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See detailEtude de la flore spontanée de la carrière de Loën pour de futures restaurations - Résultats
Pitz, Carline ULg; Mahy, Grégory ULg; Monty, Arnaud ULg et al

Conference given outside the academic context (2014)

Ce projet a pour objectif de caractériser la flore recolonisant spontanément les zones xériques non exploitées récemment de la carrière de Loën, du point de vue de la diversité spécifique et de la ... [more ▼]

Ce projet a pour objectif de caractériser la flore recolonisant spontanément les zones xériques non exploitées récemment de la carrière de Loën, du point de vue de la diversité spécifique et de la fonctionnalité écologique. Les communautés végétales ont été caractérisées au sein du site de Loën (diversité alpha) et d’un ensemble d’autres carrières représentatives de la diversité des contextes géographiques des carrières calcaires en Région Wallonne (diversité béta). L’étude a montré que, sur des laps de temps de plusieurs décennies, un processus de succession écologique s’est mis en place au sein du site de Loën, mais que cette succession ne tend pas vers une formation typique de pelouse sèche. Les explications peuvent être d’une part, que la disponibilité et l’apport de graines de pelouses sèches avoisinantes est insuffisant, et d’autre part, que le contexte abiotique pourrait être plus favorable à d’autres types de végétations herbacées. Cette étude illustre que des expériences de semis seraient souhaitable afin de définir les objectifs de restauration de la carrière de Loën et des carrières qui se trouvent dans des situations comparables. [less ▲]

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See detailEtude de la flore spontanée de la carrière de Loën pour de futures restaurations - Rapport final
Pitz, Carline ULg; Mahy, Grégory ULg; Monty, Arnaud ULg et al

Report (2014)

Ce projet a pour objectif de caractériser la flore recolonisant spontanément les zones xériques non exploitées récemment de la carrière de Loën, du point de vue de la diversité spécifique et de la ... [more ▼]

Ce projet a pour objectif de caractériser la flore recolonisant spontanément les zones xériques non exploitées récemment de la carrière de Loën, du point de vue de la diversité spécifique et de la fonctionnalité écologique. Les communautés végétales ont été caractérisées au sein du site de Loën (diversité alpha) et d’un ensemble d’autres carrières représentatives de la diversité des contextes géographiques des carrières calcaires en Région Wallonne (diversité béta). L’étude a montré que, sur des laps de temps de plusieurs décennies, un processus de succession écologique s’est mis en place au sein du site de Loën, mais que cette succession ne tend pas vers une formation typique de pelouse sèche. Les explications peuvent être d’une part, que la disponibilité et l’apport de graines de pelouses sèches avoisinantes est insuffisant, et d’autre part, que le contexte abiotique pourrait être plus favorable à d’autres types de végétations herbacées. Cette étude illustre que des expériences de semis seraient souhaitable afin de définir les objectifs de restauration de la carrière de Loën et des carrières qui se trouvent dans des situations comparables. [less ▲]

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See detailLocusts and Grasshoppers: Future Foods?
Paul, Aman ULg; Frederich, Michel ULg; Uyttenbroeck, Roel ULg et al

Scientific conference (2014, May 08)

Consuming locusts and grasshoppers as food is not a new concept, because some people have been doing it for a long time and there are many references in the religious literature to support this. About 80 ... [more ▼]

Consuming locusts and grasshoppers as food is not a new concept, because some people have been doing it for a long time and there are many references in the religious literature to support this. About 80 locust and grasshopper species are consumed worldwide, and the large majority of grasshopper species are edible. From the nutritional point of view they are an excellent source of proteins, lipids and other minor components like vitamins and minerals. They are an excellent source of amino acids and their lipids contain a large majority of unsaturated fatty acids. Environmentalists have supported human consumption of grasshoppers owing to the facts that they usually appear as pests. Using them as food could help reduce their population and result in limited application of harmful pesticides. Their production usually generates lesser amount of greenhouse gases & ammonia; a lower amount of water is required for their production in comparison to conventional proteins sources. Some species of grasshoppers usually feed on dead organic matter, this reduces the environmental load. In the developing world, catching of grasshoppers and selling them for human consumption has played a key role in improving the livelihood of women and underprivileged children. Eating grasshopper and locust is not a very common practice in temperate areas. However it is a very common practice in the tropical areas of world because of the higher density, bigger size of the insect and yearlong availability in such areas. To encourage their consumption in temperate areas, it is now necessary to perform accurate research regarding food safety (minor components, toxicity, allergens,…) but also to develop value added products to make it easier for people to adapt with entomophagy. Furthermore we have to develop methods for commercial production and organize awareness campaigns to explain about the nutritional and other benefits related to locust & grasshopper consumption as food to people. [less ▲]

