Schwärzel, Kai

Academic Officer

  • Kai Schwärzel
    UNU-FLORES, Ammonstrasse 74, Dresden, 01067, Germany
    +49 (0) 351 8921 9381

    Research Interests

    • Ecosystem services of soils
    • Impact of soil and vegetation and land management on soil’s physical health and soil fertility and carbon pools and green water availability
    • Wastewater use for biomass production


    • Habilitation: Venia Legendi in Soil Science and Ecohydrology, Institute of Soil Science and Site Ecology, TU Dresden, Germany
    • PhD in Soil Physics and Wetlands Management, Institute of Site Ecology and Soil Protection, TU Berlin, Germany
    • Diplom in Geography, and as minors in Chemistry, Geology and Soil Science, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

    Biographical Statement

    Kai Schwärzel is an Academic Officer at UNU-FLORES and leads the Soil and Land-use Management unit. The overall goal of his work is to understand, quantify, and predict processes that control water and matter fluxes in variable saturated soils ranging from the plot to catchment scale. He is using lab and field experiments, as well as numerical modeling, to deal with these problems.

    After completing his PhD, Dr. Schwärzel worked as a Postdoc at the Chair of Site Ecology and Soil Protection, TU Berlin. During his time at TU Berlin, his research focused mainly on the impact of dewatering of wetlands on hydraulic soil properties, water budget, trace gas fluxes, and crop yields.

    In 2004, Dr. Schwärzel became a Senior Researcher at the Institute of Soil Science and Site Ecology at TU Dresden. His research over the last decade has focused on the impact of soils, land use management and climate on water and matter fluxes, and related soil properties. He has studied the functions of soils under various types of land use and management with respect to flood prevention in mountainous regions and with respect to soil physical health. The work of Dr. Schwärzel combines aspects of soil physics/hydrology and soil-plant-atmosphere interactions.

