Brasschaat - De Inslag - Belgium

Basic Information

Site Name: 

Brasschaat - De Inslag

Short name : 

Brasschaat

Country (Site Location): 

Belgium

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General Site Description: 

The LTER-site of Brasschaat is a 2 ha scientific zone in a first generation plantation (1929) of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) on former heathland located in a mixed coniferous/deciduous forest in the Campine plain of Flanders. The landscape is flat, with a gentle (0.3%) slope at a mean elevation of 16 m. To the South and East, the forest extends over 2 km before turning into rural, partially forested terrain. The site is equipped with a measuring tower and an intensive forest monitoring plot (ICP Forests level II). The site is also part of an ICOS monitoring site which is operated by the University of Antwerp in collaboration with the Research Institute for Nature and Forest. The air pollution characteristics at this site are typical for a suburban forest exposed to vehicle emission (NOx), which is strongly affecting the NO-NO2-O3 chemistry. The site is, additionally, located in the waste plume derived from stack emissions (SO2, NOx, black carbon) generated by the petrochemical refinery in Antwerp port. Although no important agricultural emission sources are present in close proximity to the site, ammonia levels are elevated when winds blow from the eastern wind sector (due to remote agricultural activities > 5 km). The monitoring of air pollutants will be continued with special focus on chemical and biological recovery of the forest ecosystem from historical elevated sulphur and nitrogen depositions and the combined effects of ozone, nitrogen and climate change on forest ecosystem functioning.

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General Characteristics, Purpose, History

Site Status: 

existing

Year Site Established: 

1992

Size : 

2.00ha

Purpose of Site : 

The research infrastructure is mainly used for intensive forest condition monitoring (ICP Forests), soil–vegetation-atmosphere transfer of nutrients (nitrogen, base cations, sulphur), dynamic soil chemistry modelling and observation of greenhouse gases (CO2 and O3) in the atmosphere and soil compartment. Meteorological variables are measured on a half-hour basis using sensors mounted at the 40 m high scaffolding tower or located within the 2 ha-scientific zone. They are used for dry deposition calculations and scrutinizing the environmental controls on the pollutant concentrations and the canopy uptake. Air concentration measurements are conducted at different heights using slow response monitors (O3, NOx) for profile analysis or dry deposition calculations. Measurements of air pollutants (SO2, reactive nitrogen compounds,...) are also made at a single height using passive samplers. There is an eddy-covariance set up for flux measurements (heat, momentum, water vapour and CO2) to study the exchange of GHG between the forest and the atmosphere.

History of Site: 

The research infrastructure in Brasschaat is mainly used for study of air pollution and climate change effects on forest ecosystem functions (ICP Forests), biogeochemistry (cycling of base cations, nitrogen, sulphur), dynamic soil chemistry modelling and for study of the storage or emission of greenhouse gases (CO2, N2O, CH4, O3) in or from the vegetation and soil pools (ICOS). The self-supporting welded scaffolding tower was erected to 40 m in 1994. The tower has a 9 m² ground area and platforms at 9, 15, 18, 23, 31 and 39 m. The tower resides in a 2 ha Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) stand of the forest (planting date: 1929) next to a level-II observation plot of the European ICP-Forests network (EC-UN/ECE, 1996). The measuring site was also part of the CARBOEUROPE and NITROEUROPE research networks. The site is currently participating in the ICOS labeling procedure and will feature within the ICOS network along with 5 other terrestrial monitoring sites in Belgium.

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Coordinates: 

Latitude: 51.307800000000
Longitude: 4.519720000000

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