Background Information


Martin Faustmann

Martin Faustmann, born in Giessen on 19 February 1822, studied forestry at the University of Giessen at the chair of Carl Justus Heyer. In 1846 and 1848, he took the Universal States Examinations with excellent grades. From around 1846 on, he was co-editor of the “Allgemeine Forst- und Jagd-Zeitung” AFJZ (General Journal of Forestry and Hunting), which was a reputable science journal already at that time. In the AFJZ of 1849 Faustmann’s seminal article “Berechnung des Werthes, welchen Waldboden, sowie noch nicht haubare Holzbestände für die Waldwirthschaft besitzen” – “Calculation of the Value which Forest Land and Immature Stands Possess for Forestry” appeared.

In 1857, he became a head forester for Hessia-Darmstadt in the Babenhausen Forest District near Darmstadt. There, he died in 1876 at the age of 54.

Commemorative plaque to Martin Faustmann in Harreshausen forest.
(Schäfer (2000): Martin Faustmann- Ein Leben für den Forst)

Besides considering forest economic questions, Martin Faustmann developed also a tool for measuring the height of trees, the so-called Mirror Hypsometer, which was presented in the AFJZ in 1856. On the picture below, you can recognize the expanded mirror on which the height of the tree is readable.

The Hypsometer invented by Faustmann
(Schäfer (2000): Martin Faustmann- Ein Leben für den Forst)

The Faustmann Formula

In his seminal 1849 article, Faustmann embraced his considerations to forest soil valuation by a formula (the Faustmann formula or land expectation formula), which has been widely used ever since. Through it, the name Martin Faustmann has become world-famous.


The famous Faustmann formula.
(Schäfer (2000): Martin Faustmann- Ein Leben für den Forst)

Faustmann’s intellectual effort should not be cheapened, nevertheless, it has to be added that already König published articles in 1813 and 1835 where the thoughts underlying the Faustmann formula can be found. Moreover, suggesting a simple solution for the contentious issue of rotation period optimization is first of all thanks to Pressler. These scientific achievements are important milestones in the field of forest economy.

The Faustmann Symposium

Celebrating the 150th anniversary of the formula in 1999, the First International Faustmann Symposium was successfully held at the Hunting Castle of Kranichstein near Darmstadt. The second conference took place from April 20-22, 2005 in Baton Rouge, Louisana. The Third International Faustmann Symposium is organized this year in order to celebrate the conference’s decennial.

A list of the papers presented at the first conference you can find here (3,5 MB).


The First International Faustmann Symposium 1999.
(Chang (1999): Proceedings of the International Symposium 150 Years of the Faustmann Formula: Its Consequences for Forestry and Economics in the Past, Present and Future)


2009 Institute of
Forest Economics
TU Mnchen