(re)Building ecosystems


This small research team focuses on development of ecosystems on soils that are polluted, nutrient enriched or otherwise impacted by humans.

This implies/includes ecological restoration on nutrient enriched soils and growing trees on metal polluted soils, in agricultural systems and urban areas.


Our experience covers green spaces (plants and ecosystems) in an intensively used landscape, i.e. including urban areas.

You can consult us for advice on phytoremediation of polluted sites, ecological restoration, development of high quality urban green and management of non-forest trees (e.g. short rotation forestry for biomass production).

Research interests

  • Ecological restoration on nutrient enriched soils
  • Phytostabilization of metal polluted soils
  • Agroforestry
  • Short rotation forestry
  • Restoration of urban ecosystems


  • Rol van fosfor en bodembiota bij het herstel van soortenrijke vegetatietypes via uitmijnen
  • AGFORPRO: Agroforestry in Flanders: an economically viable solution for the demand for agro-ecological production methods
  • Tree species effects on Cd and Zn mobility after afforestation of contaminated soils in the Campine region (northern Belgium)
  • Demonstration project for ecological restoration in Overmeers, Ghent


Prof. Jan Mertens
Prof. Jan Mertens
Stephanie Schelfhout
Stephanie Schelfhout
An De Schrijver
An De Schrijver

Master thesis students

  • Thierry Heyman - Optimale gewaskeuze en -rotatie voor het uitmijnen van fosfor
  • Laura Eschauzier - Vergelijking korte-omloophout en populierenteelt voor biomassa: rendabiliteit en bodemcompactie
  • Warre Schauwvliege - Verticale spreiding van nachtvlinders in bos
  • Maarten Schelstraete - Assessment of fire damage on the forest population near Hamoye, Kavango, Namibia
  • Veronique Van Poeyer - Wegwijzer voor succesvolle groenschermen
  • Corneel Martens