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See detailAlien plant species along watercourses in the Natura 2000 network
Monty, Arnaud ULg; Aimont, Hélène; Mahy, Grégory ULg

Conference (2014, May)

Natura 2000 is the centerpiece of EU nature and biodiversity policy. It is a European wide network of nature protection areas aiming at assuring the long-term survival of Europe's most valuable and ... [more ▼]

Natura 2000 is the centerpiece of EU nature and biodiversity policy. It is a European wide network of nature protection areas aiming at assuring the long-term survival of Europe's most valuable and threatened species and habitats. However, alien plants do not stop their spread at the border of protection areas and invasive plants are reported to threaten aquatic and riparian ecosystems. Our study aimed at assessing the plant invasion threat along watercourses within the Natura 2000 in Southern Belgium. A stratified random sampling, based on the natural region and the size of the watershed, was conducted. 187 sections of watercourses bank were visited between May and September 2013. For all recorded alien species, data were collected about local abundance, competitive impacts, regeneration potential and ecological conditions. 51 alien species were observed. Some were widespread (e.g. Impatiens glandulifera, with 17 % of linear banks invaded) whereas others were either rare or considered emergent alien species. Emergent species, showing low occurrence but high impact index, are appropriate target species for early detection programs and preventive management actions. Analyses showed that typical riparian species’ occurrence increased with the size of the watershed, indicating propagule pressure within protected areas through hydrochory. No link could be established between the presence of disturbance(s) and alien species in the considered N2000 sites. [less ▲]

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See detailEtude de la flore spontanée de la carrière de Loën pour de futures restaurations
Pitz, Carline ULg; Mahy, Grégory ULg; Monty, Arnaud ULg et al

Conference given outside the academic context (2014)

This project aims to characterize the flora that spontaneously recolonize non recently exploited areas in one group quarry (Loën) from the point of view of species diversity and ecological functionality ... [more ▼]

This project aims to characterize the flora that spontaneously recolonize non recently exploited areas in one group quarry (Loën) from the point of view of species diversity and ecological functionality. Plant communities will be compared with observed plant communities characterized in longest abandoned quarries in the same regions (same pool of potential species) and known plant communities of the dry grassland habitats reference. The project will establish the potential for restoration of dry grasslands in the study site and established for the quarry studied the basic principles of future restoration plans. [less ▲]

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See detailWildflower strips: a help for crop protection ?
Hatt, Séverin ULg; Uyttenbroeck, Roel ULg; Bodson, Bernard ULg et al

Poster (2014, March 05)

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See detailWildflower strips: a help for crop protection ?
Hatt, Séverin ULg; Uyttenbroeck, Roel ULg; Bodson, Bernard ULg et al

Conference (2014, March 05)

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See detail3. Lutte contre les mauvaises herbes
Henriet, François; Jaunard, Delphine; Gilleman, Alice ULg et al

in Bodson, Bernard; Destain, Jean-Pierre (Eds.) Livre Blanc céréales (2014, February 26)

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See detailThree aspects, One concept: Agroecology. Agroecological practices and human interactions for a new approach for science. An example at the Univeristy of Liege.
Hatt, Séverin ULg; Artru, Sidonie ULg; Boeraeve, Fanny ULg et al

Poster (2014, February 07)

Critics are raising about conventional farming and its consequences on biodiversity, human health and society. As alternatives, novel models for agriculture are proposed, and among them Agroecology. Quite ... [more ▼]

