Kim Calders discovered his passion for scanning trees when doing his PhD in Hallerbos forest, near Brussels. As a bio-engineer, he has been travelling the world with his LiDAR scanner ever since. Along the way, he has ended up face to face with cassowaries and elephants, and collaborated with artists to make a forest sing. A story in nine pictures.
Nine things you never knew about mushrooms (or should we call them fungi? Or moulds?)
Autumn is the season for mushrooms – they are everywhere, and certainly growing in abundance in forests. But did you know that the mushrooms you see are just a very small part of a vast, gigantic, mainly subterranean network? And that without this network, other plants simply wouldn’t be able to survive?
Ghent University developing the climate-adaptive forest of the future
The last years’ drought has caused stress in trees. Some have stopped growing; others have shed their foliage. Sometimes entire forests have perished. The bioengineers at the Department of Environment (Faculty of Bioscience Engineering) are crossing national borders to try to find out the causes of the problems effecting trees globally and working on a type of forest that can cope with climate change.
Plants can ‘tell’ themselves they are thirsty
“Most people water their plants too much. Or too little. Knowing exactly how much water to give them is not easy,” says Professor Kathy Steppe. She uses sensors to meticulously measure when plants need water and how much.
A ‘tree’mendous tale of natural resilience
What if trees could talk? Well, every so often they do. In doing so, they give a glimpse of the past. For example, a 250-year-old oak in the castle grounds at Elverdinge near Ypres tells us more about the First World War. The tree survived this war, despite the incessant bombs. The Woodlab at Ghent University tells us the touching story of this oak tree.