Faculty of Natural Sciences Faculty News and events
Tribute to Hansjörg Küster | 1998–2022 Professor at the Institute of Geobotany

Tribute to Hansjörg Küster | 1998–2022 Professor at the Institute of Geobotany

The Faculty of Natural Sciences sadly announces the loss of Professor Dr. Hansjörg Küster.

It is with deep sadness that we bid farewell to Prof Dr Hansjörg Küster, who passed away in February 2024 at the age of 67. As Professor of Plant Ecology at the Institute of Geobotany at Leibniz University Hannover since 1998, he inspired entire generations of students in his field. His interest in research and teaching focussed on understanding the interaction between humans and nature over different periods of time, particularly in a landscape context, paving the way for his modern understanding of ecology.

Hansjörg Küster became known for his pioneering publications on the history of forests in Central Europe and on landscape history. His research areas ranged from the basics of ecology to vegetation and landscape history. Under his leadership, several important third-party funded projects of the EU, the German Research Foundation and the Volkswagen Foundation were successfully realised.
Early on, Hansjörg Küster was not only interested in biology, but also in teaching it. He was therefore particularly committed to the teaching profession: he not only wrote for specialised publishers, but also for textbook publishers since his contact with the Biology education. In his lectures, excursions and practical courses, he never tired of emphasising the role that the training of future teachers plays for Leibniz University Hannover.

Hansjörg Küster has made a name for himself both in the scientific community and among the general public. Through his co-operation with the Biology education, he also shaped the ideas of numerous schoolchildren. In books and essays, he vividly analysed the shaping of the Central European landscape and the forest through human influence and forestry. He presented his theories, for example on the shortage of wood, not only in scientific publications, but also in newspaper articles and media appearances.
Hansjörg Küster has inspired numerous people with his view of nature and culture in a landscape context through his works published by Beck-Verlag. His new book "Das Watt. Wiege des Lebens" has now been published posthumously by C.H. Beck in March 2024.

In May 2023, Hansjörg Küster was awarded the Lower Saxony Order of Merit 1st Class by Minister President Stephan Weil in recognition of his 18 years of voluntary work as President of theLower Saxony Heritage Society (Niedersächsischer Heimatbund), 2004–2022, in the areas of nature and environmental protection, exploration and maintenance of the cultural landscape, heritage conservation and local history.

Hansjörg Küster was a researcher and teacher with heart and soul, always friendly and humorous towards people; he was a highly honoured mentor, reliable friend and valued colleague, whose death fills us with great sadness. His enthusiasm and legacy live on in the works he left to academia and the public and in the inspiration he gave to numerous students, pupils and readers of his books.

It is with gratitude and respect that we remember our highly honoured colleague, an extraordinary person and scientist who leaves a lasting gap in our community.
Our sincere condolences go out to his family.