During this yearly excursion in collaboration with the Free University Brussels (ULB), our students get an overall introduction on the creation of the NPHK, its nature management, its typical landscape, vegetation and examples of typical fauna and flora.
In the afternoon, they map a formal coppice and non-copice oak site to relate this later to the long-term effects it (might) have on eg. biomass.
Decomposition and nutrient cycling in heathland
During this two-day practical exercise on decomposition and nutrient cycling in heathlands, we illustrate how grass invasion influence ecosystem functioning. The study plot is in Mechelse Heide. The students measure and analyze plant communities, decomposition rates, microbial activity, organic matter properties, and invertebrate communities. Data are synthesized and statistically analyzed for the whole group at the end of the two days.
During this excursion, students go in the field in the National Park to collect moss samples in different environments (bare soil, concrete walls, forest understorey, grassland, mine heaps, bogs...). Once back at the field research centre, they determine their samples down to the species level, with the help of steromicroscope. They are guided by a moss expert (Jan Verstraeten, Limburgse Bryologische Werkgroep) during the whole day.
During this excursion, students will compare the mushroom flora of pine forests in slag heaps and surrounding forest soil. Identification is done on site (for the easy species) or once back at the field research centre, with the help of microscope. Data are synthesized and statistically analyzed at the end of the excursion.