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.
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.
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:
- 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
- Ruben De Blaere
- Maaike De Ridder, Biologist
- Pauline Hicter, Biologist
- 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
- Alain Kadorho Sheria
- Félix Laurent
- Michael Monnoye, Biologist
Technical and administrative staff
- Kévin Liévens, Laboratory assistant microtomy
- Eric Van Herreweghe, Collection Manager
- Blanca Van Houtte Alonso
- Daniël Wallenus, Collection Manager
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:
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
- Introduction to wood biology for African students
- We also organize introductory courses on wood anatomy and guided tours of the xylarium for students in higher education or interested groups upon request.
Contact: Hans Beeckman