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Coordination Team

Ilse Storch studied biology at the universities of Aachen (RWTH) and Munich (LMU), Germany. After a research year in Sweden and a Ph.D. in the Alps, both on wildlife ecological topics, she worked as a researcher and lecturer at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), where she received a postdoctoral degree (habilitation) in conservation biology. She has also worked as an international consultant on almost all continents, and chaired the IUCN Grouse Specialist Group. She became a professor of Wildlife Ecology and Management at Freiburg University in 2004. Ilse and her team are focusing on human impacts on wildlife and aim to contribute to a scientifically sound basis for wildlife management and biodiversity conservation.

Ilse Storch is the spokesperson of ConFoBi. As such, she oversees the coordination and administration, as well as supervising the research on birds and mammals. Ilse Storch believes that ConFoBi forms close links among the participating researchers, triggering interdisciplinary thinking between professors and also the ConFoBi Ph.D. students. She enjoys working with a diversity of people to tackle diverse, inter- and transdisciplinary questions on forest biodiversity. According to Ilse Storch, the biggest strength of ConFoBi is the “all-measurements-on-all-plots” approach, which is also the biggest challenge. This approach ensures that there are continuous and intensive exchanges among disciplines, projects, and the participants involved.


Prof. Dr. Jürgen Bauhus


Jürgen Bauhus is Professor of Silviculture at the Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources at Freiburg University, Germany. Jürgen studied forest sciences in Freiburg, Vienna, and Göttingen. He received his Ph.D. from Göttingen University and spent 2 years as a post-doc at the University of Québec in Montréal to work on the dynamics of mixed-species boreal forests and solutions for their sustainable management. From 1996 to 2003, he worked as a lecturer and senior lecturer in silviculture and tree physiology at the Australian National University, where dynamics of mixed-species plantations and native forests were a focus of his research.

In 2003, he took up the Chair of Silviculture at Freiburg University, where he developed a research program on the structure and dynamics of forests, carbon and nutrient cycles, ecological interactions in forest ecosystems, as well as the adaptation of forests to global change. At Freiburg University, Jürgen established an international M.Sc. Program in Forest Sciences, the graduate school “Environment, Society and Global Change” and served as Dean of the Faculty of Forest and Environmental Sciences from 2011-2013.  He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board on Forest Policy at the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture. In 2014, he received the IUFRO scientific achievement award as the first German forest scientist.

In ConfoBi, Jürgen supervises project A2, Retention of Structural Elements in Selectively-Used Forests and serves as the deputy spokesperson. What he likes most about ConfoBi is the inter- and transdisciplinary approach that is used to study the conservation of biodiversity in managed forests.


Dr. Johannes Penner

Scientific Coordinator

Dr. Penner studied biology at the universities of Tübingen, Edinburgh, and Würzburg with an emphasis on animal ecology and tropical biology. He minored in sociobiology and behavioral physiology and genetics; he also studied botany, rounding out his academics and giving him exceptional tools for his role as coordination director of ConFoBi.

Johannes Penner’s master’s thesis revolved around the patterns of reptile communities in the Kirindy dry forest in Western Madagascar. Following this, his Ph.D. thesis focused on amphibian macro-ecology and the identification of amphibian diversity hotspots in West Africa. The most important aspect of his Ph.D. thesis, which he continues to utilize in his research, is how unique Western Africa’s zoo-geographic region for amphibians is; it is not a subset of Central Africa and rivers play important roles as biogeobarriers.

After his master’s degree, he worked as a researcher in Namibia for BIOTA South (Southern Africa). He continued as a researcher and administrative coordinator of a biodiversity project at the University of Würzburg, in conjunction with the Natural History Museum in Berlin for BIOTA West (Africa). Afterward, he became a freelance consultant for Environmental Impact Assessments in West Africa. This led him to a job working for the EU BON biodiversity project in Europe at the Natural History Museum in Berlin.

Johannes Penner is happy to be at the University of Freiburg because he believes the ConFoBi project and researchers have great potential for linking different disciplines and working to promote biodiversity as an interdisciplinary team. He is honored to be part of the team building something so exciting.


Theresa studied economics with an emphasis on administrative science and environmental economy. Her master’s thesis revolved around climate change and emission allowance trading. After her master’s degree, she worked for an EU-funded environmental organization. She continued working in project management at a Leibniz Institute, where she managed EU funds. At ConFoBi, Theresa wants to use her managerial knowledge to assist a project that helps promote and protect biodiversity.