Peter Schütt (forest scientist)

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Peter Schütt (born September 13, 1926 in Berlin ; † October 9, 2010 ) was a German forest scientist . The long-standing professor of forest botany and forest pathology at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich became known to a broad public in the 1980s as one of the scientific protagonists in the debate about the so-called " forest dieback ". In addition, he was a major co-author and editor of a number of standard dendrological works , especially the comprehensive encyclopedia of woody plants that he founded in 1994 .


After Peter bulk 1954 with the dissertation Dendroklimatologische studies on stalk , grape and red oaks on Diluvialstandorten at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences Faculty of the Free University of his hometown Berlin to Dr. rer. nat. After receiving his doctorate, he worked from 1954 to 1961, initially as a research assistant at the Federal Research Institute for Forestry and Wood Management in Reinbek near Hamburg. There he specialized in pine tree breeding . 1963 habilitation he did with Scripture The chute infestation of pine depending on origin and place of production at the Mathematics and Science Faculty of the University of Saarland in Saarbrücken, where he worked from 1961 at the Botanical Institute of the University and in 1969 extraordinary professor was appointed.

But already in the following year he accepted the call of the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich to the chair for anatomy , physiology and pathology of plants (later forest botany and forest pathology), which had previously been vacant for four years . There he worked as a full professor until his retirement in 1994. During this time, Schütt placed a special focus on forest pathology and dendrology in teaching and research and wrote numerous specialist articles on the aetiology and symptomatology of tree diseases. As a phytopathologist and forest botanist, he made significant contributions to research into diseases of forest tree species, to the establishment of stands and breeding selection with a view to improving wood quality . In 1978 he published the textbook General Botany for Foresters together with Werner Koch and Hans Joachim Schuck . A guide for study and practice .

Peter Schütt then became known nationwide in the early 1980s in the course of the debate about the so-called “forest dieback” (new types of forest damage). It was Schütt who introduced the term "forest dying" into the political discussion during a press trip to Pleystein near Vohenstrauß in the Bavarian Forest organized by the Bund Naturschutz in Bayern eV (BN) on May 22, 1981 . The term itself had been coined in a different context by the Swiss forest scientist Hans Leibundgut in 1951 , but had played a subordinate role in specialist circles. It turned out to be a catchy catchphrase for the damage to spruce , silver fir and Scots pines that Schütt demonstrated on site . During this momentous press trip, Schütt also formulated his stress hypothesis, according to which years of environmental pollution have weakened the trees, they are in a state of stress and are no longer fully able to withstand pathogens and animal pests. What was new about it was that such damage no longer occurred in the immediate vicinity of the corresponding pollutant emitters, but also far away and, according to the forest damage researchers, also across the board.

The discussion finally got going when the news magazine Der Spiegel presented the topic to a broader public at the end of 1981 with a three-part series on silent death . As a result, in the “forest dieback” debate, Schütt became the most sought-after scientific contact in the media alongside the Göttingen soil scientist Bernhard Ulrich , who was regularly quoted. Schütt published a number of scientific articles about his research results on the topic, primarily in specialist journals, and was also a major co-author of the environmental bestseller So dies der Wald. Damage pictures and disease progression , which was published in five editions between 1983 and 1986, and the presentation Der Wald dies an Stress (1984), in which he presented his theses in detail and set up an extensive catalog of measures against "forest dying", which politicians and economists implement should. He initiated Europe-wide research programs and gave impetus to various legislative measures for air pollution control . The scientific team that researched with Schütt during these years and contributed to the publications included Helmut Blaschke, Ottmar Holdenrieder , Werner Koch, Klaus Jürgen Lang, Hans Joachim Schuck, Bernd Stimm and Herbert Summerer.

The Federation of Nature Conservation in Bavaria awarded him the Bavarian Nature Conservation Medal for his work in protecting forests.

Aside from the daily debates, Schütt, together with his colleagues and colleagues, also wrote such standard works as the Lexikon der Forstbotanik (1992). His actual scientific lifelong achievement is the encyclopedia of woody plants , which he founded in 1994 and continuously promoted in the following years . Manual and Atlas of Dendrology . Together with more than 30 experts from all over the world, the world's most extensive and comprehensive dendrological work was created, in which all woody plants of importance are to be included in the long term. Initially published as a loose-leaf collection , Trees of the Tropics (2004), Lexicon of Conifers (2004), Encyclopedia of Bushes (2006) and Encyclopedia of Deciduous Trees (2006) were published as independent thematic volumes.

In addition, until 1990 Schütt was editor-in-chief of the internationally renowned specialist journal European Journal of Forest Pathology , which he founded in 1971, and was part of the editorial team of the Central Forestry Gazette .

He was highly valued as an academic teacher and supervised 26 dissertations .

Peter Schütt lived in Hohenpeißenberg .


