Ichtegem - Wijnendale Forest - Belgium

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Ichtegem - Wijnendale Forest

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General Site Description: 

The LTER-site of Wijnendale Forest is a 90 ha scientific zone located in a larger mixed atlantic beech-oak-woodland (300 ha), in the North-West of Belgium, 20 km south of Bruges. The site is located on moderately wet to dry sandy soils. The site is an ancient woodland that used to be managed as coppice with standards. Over the last 100 years it was gradually transformed to a mixed high forest, mainly of oak and beech. The site contains - an ICP Forests Level II plot (0.25 ha), in which effects of air pollution on the forest ecosystem are monitored, according to standard protocols. - a strict forest reserve of 65 ha: here, natural dynamics of forest structure and ground vegetation are monitored, and its effects on biological diversity. - a 25 ha buffer zone, containing both forest and open grassland (extensively managed for nature conservation), where 'open field' measurements are performed. The sampling network in the strict reserve includes >100 sampling plots (0.1 ha) combined with a 1 ha core area. In these plots, full dendrometric surveys (tree position, species, DBH, height, ...) and ground vegetation relevees are performed every 10 years. Additionally, standardised sampling of saproxylic beetles, mosses and fungi were performed and high-resolution air-borne LIDAR and hyperspectral data were recorded in 2012-2014. Main aims for the future are the continuation of the observational networks to provide longer robust time-series that allow more thorough analysis and investigation.

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General Characteristics, Purpose, History

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Purpose of Site : 

On the ICP Forests Level II plot (0.25 ha): monitoring of the effects of air pollution on biogeochemical cycles and performance (growth, vitality) of the forest ecosystem, with special focus on long-term trends and potential for recovery. In the strict reserve: study of natural dynamics (forest structure, ground vegetation) in formerly managed forests after installation of non-intervention, and its effects on biological diversity.

History of Site: 

Ancient woodland site; previously managed as coppice with standards. A detailed description of the management history is available (up to middle ages). Since 1983, year of aquisition by the state, the western part of the forest (90ha) received the status of 'scientific zone'. Commercial forestry activities were halted, only some selective fellings were performed. In 1987, an ICP-Forest Level-I site was installed in a beech stand within the site. This site has been fully operational ever since In 1995, the site was officially declared 'forest reserve'. An area of 65 ha within the site was declared 'strict forest reserve', officialising the non-intervention management that was already at place. In 2002, a first survey of this strict reserve was performed, using a grid of permanent circular sampling circles, and a core zone of 1 ha. In 2012 these measurements were repeated.

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Latitude: 51.069700000000
Longitude: 3.037220000000