The Ecosystem tower is part of the European Integrated Carbon Observing System (ICOS) programme. This is a new research infrastructure to decipher the greenhouse gas balance of Europe and adjacent regions. ICOS provides the long-term observations required to understand the present state and predict future behaviour of climate, the global carbon cycle and greenhouse gases emissions.
Together with the PLECO-group (promotors R. Ceulemans and I. Janssens) of Antwerp University and the Institute of forest and nature research ), the Centre for Environmental Sciences (CMK) of Hasselt University (promotor J. Vangronsveld) is a formal partner in the Flemish contribution of this ESFRI programme.The construction of this ecosystem tower in the National Park is possible through Hercules heavy infrastructure funding.
The ecosystem tower in the National Park Hoge Kempen will primarily focus on the heathland ecosystem. Although this a prominent and valuable ecosystem in Western Europe, this will be the first heathland location where GHG will be monitored. It's location is carefully selected (Altitude: 84 m; Latitude: 50° 59' 4,8" N; Longitude: 5° 37' 38,4" E).