiliated with the Dresden University of Technology (today: Technical University Dresden) and still houses the Department of Forest Sciences, where a total of 16 different professorships research and teach on the subject of forests and wood from a social, economic and material-technical perspective.

Wood As Precious Resource

The versatility of the Chair of Forest Utilization finds its expression in the various research projects and industrial contracts on the subject of wood/tree. In addition to wood anatomical research in the macroscopic and microscopic areas, research is conducted in the field of tree ring-width chronology and age determination of woods. The Chair is also the only one in the German-speaking area that deals with the interaction between forest utilization/forestry and wood quality. Furthermore, the Chair deals with the development of materials from wood and other renewable raw materials, including for use in 3D printing, and with forestry by-products.

The basic principle of all research projects at the Chair is to understand wood as a precious resource, which, even though it is renewable, is only available in a limited quantity. Therefore, research on the circular economy of wood is particularly included. For application-oriented research, cooperation is carried out with professional partners from practice, for example with architects on the topic of curved wood structures or with designers on 3D printing with wood. The interdisciplinary collaboration with external practice partners always has a feedback effect on the research, e.g. by adjusting certain material properties in the development process or providing new insights.