Maximizing forest ecosystem performance

Do mixed forests, where different tree species grow together, outperform the monocultures of those species in terms of their stability and ecosystem processes (e.g. primary productivity, pest resistance)?

This is a question central to 'functional biodiversity research', which is the study of the relationships between biodiversity and various aspects of ecosystem functioning.

  • We established a large experiment manipulating tree diversity in three Belgian sites of ca 8 ha each ('FORBIO', representing Belgian forest types).
  • We coordinate a global network of similar experiments ('TreeDivNet', covering different biomes).
  • We designed a novel European-scale network of research plots varying principally in tree biodiversity ('FunDivEUROPE', covering six major European forest types).

We provide hands-on advice to forest managers on which tree species and tree species combinations maximize forest ecosystem performance in various environmental contexts. We inform policy makers about the role of biodiversity conservation in forests.


Prof. Kris Verheyen