A research network on the functional importance of tree biodiversity
Pro Silva excursion
On June 30, Thomas and his colleagues welcomed forest owners and managers at FORBIO-Zedelgem to discuss the relevance of tree species mixing.
Thomas’ first FORBIO paper published
Thomas saw in the FORBIO experiment that mixing tree species insures young plantations against planting failure. He thus concluded that mixing tree species is highly recommended as a low-risk management strategy. His research is now accepted for publication in Journal of Applied Ecology.
The first FORBIO PhD
Nuri Nurlaila Setiawan defended her PhD on the FORBIO experiment on June 24. She assessed tree growth, crown damage and the crown arthropods in the young saplings of the experiment and used litterbags to study litter decomposition.
MSc thesis defences at Ghent University
Isabelle Clairhout, Sanne Govaert, Manon Pien, and Siebe Verholle successfully defended their MSc theses related to the the TREEWEB platform (see the publications) in June. Manon and Sanne used plasticine caterpillars and tea bags to study the effects of tree species diversity and forest fragmentation on the predation of herbivores and potential litter decomposition rates in the 53 TREEWEB plots. Within the TREEWEB study region, Siebe used radio tracking to investigate the home range and spatial behaviour of great tit in winter. Isabelle used PIT tags, RFID technology, and feeders to study the effects of supplementary feeding on the health of wild birds in the Aelmoeseneie forest.
MSc thesis defences at KU Leuven
Corinne Deffontaine, Valérie Adriaensen and Andries Saerens successfully defended their MSc theses (see the publications) on May 24. They showed a higher productivity in more diverse tree assemblages and a strong crown plasticity in response to tree neighborhood competition in the FORBIO experiment, and the believe of forest managers that adaptation to climate change is urgently needed (FORBIO Climate project).
FORBIO Climate PhD meeting
On April 8, the four PhD students involved in the FORBIO Climate project met in Louvain-la-Neuve to present their preliminary results and discuss their research. Next month, they will reach the half-way point of the project and they are working as hard as they ever were. The next meeting will be held in Leuven in September.
SRC article in Biomass and Bioenergy
Mathias sampled the growth of the Klara, Tordis and Gudrun willow clones at the Short Rotation Coppice plantation in 2011 and 2013. To check whether drought stress drove the diversity effects, thermal images were flown in summer 2013. The research results are now published in Biomass and Bioenergy!
FORBIO 4th annual meeting
On February 10, we met in Louvain-la-Neuve to discuss the status and management of the FORBIO plantations (pruning? thinning?), the ongoing research at the FORBIO sites and in other treediv|Belgium projects, and ideas for future research.
The first treediv|Belgium newsletter gives an overview of the activities within the network between November 2014 and February 2016.
FORBIO article in Biodiversity and Conservation
In summer 2013 and 2014, Nuri sampled the crown arthropods in young saplings of the Gedinne and Zedelgem sites of the FORBIO experiment. She looked for the effects of the tree species richness and composition in the local neighbourhood of saplings on their crown arthropod community composition. The article is now in press!
FORBIO article in Acta Oecologica
In December 2011, Nuri installed litterbags with monoculture and mixed litter in the young plantation at the Zedelgem site of the FORBIO experiment. She looked for the effects of species richness and composition of the litter on its decomposition rate. The results of the litterbag study are now published in Acta Oecologica.