INBO Research Challenges

Towards a coherent nature network

The extent of open space in Flanders is currently almost 25% smaller than it was in the 1970s. Unless sustainable management and restoration measures are taken and a coherent nature network is developed, biodiversity in Flanders will continue to decline.

A coherent nature network consists of robust and resilient nature cores, connected by multifunctional areas. 'Robust' means resistant to disturbance, 'resilient' refers to the ability of nature to recover and adapt to changes. Defragmentation is crucial to restore ecological processes and create a coherent nature network.

Europe imposes ambitious targets on Flanders, including increasing and improving the nature network. INBO wants to prioritise research into the impact of fragmentation and disturbance and the evaluation of mitigation measures. Other challenges include monitoring genetic diversity, behavioural research, supporting nature network policy and research on population and ecosystem-level impacts.

The research focuses on creating green-blue nature networks. At INBO, our focus lies in addressing specific inquiries regarding genetic diversity, the effectiveness of interventions, organism spatial utilisation, forest expansion, monitoring techniques, water management strategies, remediation of fish migration barriers, and the cumulative impacts of fragmentation. We study the effect of pollution on biodiversity and the importance of edge effects. It is also necessary to know specific species requirements and to evaluate the effects of fragmentation on populations. For this, we conduct research on species and population trends.

Knowledge from other research challenges, such as Nature-inclusive landscape planning, Towards healthy ecosystems, Sustainable water system restoration and Agroecology and nature restoration, is also crucial and will be integrated into the research on a coherent nature network.


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