Minister of Agriculture Julia Klöckner honors fire ecologist Johann Goldammer

Award of the gold Professor Niklas Medal of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture to Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Johann Georg Goldammer

October 07, 2020

In honor of his important contribution to the preservation of the cultural and natural landscapes of Eurasia, the Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, Julia Klöckner, awarded the gold Professor Niklas Medal to Prof. Johann Georg Goldammer on October 6, 2020. Thanks to his scientific work and his great dedication, he contributed significantly to the prevention and containment of forest fires worldwide. Minister Klöckner honored Goldammer on the occasion of the political thanksgiving celebrations in Berlin.

Goldammer has conducted research at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry since 1990. During this period he set up the fire ecology working group and founded the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) at the Faculty of Enironment and Natural Resources at the University of Freiburg. Its main task is to promote the transfer of scientific findings from fire ecology and related fields of research such as biogeochemistry, atmospheric chemistry and climatology into political decisions and, above all, into practical application. The relevance of this scientific work is reflected, on the one hand, in the forest fires currently escalating due to climate change (e.g. in California), and, on the other hand, in the excessive use of fire to transform valuable ecosystems into other land-use systems, such as in the tropical rainforests of Brazil.

The Professor Niklas Medal is the highest distinction awarded by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). It is named after the first Minister of Agriculture of the Federal Republic of Germany, who was in office from 1949 to 1953. It is awarded to individuals who have distinguished themselves by outstanding merit and outstanding commitment in the food, agriculture and forestry sectors. Prof. Klaus Töpfer, who was honored in 2017 for his special commitment as Federal Environment Minister and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program, is also among the award winners.

At present, Johann Georg Goldammer is chairman of the independent Commission for the Development of Management Strategies for Forest Fires in Greece. He was also appointed by the Ukrainian Environment Minister four weeks ago to chair the working group to develop a national strategy for the management of Ukrainian forest fires.

The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture has funded research and development projects of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in the field of fire ecology for more than ten years through its department “Sustainable Forestry and International Forest Conservation”. Currently, scientific cooperation is supported with the development or relevant research work in two of the five Regional Fire Management Resource Centers (GFMC) in Indonesia and Ukraine.

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