Beverbeek - Belgium
Poor fens and soft-water spring mires
sustainable forest management
Beverbeek is a complex site consisting of areas with a primary conservation purpose as the two gazetted nature reserves Elsbroek (mesotrophic and oligotrophic mire with alder-birch woodland, Myrica bush) and Zooren (alluvial plain forest). Other parts are multifunctional forests with scots pine, corsican black pine, oak, larch, douglas fir, etc.
General Characteristics, Purpose, History
The university domain Beverbeek of KU Leuven is managed for multiple ecosystem services based on a zoning of the area, after a strengths/weaknesses analysis for conservation, recreation and production of every zone. Areas with a primary conservation purpose are the two gazetted nature reserves Elsbroek (mesotrophic and oligotrophic mire with alder-birch woodland, Myrica bush) and Zooren (alluvial plain forest). Other parts are multifunctional forests with scots pine, corsican black pine, oak, larch, douglas fir, etc.
During History, the landscape around Beverbeek was an enormous peatland (as the biggest part of the province of Limburg). Already on the oldest maps (18th century) there is the settlement of Beverbeek, the very oldest sources suggest that the settlement may date from the 16th century. In this enormous peatland there were also the valley’s (Warmbeek) and there was a big fishing pond (Elsbroek). The valleys were or old forest, or were in use for haymaking. This traditional land-use continued till the coalmines opened in the region (first years of the 20th century). At that time there came a complete turnover in the landscape. Nearly all the peatland was planted with Scots Pine for the mining industry. Since the latest coalmines closed in 1992. Again there is a shift in land use. The monocultures of Scots Pine are gradually transformed to mixed stands. The experimental site of Beverbeek is property of KU Leuven since 1961. In the beginning the management was completely oriented on the production of minewood. Since 1997 the daily management was transferred to the division of Forest, Nature and Landscape of the KU Leuven. Since then the management shifted towards an integrated forest management, not only targeted on wood production but oriented to all different ecosystem services. In 2005 the Elsbroek was recognized by the Flemish government as an official nature conservation area. In the Elsbroek there are 12 monitoring wells since 2002. These were measured each 2 weeks in 2002 en are so since 2012. In 2007 there was created a new forest management plan, together with other forest owners. Since 2009 KU Leuven is member of the FSC group certificate of the ‘Agentschap Natuur en Bos’. Since 2013, the valley of the Warmbeek is recognized as a Forest conservation area.
Affiliation and Network Specific Information