  • Articles

    • Kreiselmeier, Janis, Chandrasekhar, Parvathy, Weninger, Thomas, Schwen, Andreas, Julich, Stefan, Feger, Karl-Heinz and Schwärzel, Kai (2019). Quantification of Soil Pore Dynamics During a Winter Wheat Cropping Cycle Under Different Tillage Regimes. Soil and Tillage Research, 192, 222-232
    • Patra, Sridhar, Julich, Stefan, Feger, Karl-Heinz, Jat, Mangi Lal, Sharma, P. C. and Schwärzel, Kai (2019). Effect of Conservation Agriculture on Stratification of Soil Organic Matter Under Cereal-Based Cropping Systems. Archives of Agronomy and Soil Science, n/a-n/a
    • Chandrasekhar, Parvathy, Kreiselmeier, Janis, Schwen, Andreas, Weninger, Thomas, Julich, Stefan, Feger, Karl-Heinz and Schwärzel, Kai (2018). Why We Should Include Soil Structural Dynamics of Agricultural Soils in Hydrological Models. Water, 10(12), 1-18
    • Zhang, Lulu and Schwärzel, Kai (2018). To Realize Land’s True Value, We Need to Invest In It Wisely. SDG Knowledge Hub, n/a-n/a
    • Schwärzel, Kai, Zhang, Lulu, Strecker, Andreas and Podlasly, Christian (2018). Improved Water Consumption Estimates of Black Locust Plantations in China’s Loess Plateau. Forests, 9(4), 1-21
    • Weninger, Thomas, Bodner, Gernot, Kreiselmeier, Janis, Chandrasekhar, Parvathy, Julich, Stefan, Feger, Karl-Heinz, Schwärzel, Kai and Schwen, Andreas (2018). Combination of Measurement Methods for a Wide-Range Description of Hydraulic Soil Properties. Water, 10(8), 1-15
    • Schwärzel, Kai (2017). China’s Fight Against Desertification Should Not Be Done at the Cost of Water Security., n/a-n/a
    • Zhang, Lulu and Schwärzel, Kai (2017). China’s Land Resources Dilemma: Problems, Outcomes, and Options for Sustainable Land Restoration. Sustainability, 9(12), 1-13
    • Yu, Miaozi, Zhang, Lulu, Xu, Xuexuan, Feger, Karl-Heinz, Wang, Yanhui, Liu, Wenzhao and Schwärzel, Kai (2015). Impact of Land-Use Changes on Soil Hydraulic Properties of Calcaric Regosols on the Loess Plateau, NW China. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, 178(3), 486-498
    • Zhang, Lulu, Feger, Karl-Heinz, Schwärzel, Kai, Podlasly, Christian and Wang, Yanhui (2015). Different Land Management Measures and Climate Change Impacts on the Runoff: A Simple Empirical Method Derived in a Mesoscale Catchment on the Loess Plateau. Journal of Arid Environments, 120, 42-50
    • Renner, Maik, Volk, Martin, Brust, Kristina, Bernhofer, Christian and Schwärzel, Kai (2014). Separating the Effects of Changes in Land Cover and Climate: A Hydro-Meteorological Analysis of the Past 60 yr in Saxony, Germany. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 18, 389-405
    • Zhang, L., Podlasly, C., Ren, Y., Feger, K.H., Wang, Y., Schwärzel, K. (2014). Separating the effects of changes in land management and climatic conditions on long-term streamflow trends analyzed for a small catchment in the Loess Plateau region, NW China. Hydrological Processes: Hydrological Processes 28 (3), 1284-1293.
    • Podlasly, Christian and Schwärzel, Kai (2013). Development of a Continuous Closed Pipe System for Controlling Soil Temperature at the Lower Boundary of Weighing Field Lysimeters. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 77(6), 2157-2163
    • Spank, U., K. Schwärzel, M. Renner, U. Moderow, C. Bernhofer (2013): Effects of measurement uncertainties of meteorological data on estimates of site water balance components. Journal of Hydrology 492: 176–189.
    • Yu, P., Y. Wang, A. Du, G. Wei, Feger, K.H., K. Schwärzel, M. Bonell, W. Xiong, S. Pan (2013): The effect of site conditions on flow after forestation in a dryland region of China. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 178–179: 66–74.
    • Wahren, A., Schwärzel, K., Feger, K.H. (2012). Potentials and limitations of natural flood retention by forested land in headwater catchments: evidence from experimental and model studies. Journal of Flood Risk Management 5 (4), 321-335.
    • Tavares Wahren, F., Helm, B., Schumacher, F., Pluntke, T., Feger, K.H., Schwärzel, K. (2012): A modeling framework to assess water and nitrate balances in the Western Bug river basin, Ukraine. Advances Geoscience 32: 85-92.
    • Benning, R., Schua, K., Schwärzel, K., Feger, K.H. (2012). Fluxes of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Dissolved Organic Carbon in the inflow of the Lehnmühle reservoir (Saxony) as compared to streams draining three main land-use types in the catchment. Advances Geoscience 32, 1-7.
    • Schwärzel, K., Ebermann, S., Schalling, N. (2012). Evidence of double-funneling effect of beech trees by visualization of flow pathways using dye tracer. Journal of Hydrology 470, 184-192.
    • Gauer, J. Feger, K.H., Schwärzel, K. (2011). Measurement and assessment of water dynamics of forest sites within the framework of forest site mapping: current conditions and future requirements. Forest Ecology, Landscape Research and Nature Conservation 12: 7-16.
    • Peters, R., Clausnitzer, F., Bernhofer, C., Feger, K.H., Schwärzel, K. (2011). Impact of soil and stand properties on soil water conditions. Forest Ecology, Landscape Research and Nature Conservation 12: 101-110.
