Last week, we celebrated the kick-off of 2018s field season, and as usual we did that with a student field trip to the Hallerbos, the world-famous purple forest that gets filled with bluebells in spring.
We like to take the students of the course on ‘Ecosystem Types’ to this forest. Not just for its international fame, but more importantly for the clear differences in forest types that we find there. The loamy top soil layer has been eroded, revealing sandy hill tops, and accumulating rich loam in the valleys.
This geological history results in clear gradients in soil nutrients and moisture on a scale of often just a few meters, with massive effects on the vegetation. And as I love how the microscale affects species occurrence, this is a great example to show the students.
So we kick it off in spring with the spring flora that is so typical for Western European forests. Then slowly, over the next months, we will be moving our attention up north again, ending in northern Scandinavia in July. As usual: exciting times ahead!