Matthias Forkel

Projektass. Dr.rer.nat. MSc

Research Group:
Research Area:
Remote sensing and ecosystem modelling to better understand the role of land ecosystems in the Earth system

Gußhausstr. 27-29 / E120 (CB0306)
Wien, 1040
Phone #:
+43 (1) 58801 - 12229
Forkel Matthias



Current research questions

  • What is the role of climate and soil moisture for vegetation and the global carbon cycle?
  • How do climate, vegetation, and socioeconomics affect wildfire activity?
  • How can information from microwave satellites be related to vegetation properties?
  • How can satellite data be used for the development and evaluation of global ecosystem models?




Matthias was born in Zittau, Germany. He received the B.Sc. degree in geography and the M.Sc. degree in geoinformatics from the Friedrich Schiller University Jena in 2008 and 2010, respectively. He performed doctoral research at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry Jena and received the Dr. rer. nat. (PhD) degree from the University Jena in 2015. Matthias is working in the Remote Sensing research group at the Technical University Vienna since 2016. Matthias' main research interest is the use of remote sensing for a better understanding and modelling of terrestrial ecosystems in the Earth system. Specifically, he is interested in 1) how climate variability and soil moisture affect vegetation phenology, productivity and dynamics; 2) how climate, soil moisture, vegetation, and humans affect fire spread and fire emissions; and 3) the role of vegetation dynamics in the global carbon cycle. To disentangle these couplings, Matthias uses various remote sensing and climate datasets, and a variety of methodological approaches like time series analysis (e.g. greenbrown package for trend and phenology analysis), machine learning, global ecosystem models (e.g. LPJmL), atmospheric transport models, and specifcally model-data integration approaches. Matthias' research is funded from a Living Planet Postdoctoral Fellowship of the European Space Agency (CCI4SOFIE) and from EOWAVE (Earth Observation for Water and Vegetation), a Science Award for Wouter Dorigo from TU Wien.