    • Tavares, F., Tarasiuk, M., Mykhnovych, A., Kit, M., Feger, K.H., Schwärzel, K. (2011). Deriving soil information for the application in integrated watershed modelling in the Western Bug catchment, Ukraine. Environmental Earth Sciences 65 (5), 1501-1510.
    • Clausnitzer, F., Köstner, B., Schwärzel, K., Bernhofer, C. (2011). Relationships between canopy transpiration, atmospheric conditions and soil water availability – analyses of long-term measurements in an old Norway spruce forest of the Ore Mountains/Germany. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 151: 1023-1034.
    • Peters, R., Feger, K.H., Schwärzel, K. (2011). Regionalization of the site water balance in forests using fuzzy inference systems. Forest Ecology, Landscape Research and Nature Conservation 12: 111-118.
    • Bernhofer, C., Spank, U., Clausnitzer, F., Köstner, B., Eichelmann, U., Menzer, A., Feger, K.H., Schwärzel, K. (2011). Micrometeorological, plant-ecological, and soil-hydrological measurements in stands of spruce and beech in the Tharandt forest. Forest Ecology, Landscape Research and Nature Conservation 12: 17-28.
    • Schwärzel, K., Carrick, S., Wahren, A., Feger, K.H., Bodner, G., Buchan, G. (2011). Soil hydraulic properties of recently tilled soil under cropping rotation compared with 2-years-pasture: Measurement and modelling the soil structure dynamics. Vadose Zone Journal 11: 354–366.
    • Schwärzel, K.,Peters, R. Petzold, R., Häntzschel, J., Menzer, A., Clausnitzer, F., Spank, U., Köstner, B., Bernhofer, C., Feger, K.H. (2011). Spatially differentiated modeling and evaluation of soil water conditions in forest sites of low mountain ranges. Forest Ecology, Landscape Research and Nature Conservation 12: 119-126.
    • Petzold, R., Schwärzel, K., Feger, K.H. (2011). Transpiration of a hybrid poplar stand in Saxony (Germany) in response to climate and soil conditions. European Journal of Forest Research 130: 695-706.
    • Schwärzel, K., Menzer, A., Spank, U., Clausnitzer, F., Häntzschel, J., Grünwald, T., Köstner, B., Bernhofer, C., Feger, K.H. (2009). Soil water content measurements deliver reliable estimates of water fluxes: A comparative study in a beech and a spruce stand in the Tharandt Forest (Saxony, Germany). Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 149: 1994-2006.
    • Schwärzel, K., Feger, K.H., Häntzschel, J., Menzer, A., Spank, U., Clausnitzer, F., Köstner, B., Bernhofer, C. (2009). A novel approach in model-based mapping of soil water conditions at forest sites. Forest Ecology and Management 258: 2163-2174.
    • Wahren, A., Schwärzel, K., Feger, K.H., Münch, A. (2009). Land-use Effects on Flood Generation – Considering Soil Hydraulic Measurements in Modeling. Advances Geoscience 7: 1-9.
    • Kluge, B., Wessolek, G., Lorenz, M., Facklam, M., Schwärzel, K. (2008). Carbon balance and CO2-C release of drained peatland soils. – European J. Soil Science 59: 1076-1086.
    • Wessolek, G., Schwärzel, K., Greiffenhagen, A., Facklam, M., Renger, M. (2008). Percolation characteristics of a water-repellent sandy forest soil. European J. Soil Science 59: 14-23.
    • Schwärzel, K., Punzel, J. (2007). Hood Infiltrometer – a new type of tension infiltrometer. Soil Science Society American J. 71: 1438-1447.
    • Dietrich, O., Redetzky, M., Schwärzel, K. (2007). Wetlands with Controlled Drainage and Subirrigation Systems – Modelling of the Water Balance. Hydrological Processes 21, 1814-1828.
    • Wahren, A., Schwärzel, K., Feger, K.H. (2007). Identification and model based assessment of the potential water retention caused by land use changes. Advances Geoscience 11, 49-56.
    • Schwärzel, K., Häntzschel, J., Grünwald, T., Köstner, B., Bernhofer, C., Feger, K.H. (2007). Fundamentals of spatial-distributed simulation of water balance of forest sites. Advances Geoscience 11, 43-47.
    • Schwärzel, K., Šimůnek, J., van Genuchten, M. Th., Wessolek, G. (2006). Measurement and modeling of soil-water dynamics and evapotranspiration of drained peatland soils. J. Plant Nutrition Soil Science 169: 762-774.
    • Schwärzel, K., Šimůnek, J. Stoffregen, H., Wessolek, G., van Genuchten, M. Th. (2006). Estimation of the Unsaturated Hydraulic Conductivity of Peat Soils: Laboratory versus Field Data. Vadose Zone J. 5: 628-640.
    • Schwärzel, K., Bohl, H. (2003). An easily installable groundwater lysimeter to determine water balance components and hydraulic properties of peat soils. Hydrology and Earth System Science 7: 23-32.
    • Wessolek, G., Schwärzel, K., Renger, M., Sauerbrey, R., Siewert, C. (2002). Soil hydrology and CO2 mineralization of peat soils. J. Plant Nutrition Soil Science 165: 494-500.
    • Renger, M., Wessolek, G., Schwärzel, K., Sauerbrey, R., Siewert, C. (2002). Aspects of peat conservation and water management. J. Plant Nutrition Soil Science 165: 487-493.
    • Schwärzel, K., Renger, M., Sauerbrey, R., Wessolek, G. (2002). Soil physical characteristics of peat soils. J. Plant Nutrition Soil Science 165: 479-486.
    • Wessolek, G., Schwärzel, K. (2001). Wasser- und Stoffumsatz in Niedermooren. Geographische Rundschau, 5.


