Semi-natural grasslands

 

To counteract the loss of species-rich grasslands and heathlands throughout Europe and other parts of the world, agricultural land is converted into semi-natural ecosystems. However, in spite of these restoration and management efforts, much is still unknown about how ecosystem development proceeds, and whether aboveground developments are indicative for restoring and conserving communities and processes in the soil. We therefore study ecological restoration of semi-natural grasslands and heatlands, and focus on multiple factors. We aim to improve our understanding of how nutrient availability and soil biota interact in modulating plant community development trajectories. Our research combines both fundamental and more applied research, large-scaled mesocosm experiments and observational studies to understand the underlying mechanisms and to be able to give science-based advice to managers.

 

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Current projects

  1. Development trajectories in below-above-ground plant communities driven by nutrient availability and soil biota (more info)
  2. Impact of bioavailable phosphorus on plant and soil microbial community interactions in grassland under restoration management (more info)
  3. Restoration of 6510 Lowland Hay meadows (Alopecurus pratensis, Sanguisorba officinalis) in the Sigma Areas along the Nete and Zenne: study of soil and hydrochemical characteristics (more info)
  4. Restoration of species-rich grasslands: do's and don'ts for managers (more info)
  5. Restoration of species-rich vegetation types via P mining (more info)

Finished projects

  1. Defining guidelines for climate adaptation in the management of nature reserves in Flanders (more info)
  2. Impact of bioavailable phosphorus on plant and soil microbial community interactions in grassland under restoration management (more info)
  3. Impact of hemiparasitic plants on grassland communities and biogeochemistry (more info)
  4. Phytoextraction of phosphorus: an attainable measure for nature development? (more info)
  5. Scenarios of topsoil removal and P mining for habitat restoration in Smeetshof (more info)
  6. Seed ecology of common juniper (Juniperus communis) (more info)
  7. The P bottleneck in the vegetation development towards species-rich grasslands in Fondatie-Heernisse (more info)
  8. Connectivity of the Natura 2000 network across the Belgian-Dutch borders in the Meuse basin (more info)