Pascal Boeckx and Kris Verheyen are Meritorious East-Flemings of 2021

(10-01-2022) On Monday 10 January 2022, Pascal Boeckx and Kris Verheyen were awarded the Meritorious East Fleming of the Year 2021 trophy for their work in the fight against climate change.

"Professor Verheyen and Professor Boeckx each contribute with their expertise to increasing the knowledge about climate change and how we can arm ourselves against it. Their knowledge, and by extension that of all their colleagues, helps to shape climate policy. Every policy level, and consequently the Province too, can only be grateful for this," says Riet Gillis, representative of the Province of East Flanders.

Professor Kris Verheyen and Professor Pascal Boeckx have been committed from the start of their careers to researching and addressing aspects of climate issues and specific elements of 'global change'. In 2021, both bioengineers were included in the renowned Reuters Hot List, a list of the most influential climate scientists worldwide.

Kris Verheyen is professor of forest ecology and forest management and head of the Forest & Nature Laboratory at the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering. His recent research includes the importance of smaller forests in our fight against climate change.

Professor Pascal Boeckx coordinates the Isotope Bioscience Laboratory at Ghent University, which studies, among other things, biogeochemical cycles and CO2 uptake in tropical forests and the influence of climate change on these processes. Together with his team, Professor Boeckx recently placed the very first 'climate tower' in the Congolese rainforest. The data provided by the tower is important for a better understanding of the CO2 absorption capacity of the Congolese rainforest and for refining regional vegetation models.
Boeckx was also actively involved with the IPCC in the past.

Climate change is urgent

With this recognition, Riet Gillis, deputy of the Province of East Flanders, wants to stress the importance of the work that climate scientists do in the fight against climate change.

"The year 2021 was, more than ever, another year of the fight against global warming. We witnessed the climate crisis unfold dramatically before our very eyes, including unprecedented floods in the south of our country and unseen high temperatures at the end of the year."

"The scientific consensus on climate change and its impact is greater than ever. On the other hand, further scientific research remains essential, especially since a transition to less greenhouse gas emissions remains difficult. The work of Pascal Boeckx, Kris Verheyen and their colleagues is exceptionally important in this regard."