    Book Chapters

    • Chandrasekhar, Parvathy, Reetsch, Anika, Patra, Sridhar, Ardakanian, Reza and Schwärzel, Kai, “Advancing the Soil-Water-Waste Nexus approach for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals” in Soil and Sustainable Development Goals, ed. Lal, Rattan, Horn, Rainer and Kosaki, Takashi ( Stuttgart: Catena Soil Sciences, imprint of E. Schweizerbart'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung (Nägele u. Obermiller),2018), 126-138.
    • Zhang, Lulu and Schwärzel, Kai, “Applying Multifunctionality to Address the Challenges and Benefits of Land-Use Management” in Multifunctional Land-Use Systems for Managing the Nexus of Environmental Resources ( Cham: Springer International Publishing,2017), 1-10.
    • Zhang, Lulu and Schwärzel, Kai, “Implementation of Multifunctional Land Management: Research Needs” in Multifunctional Land-Use Systems for Managing the Nexus of Environmental Resources ( Cham: Springer International Publishing,2017), 137-148.
    • Wang, Yanhui, Yu, Pengtao, Xiong, Wei, Tian, Ying, Yu, Zhijia, Hu, Yongqiang, Xu, Lihong, Zuo, Haijun and Schwärzel, Kai, “Multifunctional Forestry and Forest Management: Eco-hydrological Considerations” in Multifunctional Land-Use Systems for Managing the Nexus of Environmental Resources ( Cham: Springer International Publishing,2017), 109-135.
    • Schwärzel, Kai, Ardakanian, Reza, Avellán, Tamara and Zhang, Lulu, “Nexus Approach: Resource Management for Soil Productivity” in Encyclopedia of Soil Science, Third Edition, ed. Lal, Rattan ( Florida: CRC Press,2016), 1530-1534.
    • Lamersdorf, N., Petzold, R., Schwärzel, K., Feger, K.H., Köstner, B., Moderow, U., Bernhofer, C., Knust, C. (2010). Bodenökologische Aspekte von Kurzumtriebsplantagen. In: A. Bemmann, C. Knust (Hrsg.): AGROWOOD – Kurzumtriebsplantagen in Deutschland und europäische Perspektiven. Weissensee-Verlag, Berlin, S. 170-188, ISBN: 9783899981599.
    • Petzold, R., Schwärzel, K., Feger, K.H. (2009). Wasserhaushalt von Kurzumtriebsplantagen. In: T. Reeg, A. Bemmann, W. Konold, D. Murach, H. Spiecker (Hrsg.): Anbau und Nutzung von Bäumen auf landwirtschaftlichen Flächen. Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, S. 181-191, ISBN 9783527324170.
    • Wahren, A., Schwärzel, K., Feger, K.H. (2008). Uncertainties in the parameterisation of rainfall-runoff-models to quantify land-use effects in flood risk assessment. In: Samuels, P., Huntington, S., Allsop, W., Harrop, J. (Eds.): Flood Risk Management: Research and Practice. CRC Press/Balkema Proceedings and Monographs in Engineering, Water and Earth Science, pp. 1479 – 1483, Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN: 9780415485074.
    • Dietrich, O., M. Redetzky, K. Schwärzel (2007). Modeling Water Balances of Wetlands with controlled Drainage and Sub-irrigation Systems. In: Okruszko, T., Maltby, E., Szatylowicz, J., Miroslaw-Swiatek, D., Kotowski, W., (eds.) Wetlands: modelling, monitoring, management. Taylor & Francis Group. London. A.A. Balkema Publisher. pp. 231-238, Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN: 9780415408202
    • Lorenz, M., Schwärzel, K., Wessolek, G. (2005). Auswirkungen von Klima- und Grundwasserstandsänderungen auf Bodenwasserhaushalt, Biomasseproduktion und Degradierung von Niedermooren im Spreewald. In: Wechsung, F.; Becker, A. & Gräfe, P. (Eds.) Integrierte Analyse der Auswirkungen des Globalen Wandels auf Wasser, Umwelt und Gesellschaft im Elbegebiet. Weissensee-Verlag, Berlin, S. 284-293, ISBN: 389998062X.