CAVElab - Computational & Applied Vegetation Ecology

At CAVElab, we study vegetation dynamics, carbon and water cycling of terrestrial ecosystems. CAVElab has a broad interest in all types of terrestrial ecosystems, but currently focuses on the ecology of (tropical) forest ecosystems.

Process-based vegetation modelling is the core research tool of the group, but the questions arising from the modelling work require dedicated field work activities. These fieldwork activities focus on improving uncertain process descriptions within vegetation models and on data-poor regions like the Congo Basin.



  • CAVElab is a member of the Natural Capital platform of the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering at Ghent University, Belgium.
  • CAVElab is a member of CAFRINAT, an international centre of excellence for the African Great Lakes' Natural Capital

Major research lines

  • The role of lianas in the climate response of tropical forests
  • Biogeochemical cycles of tropical forests in the context of climate and land-use change
  • The interaction between functional diversity and biogeochemical cycles in (tropical) forests
  • Methodological aspects of vegetation modelling (i.e. upscaling, data-assimilation, parameter optimisation, uncertainty analysis)
  • Terrestrial laser scanning to study vegetation structure and biomass

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