“Nowhere else in Europe, I can study this”
Maria Dolores Perles Garcia is one of this year’s graduates in the master programme Forest Information Technology (FIT) at Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development (HNEE), Germany. With her acquired qualities, she was chosen for a worldwide unique forest project in China as a PhD.
How forests are functioning is Maria Dolores Perles Garcia interest. In the last four semesters of her stud-ies, she learnt many different technologies, which allowed a different perspective on forests by using remote sensing. Foresty 4.0. is the key word, which drew a continuous line through her studies in Eberswalde. “During my Bachelor degree in environmental science I was missing an informative part and for that, I searched for it in my Master studies”, says Maria Dolores Perles Garcia, who learnt at HNEE how to work with LiDAR*, which allows creating a 3D-model of areas in forestry. With the help of the models, it is possible to deduce on the vitality of trees and their treetops. Additionally during her mas-ter thesis, she worked with satellite images, another remote sensing technology. In Kirghizia, she was studying if the location of the tree-shelterbelts affect the crop yield, as well as create a model to predict the biomass volume of the tree-shelterbelts. “My studies in Eberswalde had been the perfect match for me. I was looking for something where I can specialise in the IT field without losing my focus on envi-ronmental issues. Nowhere else in Europe, I can study this”, says the HNEE student.
Because of her knowledge and qualities using LiDAR, Maria was chosen to become part of the interna-tional worldwide unique project called „TreeDì (engl: Tree Diversity Interactions)1“, which is coordinated by the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig. “I will research a forest about 400 km west of Shanghai together with 18 other international PhD students from various scientific backgrounds. The aim is to examine tree-to-tree-interaction and its impact on the ecosystem forest. This is very exciting, because it is a new approach and a project like that has not exist before”, adds Maria Dolores Perles Garcia, who will be working in TreeDì for the next three years starting this month. Each of the PhD thesis will research on one part of the ecosystem such as analysing the roots as well as flora and fauna. Maria Dolores Perles Garcia’s task will be the analysis of effects of local neigh-bours on complementarity in crown architecture of the tree species pairs by quantifying the spatio-temporal dynamics of aboveground growth patterns using Terrestrial laser scanning. “It is considered that aboveground complementarity of resource use has an important mechanism for increased biomass production in diverse tree communities. I need to find out what complementary space occupation and spatial niche differentiation in tree crowns have to do with that”, describes Maria.