  • Dendroclimatological studies on pedunculate oaks , grape oaks and red oaks on diluvial sites , dissertation, Berlin 1954, DNB 480458723 (dissertation FU Mathematical and Natural Science Faculty Berlin August 16, 1954, 43 drawn sheets, more sheets with tab .; annex; 4).
  • Breeding with pines
    • Part 1: Individual differences and provenance attempts. Notices from the Federal Research Institute for Forestry and Wood Management, Reinbek bei Hamburg No. 40, Hamburg 1958.
    • Part 2: Crossbreeding, Resistance Breeding and Cytology. Notices from the Federal Research Institute for Forestry and Wood Management, Reinbek bei Hamburg No. 42, Hamburg 1959.
  • The bulk infestation of the pine depending on origin and cultivation location (abridged version in Forstwissenschaftliches Centralblatt , 83rd volume, issue 5/6 1964), Saarbrücken 1963, DNB 482414413 , (Habilitation University of Saarland, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, October 30, 1963, Pages 140–163 with illustrations, 8).
  • World crops. Origin, cultivation conditions, biology and use of the most important agricultural crops , Berlin and Hamburg 1972, ISBN 3-489-78010-8 .
  • together with Werner Koch and Hans Joachim Schuck: General botany for foresters. A guide for study and practice. Parey's Study Texts No. 17, Hamburg and Berlin 1978, ISBN 3-490-08316-4 .
  • as translator and editor: Parey's Book of Trees. Coniferous and deciduous trees in Europe north of the Mediterranean Sea (original title: The trees of Britain and northern Europe ) by Alan Mitchell and John Wilkinson, Hamburg and Berlin 1982 (current: Kosmos, Stuttgart 2004, ISBN 3-440-09962-8 ).
  • as co-author: This is how the forest dies. Damage and disease course. Munich, Vienna and Zurich 1983 (5th, revised edition BLV, Munich, Vienna and Zurich 1986, ISBN 3-405-13101-4 ).
  • together with Klaus Jürgen Lang and Hans Joachim Schuck: Softwoods in Central Europe. Determination, description, cultivation criteria. Stuttgart / New York 1984, ISBN 3-437-20314-2 .
  • as main author, with the collaboration of other authors: The forest dies of stress. Munich 1984 (completely revised and updated edition, Ullstein, Frankfurt am Main and Berlin 1988, ISBN 3-548-34471-2 ).
  • as co-author: Legal protection for the forest. Ecological orientation of the law as a necessity to ensure survival. Law, Justice, Current Affairs (Volume 42), Heidelberg 1986, ISBN 3-8114-3486-1 .
  • Fir species from Europe and Asia Minor , Basel, Boston and Berlin 1991 (currently at ecomed, Landsberg am Lech 1994, ISBN 3-609-69890-X ).
  • as editor and co-author: Lexikon der Forstbotanik. Morphology, pathology, ecology and systematics of important tree and shrub species. Landsberg am Lech 1992 (later under the title Lexicon of Tree and Shrub Species. Morphology, Pathology, Ecology and Systematics of Important Tree and Shrub Species , Nikol, Hamburg 2011, ISBN 978-3-86820-123-9 ).
  • as editor / founder and co-author: Encyclopedia of Woody Plants. Manual and Atlas of Dendrology. Landsberg am Lech 1994, ISBN 3-609-72030-1 (basic work, supplementary series 1995 ff).
  • as editor / founder and co-author: Trees of the tropics. The great encyclopedia etc. Hamburg 2004, ISBN 3-933203-79-1 .
  • as editor / founder and co-author: Lexicon of Conifers. Distribution - Description - Ecology - Use. The great encyclopedia etc. Hamburg 2004, ISBN 3-933203-80-5 .
  • as editor / founder and co-author: Encyclopedia of Shrubs. Hamburg 2006, ISBN 3-937872-40-X .
  • as editor / founder and co-author: Encyclopedia of Deciduous Trees. Hamburg 2006, ISBN 3-937872-39-6 .


  • Peter Schuett. In: Kürschner's German Scholars Calendar 2003. 19th edition. Volume III: Schr - Z. Bio-bibliographical directory of German-speaking scientists of the present. KG Saur, Munich 2003, ISBN 3-598-23607-7 , p. 3066.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d Rainer Matyssek: Peter Schütt 80 years. In: TUM-Mitteilungen 4/2006; Pp. 64-65 pdf ; Retrieved December 29, 2009
  2. Forests instead of forests. In: BUNDmagazin 4/2002, p. 4.
  3. Burkhard Müller-Ullrich : The forest dying - a wrong way , in ders .: Media fairy tale. Thinkers in journalism . Blessing, Munich 1996, ISBN 3-89667-002-6 , pp. 24–34 (see also: Review DIE ZEIT )