Critics are raising about conventional farming and its consequences on biodiversity, human health and society. As alternatives, novel models for agriculture are proposed, and among them Agroecology. Quite often, Agroecology is seen as the application of ecological knowledge to the agricultural production. Indeed, this helps to develop more ecological farming practices favoring biodiversity to provide ecosystem services at multiple scales. Agroecology goes further in considering that the agricultural production is integrated in a food system guided by human interactions. This latter one takes into account socio-economic and political dimensions to develop new production systems. Doing so, it assures food security worldwide while preserving resources for future generations. Facing these ambitious objectives, academics are invited to elaborate a new approach for science in developing participatory and action-oriented approaches as well as multidisciplinarity. AgricultureIsLife is a research platform built up at the University of Liège (ULg). In 2013, 40 researchers (including 18 young researchers) from 16 research units of ULg were working in a multidisciplinary approach. About twenty research topics have been divided in four research axes of which objectives are to develop a more sustainable agriculture. The platform has the ambition to discuss its results to a large comity gathering the actors of the agricultural development. The aim of our work is firstly to present Agrocology as a concept made of three interrelated aspects. To illustrate it, the organization and objectives of the research platform AgricultureIsLife will be discussed in a second part. [less ▲]

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See detailBiodiversity and ecosystem services: think functional!
Uyttenbroeck, Roel ULg; Hatt, Séverin ULg; Paul, Aman ULg et al

Poster (2014, February 07)

During the last years, several studies and reviews have considered the relation between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning or the provision of ecosystem services. Many studies found that plant ... [more ▼]

During the last years, several studies and reviews have considered the relation between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning or the provision of ecosystem services. Many studies found that plant functional traits and plant functional diversity (FD) are key drivers in this relation in terrestrial ecosystems. Researchers used different methods to obtain a gradient in plant FD to examine the effect on ecosystem services, going from observational studies of natural communities to synthetic assemblages. Furthermore, different methods exist to quantify plant FD going from simple functional trait richness to indices, distance-based frameworks and the division into FD components. In the AgricultureIsLife project, we set up a field experiment aiming to examine the biodiversity – ecosystem service relation in agricultural context. The experiment consists of perennial wildflower strips with different plant functional diversities in an arable field with conventional crop production. The wildflower strips were sown as synthetic assemblages but are subject to natural succession during the following years. We monitor the evolution of FD from the sowing to the establishment of a typical wildflower strip using Rhao’s quadratic entropy index to quantify FD. In addition, the flower strips will be monitored for four ecosystem services they are expected to provide: pollination, pest control, biodiversity support and provision of valuable compounds. [less ▲]

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See detailIs the noxious Ambrosia artemisiifolia L. going to invade Belgium?
Ortmans, William ULg; Chauvel, Bruno; Mahy, Grégory ULg et al

Poster (2014, February 07)

Ambrosia artemisiifolia L. is an invasive species from North America, causing a health crisis in Europe due to its highly allergenic pollen. In France, there is a zone where the A. artemisiifolia ... [more ▼]

Ambrosia artemisiifolia L. is an invasive species from North America, causing a health crisis in Europe due to its highly allergenic pollen. In France, there is a zone where the A. artemisiifolia populations are naturalized and invasive. Outside this area, populations are more rare and do not seem to expand. We tested if the performances of A. artemisiifolia are varying with competition level, and among geographical zones. The results show that populations from Belgium and Netherlands are not less efficient than invasive populations for the measured traits. [less ▲]

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See detailCarrières & Biodiversité - Les pelouses sèches
Harzé, Mélanie ULg; Boisson, Sylvain ULg; Halford, Mathieu ULg et al

Learning material (2014)

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See detailCarrières & Biodiversité - Les plantes invasives
Halford, Mathieu ULg; Boisson, Sylvain ULg; Harzé, Mélanie ULg et al

Learning material (2014)

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See detailCarrières & Biodiversité - Les plans d'eau
Boisson, Sylvain ULg; Harzé, Mélanie ULg; Halford, Mathieu ULg et al

