Beate Jessel was born in Bad Cannstatt, Stuttgart, in 1962 and studied landscape management at the Technical University of Munich from 1982 to 1989. Following her studies she worked as a scientific assistant and project manager at Planungsbüro Schaller, a landscape management consultancy in Kranzberg near Munich.
From 1992 to 1999, Beate Jessel headed the Department of Environmentally Oriented Planning at the Bavarian Academy of Nature Conservation and Landscape Management, Laufen. In 1998 she gained her doctorate in agriculture at the Technical University of Munich under Professor Wolfgang Haber (doctoral thesis: ‘Landscapes as a Subject of Planning: Observations on the Theory of Environmentally Oriented Planning’).
In 1999, Beate Jessel was appointed Professor of Landscape Planning at the University of Potsdam (Institute of Geoecology). In 2006, she moved to the Technical University of Munich, where she held the Chair of Strategy and Management in Landscape Development (Allianz Foundation Professorship).
Beate Jessel has been President of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation since 2 November 2007.