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Markus Steffens
(Dr. rer. nat)

Department of Soil Sciences
Group lead Climate
Ackerstrasse 113
CH-5070 Frick

Phone +41 (0)62 865-0418
Fax +41 (0)62 865-7273

Organic farming and climate change


Steffens Markus

Activity areas

  • Group lead Climate
  • Climate and agriculture

Training / professional career

  • Since 2017 Group lead Climate at FiBL Switzerland
  • 2009 - 2017 Assistant professor Chair of Soil Science, Technical University of Munich
  • 2004 - 2009 Research associate, Chair of Soil Science, Technical University of Munich (PhD)
  • 1998 - 2004 Applied Environmental Sciences, Trier University (Diploma)


Publications in the Organic Eprints archive

Publications that are not in the Organic Eprints archive

Journals with peer-review


  • Hobley, E., Steffens, M., Bauke, S.L., Kögel-Knabner, I. (2018): Hotspots of soil organic carbon storage revealed by laboratory hyperspectral imaging. Scientific reports 8: 1-13.
  • Mayer, Stefanie; Schwindt, Daniel; Steffens, Markus; Völkel, Jörg und Kögel-Knabner, Ingrid (2018): Drivers of organic carbon allocation in a temperate slope-floodplain catena under agricultural use. Geoderma, 327, S. 63-72.
  • Müller, Adrian; Steffens, Markus; Krause, Hans-Martin; Bautze, Lin; Meier, Matthias und Stöckli, Sibylle (2018): What can organic farming contribute? Rural21, 51 (4), S. 20-22.
  • Rennert, Thilo; Höschen, Carmen; Rogge, Derek und Steffens, Markus (2018): Small‐scale distribution of copper in a Technosol horizon studied by nano‐scale secondary ion mass spectrometry. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 32 (11), S. 851-861.


  • Leifeld, J., Alewell, C., Bader, C., Krüger, J.P., Müller, C.W., Sommer, M., Steffens, M., Szidat, S. (2017): Pyrogenic carbon contributes substantially to carbon storage in intact and degraded northern peatlands. Land degradation and development, DOI: 10.1002/ldr.2812; IF: 8.145
  • Lehtinen, T., Lair, G.J., van Leeuwen, J.P., Gísladóttir, G., Bloem, J., Ragnarsdóttir, K.V., Steffens, M., Blum, W.E.H. (2017): Soil aggregation and soil organic matter in conventionally and organically farmed Austrian Chernozems. Die Bodenkultur 68: 41-55; IF: 0.18
  • Mueller, C.W., Hoeschen, C., Steffens, M., Buddenbaum, H., Hinkel, K., Bockheim, J.G., Kao-Kniffin, J. (2017): Microscale soil structures foster organic matter stabilization in permafrost soils. Geoderma, 293: 44-53; IF: 4.036
  • Näthe, Kerstin; Delphis, F. Levia; Steffens, Markus und Michalzik, Beate (2017): Solid-state 13C NMR characterization of surface fire effects on the composition of organic matter in both soil and soil solution from a coniferous forest. Geoderma, 305, S. 394-406.
  • Steffens, Markus; Rogge, Derek M.; Mueller, Carsten W.; Höschen, Carmen; Lugmeier, Johann; Kölbl, Angelika und Kögel-Knabner, Ingrid (2017): Identification of Distinct Functional Microstructural Domains Controlling C Storage in Soil. Environmental Sciences & Technologiy, 51 (21), S. 12182-12189.


  • Burud, I., Moni, C., Flo, A., Futsaether, C., Steffens, M., Rasse, D.P. (2016): Qualitative and quantitative mapping of biochar in a soil profile using hyperspectral imaging. Soil and Tillage Research 155: 523-531; IF: 2.622
  • Hoffmann, C., Giese, M., Dickhoefer, U., Wan, H., Bai, Y., Steffens, M., Liu, C., Butterbach-Bahl, K., Han, X. (2016): Effects of grazing and climate variability on grassland ecosystem functions in Inner Mongolia: Synthesis of a 6-year grazing experiment. Journal of Arid Environments 135: 50-63; IF: 1.641
  • Mouazen, A.M., Steffens, M., Borisover, M. (2016): Reflectance and fluorescence spectroscopy in soil science – Current and future research and developments. Soil and Tillage Research 155: 448-449; IF: 2.622
  • Zak, D.R., Freedman, Z.B., Upchurch, R., Steffens, M., Kögel-Knabner, I. (2016): Anthropogenic N deposition increases soil organic matter accumulation without altering its biochemical composition. Global Change Biology 23(2): 933-944; IF: 8.502


