Wood Biology

We study tropical African trees to contribute to forest ecology and support sustainable wood production in tropical Africa.

Our xylarium is a reference collection with more than 80,000 wood samples from around the world. Our research is based on this xylarium and on fieldwork.

Fields of research are:

  • wood anatomy: we analyse the anatomical structure of wood species
  • dendrochronology: we study tree growth and forest ecology
  • physiology of tropical trees
  • archaeobotany and the history of ancient forests through analysis of charcoal present in the soil.
     

Congo Basin Carbon

Through this website, we showcase some of our work in Central Africa. The site brings together information on various research and education projects in the Yangambi and Luki Man and Biosphere Reserves in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Through these pages we hope to improve project visibility and offer insights on how fieldwork is conducted in the rainforest.

 

Policy briefs

During the Afriford and Polcartim projects, we developed policy briefs. These briefs summarise major results of our research and make them accessible to a non-scientific public:

 

Staff

 

Scientific personnel

 

  • Hans Beeckman, Head of service
    Wood anatomy, dendrochronology, system ecology, wood identification, trait-based ecology
  • Nils Bourland, Postdoc forest ecology
    Central Africa, forest management, ecology, Pericopsis, logging
  • Wannes Hubau, Postdoc forest ecology
    Global carbon fluxes, forests inventories, permanent sample plots, tropical rainforests, African vegetation history and archaeobotany
  • Kim Jacobsen, Postdoc agronomy
    Tropical agronomy, bananas and plantains, research-for-development (R4D), EU projects, digitization, database management
  • Félix Laurent
  • Mélissa Rousseau, PhD student forest ecology
  • Yegor Tarelkin

Technical and administrative staff

Volunteers

  • Austin Bridget
  • Ferre Carron
  • Cécile De Troyer
  • Indahs Hutauruk
  • José Kempenaers
  • Richard Shutt
  • Arion Turcsán
  • Leen Van Hirtum
  • Rita Vandergucht
Wood analysis

We offer scientific services, including the analysis of African and non-African timber:

  • identification of wood for the wood trade and industry (particularly CITES), art history, archaeology, palaeontology, etc.
  • wood dating via the study of growth rings.

Cost: 170 €
Cost of expert assessment carried out on site: 250 € per day

Expert analysis fees are payable to the account of the Royal Museum for Central Africa:
679-2007806-03
with the communication ‘wood analysis’.

Wood samples (preferably measuring 1 cm x 7 cm x 15 cm) should be sent to the address:
Laboratory of Wood Biology 
Leuvensesteenweg 13, 3080 Tervuren

Contact: Hans Beeckman
 

Training