Field Research Centre

Pears In The Ecotron

Kunnen we in 2040 nog peren telen in Limburg?

11 September 2023
IMG 2490 Original

A new PhD student joins the Ecotron Team

01 August 2023

New student joins Ecotron team

29 June 2023

Field Research Centre

The Field Research Centre (FRC) is located in the periphery of Terhills, the main gate to the National Park Hoge Kempen.

Currently the National Park is the only recognized TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity) region within Belgium.

At the FRC, Hasselt University and RLKM perform, promote and support biodiversity-related research within the Limburg region, together with volunteers, park rangers and students.

The FRC hosts the Ecotron, the Integrated Carbon Observation System (ICOS), and is partner in Lifewatch and Long-Term Ecosystem Research Network (LTER).


The UHasselt Ecotron is a large scale research infrastructure that allows for sophisticated state-of-the-art controlled climate experiments, to study the effects of climate, and climate change on ecosystem functioning. Click here to learn about the Ecotron.

Would you like to visit the Ecotron? This is possible under the supervision of Ranger of the Hoge Kempen National Park. Check for our public programs Ecotron behind the scenes, Ecotron mysterie or contact Hanne Vercampt

CaTrEIn - Lifewatch

Within the Camera Trap Research Infrastructure (CaTrEIn), a set of wildlife camera traps are placed in the National Park Hoge Kempen (in collaboration with INBO). In recent years the use of camera traps has become increasingly popular for monitoring wildlife behaviour, abundance and community structure. Camera traps allow for continuous non-invasive monitoring of species communities, without disturbing the animals. Compared to other monitoring methods, they require minimal staff input and recent quality improvements have made camera traps reliable research instruments. Nonetheless, not only do camera traps generate large quantities of pictures, one also has to identify species as well as number of individuals on those pictures. In order to allow both long term biodiversity monitoring and local research projects, data sharing is a prerequisite. Therefore data collection, storage and metadata processing have to be standardized and well documented.

CaTrEIn aims at providing the hardware (a set of high quality camera traps that can be used in different projects), in combination with a platform that allows the project management as well as annotation of camera trap images. Furthermore, a data pipeline is being developed to publish camera trap images as open data and provide archiving of the data.

Long-Term Ecosystem Research Network

The National Park Hoge Kempen is recognized as a Belgian LTER (Long-Term Ecosystem Research Network) platform within the European LTER program.

At the FRC we strive to monitor several biotic and abiotic parameters in collaboration with existing European infrastructure, belonging to other European Research Infrastructure (ESFRI) programmes, such as ICOS and Lifewatch.


Prof. dr. Nadia Soudzilovskaia

Nadia Ecotron Photo (1)
Head of the Ecotron | Lead Ecotron Research Team

Prof. dr. Francois Rineau

Capture (3)
Senior researcher | Manager of the Ecotron Research

Prof. dr. Natalie Beenaerts

Natalie Beenaerts (1)
Head of the Hasselt University Field Research Center

Manager dr. Hanne Vercampt

Hanne Vercampt 15
Scientific communication and education manager

How to get there

Field Research Centre (FRC) - Zetellaan 52, 3630 Maasmechelen (Belgium)

GPS Coordinates: Latitude 51.0000457 Longitude 5.7042895

The Field Research Centre - UHasselt is located on Terhills, the main gate of the only national park in Belgium, the National Park Hoge Kempen.

To reach the FRC, take exit 33 on the E314 highway (Brussels - Aachen) and follow the signs ‘Maasmechelen Leisure Valley’ on a route that follows the canal for some kilometers. Keep following this road across tree roundabouts until the signs 'PARKING EUROSCOOP' and 'TERHILLS' indicate the parking lot. Continue the rest of the way (300m) walking trough the French Garden.  You'll find the Field Research Centre on your left side.

Contacts and collaborations

As a master or bachelor student you can opt to perform your fieldwork within the National Park Hoge Kempen or its surroundings. Yearly we offer several topics or you can propose your own topic. If you are interested, please contact us.

For schools, organisations, and companies, it is possible to organize an educational excursion to the National Park or its environment. You can compile your own program and we take care of the overnights, or we can compile a tailor-made program for you. We collaborate closely with the Rangers of the National Park.

General Inquiries Contact: CMK

Partners interested in collaborative projects with Ecotron or LTER, including scientists, prospective PhD candidates, BSc and MSc students

Partners interested in collaborative projects in the National Park or with Life Watch program, including scientists, prospective PhD candidates, BSc and MSc students

Journalists interested in Ecotron Research

Journalists interested in biodiversity research in National park

Support our climate change research

Visiting Ecotron for public (groups and individuals)

Telephone Field Research Facility: +32 489 34 04 21