  • Schreiner, S., Buddenbaum, H., Emmerling, C., Steffens, M. (2015): Vis/NIR/SWIR Laboratory imaging spectroscopy for wall-to-wall mapping of elemental concentrations in soil cores. Photogrammetrie, Fernerkundung, Geoinformation 2015/6: 423-435; IF: 0.733
  • Christophel, D., Höllerl, S., Prietzel, J., Steffens, M. (2015): Long-term development of soil organic carbon and nitrogen stocks after shelterwood- and clear-cutting in a mountain forest in the Bavarian Limestone Alps. European Journal of Forest Research 134: 623-640; IF: 2.095
  • Lehtinen, T., Gísladóttir, G., Lair, G.J., van Leeuwen, J.P., Blum, W.E.H., Bloem, J., Steffens, M., Ragnarsdótt, K.V. (2015): Aggregation and organic matter in subarctic Andosols under different grassland management. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section B — Soil & Plant Science 65(3): 246-263; IF: 0.646
  • Wiesmeier, M., Munro, S., Barthold, F., Steffens, M., Schad, P., Kögel-Knabner, I. (2015): Carbon storage capacity of semi-arid grassland soils and sequestration potentials in Northern China. Global Change Biology 21(10): 3836-3845; IF: 8.502


  • Regan, K.M., Nunan, N., Boeddinghaus, R.S., Baumgartner, V., Berner, D., Boch, S., Oelmann, Y., Overmann, J., Prati, D., Schloter, M., Schmitt, B., Sorkau, E., Steffens, M., Kandeler, E., Marhan, S. (2014): Seasonal controls on grassland microbial biogeography: are they governed by plants, abiotic properties or both? Soil Biology and Biochemistry 71: 21-30; IF: 3.932
  • Rennert, T., Händel, M., Höschen, C., Lugmeier, J., Steffens, M., Totsche, K.U. (2014): A NanoSIMS study on the distribution of soil organic matter, Fe and Mn in a nodule from a Stagnosol. European Journal of Soil Science 65(5): 684-692; IF: 2.649
  • Steffens, M., Kohlpaintner, M., Buddenbaum, H. (2014): Fine spatial resolution mapping of soil organic matter quality in a Histosol profile. European Journal of Soil Science 65(6): 827-839; IF: 2.649


  • Baumann, K., Sanaullah, M., Chabbi, A., Dignac, M.-F., Bardoux, G., Steffens, M., Kögel-Knabner, I., Rumpel, C. (2013): Changes of litter chemistry and soil lignin signature during decomposition and stabilisation of 13C labelled wheat roots in three soil horizons. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 67: 55-61; IF: 3.932
  • Baumann, K., Dignac, M.-F., Rumpel, C., Bardoux, G., Sarr, A., Steffens, M., Maron, P.-A. (2013): Soil microbial diversity affects soil organic matter decomposition in a silty grassland soil. Biogeochemistry 114(1-3): 201-212; IF: 3.488
  • Giese, M., Brueck, H., Gao, Y.Z., Lin, S., Steffens, M., Kögel-Knabner, I., Glindemann, T., Susenbeth, A., Taube, F., Butterbach-Bahl, K., Hoffmann, C., Bai, Y.F., Han, X.G. (2013): N balance and cycle of Inner Mongolia typical steppe: a comprehensive case study of grazing effects. Ecological monographs 83(2): 195-219; IF: 7.107
  • Neculman, R., Rumpel, C., Matusa, F., Godoy, R., Steffens, M., de la Luz Mora, M. (2013): Organic matter stabilisation in two Andisols of contrasting age under temperate rain forest. Biology and Fertility of Soils 49(6): 681-689; IF: 3.398
  • O’Toole, A., Knoth de Zarruk, K., Steffens, M., Rasse, D.P. (2013): Characterization, stability, and plant effects of kiln-produced wheat straw biochar. Journal of Environmental Quality 42(2): 429-436; IF: 2.652
  • Steffens, M., Buddenbaum, H. (2013): Laboratory imaging spectroscopy of a stagnic Luvisol profile - High resolution soil characterisation, classification and mapping of elemental concentrations. Geoderma 195-196: 122-132; IF: 4.036


  • Buddenbaum, H., Steffens, M. (2012): The effects of spectral pretreatments on chemometric analyses of soil profiles using laboratory imaging spectroscopy. Applied and Environmental Soil Science, DOI 10.1155/2012/274903
  • Buddenbaum, H., Steffens, M. (2012): Mapping the distribution of chemical properties in soil profiles using laboratory imaging spectroscopy, SVM and PLS regression. EARSeL eProceedings 11(1): 25-32
  • Dümig, A., Häusler, W., Steffens, M., Kögel-Knabner, I. (2012): Clay fractions from a soil chronosequence after glacier retreat reveal the initial evolution of organo–mineral associations. Geochimica and Cosmochimica Acta 85: 1-18; IF: 4.331
  • Leifeld, J., Steffens, M., Galego-Sala, A. (2012): Sensitivity of peatland carbon loss to organic matter quality. Geophysical Research Letters 39; IF: 4.196
  • Wiesmeier, M., Steffens, M., Mueller, C.W., Kölbl, A., Reskowska, A., Peth, S., Horn, R., Kögel-Knabner, I. (2012): Aggregate stability and physical protection of soil organic carbon in semi-arid steppe soils. European Journal of Soil Science 63: 22-31; IF: 2.649
  • Wiesmeier, M., Kreyling, O., Steffens, M., Schoenbach, P., Wan, H., Gierus, M., Taube, F., Kölbl, A., Kögel-Knabner, I. (2012): Short-term degradation of semiarid grasslands—results from a controlled-grazing experiment in Northern China. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, 175(3): 434-442; IF: 1.459
  • Wu, H., Wiesmeier, M., Yu, Q., Steffens, M., Han, X., Kögel-Knabner, I. (2012): Labile organic C and N mineralization of soil aggregate size classes in semiarid grasslands as affected by grazing management. Biology and Fertility of soils 48(3): 305-313; IF: 3.398


