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.

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
  • Mélissa Rousseau, PhD student forest ecology
  • Yegor Tarelkin
  • Leen Van Hirtum

Technical and administrative staff


  • Austin Bridget
  • Ferre Carron
  • Cécile De Troyer
  • Indahs Hutauruk
  • José Kempenaers
  • Richard Shutt
  • Arion Turcsán
  • 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:
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