Different research units from several Flemish universities and research institutes collaborate together within the ECOPLAN project.

Ecosystem Management Research Group (UAntwerpen)

The Ecosystem Management Research Group (ECOBE) is involved in fundamental and applied research on ecological processes in watercourses and wetlands, as well as in research at the integrative level of management of ecosystems and river basins. The main objective of the research group is to provide a sound scientific basis for nature and ecosystem management from both the perspective of ecosystem functioning and integrated water management issues. The gained knowledge is disseminated towards different target groups (scientists, students, governmental institutions, public and private companies) throughout courses, workshops, publications and participation in advisory boards, commissions etc.

The ecosystem service research within the group focuses on methodologies and concepts to optimize ecosystem services generation through the creation, restoration and management of ecosystems. The group conceptualizes ecosystem functioning in relation to ecosystem services, including their landscape interactions and external forcings (e.g. climate change) and develops concepts and methodologies to identify and classify ecosystems from a functional viewpoint.

The Ecosystem Management Research Group (ECOBE) is lead partner within the ECOPLAN project. It is responsible for the overall coördination of the project and is involved in different work packages.

Logo Ecosystem Management Research Group (Ecobe)

Website: Ecosystem Management Research Group

Aquatic Ecology Research Unit (UGent)

The Aquatic Ecology Research Unit is part of the Department of Applied Ecology and Environmental Biology in the Ghent University. The research unit has a long time experience regarding the monitoring, modelling and  assessment of aquatic ecosystems.

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Website: Aquatic Ecology Research Unit

Earth and Environmental Sciences (KU Leuven)

State-of-the-art scientific research with respect to the sustainable management of natural resources and functioning of natural and manmade ecosystems at different spatial and temporal scales are the key topics at which the Earth and Environmental Sciences Department aims. They work on forests, nature, agricultural land and urban green and their ecosystem services as well on the methodological tools needed to analyse and quantify science in this fields, such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Decision Support Systems (DSS), multicriteria analysis, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), earth observation, ....
The division also aims at making a contribution to the scientific understanding of societal issues such as climate change adaptation, biodiversity crisis and its mitigation, bio-energy, multifunctional forest, nature and land management, a more sustainable rural and urban development including spatial planning and international development collaboration. Much of the work is explicitly interdisciplinary recognizing the complexity of ecosystems.

The main mission is to offer a significant contribution from science to a more sustainable development of the world and as such we want to increase the harmony between humans and ‘nature’.

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Website: Earth and Environmental Sciences

Remote Sensing Unit (VITO)

VITO's remote sensing unit develops innovative customer oriented solutions as well as scientific support to enable society to collect, access and use reliable geo-information, based on remote sensing, in order to support sustainable land management. The VITO remote sensing research unit nowadays has obtained regional, national and international recognition with regard to global vegetation monitoring (VITO TAP is the processing and archiving facility of the SPOT VEGETATION Production Entity), high resolution imaging spectroscopy (VITO TAP is the APEX operator for ESA), and the development of innovative earth observation solutions.

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Website: Earth Observation Department

Environmental Modelling Unit (VITO)

The Environmental Modelling Unit (Ruimtelijke MilieuAspecten, RMA) has activities related to issues such as the availability of space, clean air, safe drinking water, unpolluted rivers and conservation of soils. Environmental issues have become critical both quantitatively and qualitatively as availability and quality of air, land and water directly influence the health and quality of people’s well being. This explains the importance and human interest in the evolution and the sustainable management of these resources. RMA analyses the extent to which present and future trends may threaten or limit the availability and quality of these resources, but also provides scientifically sound information for abatement measures and adaptation strategies.

Research within the unit is clustered towards 5 themes:

  •  Land and water management
  •  Economic valuation of ecosystems and landscapes
  •  Spatially-dynamic modelling of land use change
  •  Modelling atmospheric processes
  •  Disaster management

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Website: Environmental Modelling Unit

Research Institute for Nature and Forest

The Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO) is the Flemish research and knowledge centre for nature and its sustainable management and use. INBO conducts research and supplies knowledge to all those who prepare or make the policies or are interested in them. As a leading scientific institute, INBO works for the Flemish government primarily, but also supplies information for international reporting and deals with questions from local authorities. In addition, INBO supports organisations for nature management, forestry, agriculture, hunting and fisheries.

The interdisciplinary Research Group Ecosystem Services holds expertise in both social and natural sciences alike.

Logo Institute for Forest and Nature Research

Website: INBO