  • Buddenbaum, H., Steffens, M. (2011): Laboratory Imaging Spectroscopy of Soil Profiles. Journal of Spectral Imaging, DOI: 10.1255/jsi.2011.a2
  • Kölbl, A., Steffens, M., Wiesmeier, M., Hoffmann, C., Funk, R., Krümmelbein, J., Zhao, Y., Peth, S., Horn, R., Giese, M., Kögel-Knabner, I. (2011): Grazing-induced changes of topsoil properties and their interaction on different spatial scales in a semiarid grassland ecosystem in Inner Mongolia, P.R. China. Plant and Soil 340(1-2): 35-58; IF: 2.952
  • Leopold, M., Völkel, J., Dethier, D., Huber, J., Steffens, M. (2011): Characteristics of a paleosol and its implication for the Critical Zone development, Rocky Mountain Front Range of Colorado, USA. Applied Geochemistry 26(Supplement): S72-S75; IF: 2.268
  • Schneider, K., Leopold, U., Gerschlauer, F., Barthold, F., Giese, M., Steffens, M., Hoffmann, C., Frede, H.-G., Breuer, L. (2011): Spatial and temporal variation of soil moisture in dependence of multiple environmental parameters in semi-arid grasslands. Plant and soil 340(1-2): 73-88; IF: 2.952
  • Steffens, M., Kölbl, A., Schörk, E., Gschrey, B., Kögel-Knabner, I. (2011): Distribution of soil organic matter in fractions and aggregate size classes in grazed semiarid steppe soils. Plant and soil 338(1-2): 63-81; IF: 2.952


  • Abe, S. S, Mueller, C. W., Steffens, M., Kölbl, A., Knicker, H., Kögel-Knabner, I. (2009): Effects of land-use change on chemical composition of soil organic matter in tropical lowland Bolivia. Grassland Science 55: 104-109; IF: 0.627
  • Steffens, M., Kölbl A., Kögel-Knabner I. (2009): Alteration of soil organic matter pools and aggregation in semiarid steppe topsoils as driven by OM input. European Journal of Soil Science 60(2): 198-212; IF: 2.649
  • Steffens, M., Kölbl, A., Giese, M., Hoffmann, C., Totsche, K.U., Breuer, L., Kögel-Knabner, I. (2009): Spatial variability of topsoils and vegetation in a grazed steppe ecosystem in Inner Mongolia (P.R. China). Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science 172(1): 78-90; IF: 1.459
  • Wiesmeier, M., Steffens, M., Kölbl, A., Kögel-Knabner, I. (2009): Degradation and small-scale spatial homogenization of topsoils in intensively grazed steppes of Northern China. Soil and Tillage Research 104: 299-310; IF: 2.622

2005 - 2008

  • Steffens, M., Kölbl, A., Totsche, K.U., Kögel-Knabner, I. (2008): Grazing effects on soil chemical and physical properties in a semiarid steppe of Inner Mongolia (P.R. China). Geoderma 143(1-2): 63-72; IF: 4.036 2007
  • Zhao, Y., Peth, S., Krümmelbein, J., Horn, R., Wang, Z., Steffens, M., Hoffmann, C., Peng, X. (2007): Spatial variability of soil properties affected by grazing intensity in Inner Mongolia grassland. Ecological Modelling 205: 241-254; IF: 2.321
  • Hertweck, G., Wehrmann, A., Liebezeit, G., Steffens, M. (2005): Ichnofabric zonation in modern tidal flats: palaeoenvironmental and palaeotrophic implications. Senckenbergiana maritima (now Marine Biodiversity)35(2): 189-201; IF: 1.104
  • Wolters, A., Steffens, M. (2005): Photodegradation of Antibiotics on Soil Surfaces: Laboratory Studies on Sulfadiazine in an Ozone-Controlled Environment. Environmental Science & Technology 39(16): 6071-6078; IF: 5.330

Journals without peer-review


  • Steppenböden als Klimaretter? TUM-Bodenkundler entzaubern eine Umweltschützer-Hoffnung. Press release of the Technische Universität München, 14.05.2009 (http://www.wzw.tum.de/index.php?id=185&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=106&cHash=5581651a9733b167a21c0cf9e1e65670)

Book chapters

  • Muller, A., Meier, M., Steffens, M., Gattinger, A., Schader, C., 2018, Measuring and improving the environmental impact of organic farming, in: Köpke, U., Improving organic crop cultivation. Cambridge, UK: Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing Limited

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