Welcome at the website of the Forest & Nature Lab (ForNaLab). Our research group is part of the department of Forest and Water Management, of the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering of Ghent University, Belgium. The research group focuses on hypothesis-driven research on the mutual interactions between (forest) ecosystem structure, composition and diversity and (forest) ecosystem processes, based on actual policy or management questions or aimed at providing advice for management and policy.
ForNaLab has a broad experience in (i) studying (forest) vegetation dynamics at several spatio-temporal scales, with special attention for the effects of global change drivers on plant population and community dynamics and (ii) biogeochemical cycling in (forest) ecosystems, with focus on acidification and eutrophication processes, water and nutrient fluxes in ecosystems and the changing soil properties in restored, post-agricultural sites.
The laboratory is headed by Prof. dr. ir. Kris Verheyen and consists of 24 staff members, among which 1 teaching assistant, 11 PhD students, 7 postdocs, 4 laboratory and technical staff members and 1 secretary. Three external PhD students are also associated to our lab.
Clicking the menu on the left will lead you to more information that is kept up-to-date. Feel free to browse around, and tell us what you think of it. If you have any questions, send us an email and we will help you as soon as possible.
- Staff: the current and former lab members
- Projects: information on current, recently finished and past projects of the lab
- Publications: a list of the lab's articles, PhD theses, books etc.
- Services: the services ForNaLab provides
- Networking: the lab's network of national and international institutes and research projects
- Research platforms: a description of the lab's research platforms
- Aelmoeseneie forest: information on the university's forest in Gontrode
Professor Marcel Van Miegroet (†) was the driving force behind the acquisition of the Aelmoeseneie forest in 1967/1968 and the establishment of the lab buildings in Gontrode in the early 1970s. Professor Van Miegroet was the head of the Research Center for Forestry, Operational Forest Management, and Forest Policy until his superannuation in 1987. Research at the lab was oriented towards tree physiology, dendrometry, stand growth, forest operational management, wood production, and forest recreation. Prof. Van Miegroet was one of the first in Belgium to demand attention for the multifunctional character of forests. In 1971, he co-founded the Flemish Forest Society (Vlaamse Bosbouwvereniging - VBV, now BOS+).
In 1988, Professor Noël Lust became the head of the Laboratory of Forestry. The main research topics at the lab fitted into the overall framework of forestry and forest policy research, e.g., forest dynamics, forest conversion, the relationships between soil acidification and forest vitality, and the use of disposed dredged sediments.
Since 2004, Professor Kris Verheyen is the head of the lab. The lab’s research is now focused on understanding interactions between ecosystem processes and the species composition and structure of terrestrial ecosystems. Research results are translated for forest and nature managers and policy makers.
As the research topics changed drastically during the past decades, in 2012, the 'Laboratory of Forestry' became the 'Forest & Nature Lab'.