Learning material (2014)

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See detailCarrières & Biodiversité - Les falaises et éboulis
Seleck, Maxime ULg; Boisson, Sylvain ULg; Harzé, Mélanie ULg et al

Learning material (2014)

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See detailCarrières & Biodiversité - Les arènes minérales
Piqueray, Julien; Boisson, Sylvain ULg; Halford, Mathieu ULg et al

Learning material (2014)

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Peer Reviewed
See detailHow to increase species diversity in phytostabilization strategies near Lubumbashi (D.R.C.)
Boisson, Sylvain ULg; Collignon, Julien ULg; Le Stradic, Soizig ULg et al

Conference (2013, October 08)

Copper contamination of soils represents a threat to natural areas and to human health. Phytostabilization, i.e using plants to immobilize contaminants, represents a well-known technology to hemper heavy ... [more ▼]

Copper contamination of soils represents a threat to natural areas and to human health. Phytostabilization, i.e using plants to immobilize contaminants, represents a well-known technology to hemper heavy metals spread across landscapes. In Katanga (Congo D.R.), Microchloa altera was recently identified as a candidate species to stabilize copper in soil. This grass naturally tolerates and accumulates high copper concentrations and belongs to the typical copper flora of Katanga. However more than 600 species compose this flora and other grasses may be used in phytostabilisation strategies. But little is known about the phenology reproductive strategy and demography of these species, which makes their use in current phytostabilization strategies difficult. The present study aims to characterize the reproduction capacity of seven other dominant grass species for future phytostabilisation tests. A total of 67 quadrats (1m²) were randomly placed across three sites. At two periods over the fruiting season, three inflorescences per species per quadrat were collected in order to estimate the number of spikes, spikelets and viable seeds. All species have sexual reproductive strategy and spikelets number presents little variation between populations. Three species are very common (Andropogon shirensis, Loudetia simplex and Eragrostis racemosa) and represent potential candidates to increase species diversity in phytostabilization strategies in Katanga. Further research, including germination tests and phytostabilization tests in situ, is planned in a near future. [less ▲]

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See detailExtent of intra-population functional variability along a local environmental gradient for four calcareous grasslands species
Harzé, Mélanie ULg; Monty, Arnaud ULg; Mahy, Grégory ULg

Conference (2013, August 19)

In the last few years, an increasing body of evidence has highlighted the role of functional traits as reliable predictors of species resistance to disturbance and response to environmental gradients ... [more ▼]

In the last few years, an increasing body of evidence has highlighted the role of functional traits as reliable predictors of species resistance to disturbance and response to environmental gradients. However, most studies focused on functional comparisons at the interspecific level while intraspecific functional trait variation has received remarkably little attention. As intraspecific traits variability is a necessary condition for species to adapt to environmental changes, studying intraspecific functional traits variation along environmental gradients is a major issue in a context of global change. The aim of our study was to evaluate the extent of intraspecific functional variability of four species along an environmental gradient of water stress at a local scale and to compare species response to the gradient. Calcareous grasslands species are present along a xeric gradient from mesophilous to xerophilous grasslands. Changes of exposure, slope and soil depth lead to differences of water availability for plants along the gradient. We measured the maximum vegetative height (MVH), the specific leaf area (SLA, one side area of a fresh leaf divided by its oven-dry mass) and the leaf dry matter content (LDMC, leaf oven-dry mass divided by its water-saturated fresh mass) on randomly selected individuals along a gradient of xericity on three study sites located in south Belgium. Functional traits were measured on about 60 individuals per site and per species. The soil depth was measured around each individual. The exposure and the slope were measured in order to calculate a heat load index for each individual. The extent of local intraspecific functional variability of our data was compared to data covering the species European range. Results are species dependent but for some study species intraspecific functional variability at local scale is not negligible compared to European data. Species functional responses to the gradient (soil depth and heat load index) showed a decrease in SLA and MVH and an increase in LDMC with increasing xericity for all study species. Response extent was species dependent. Main implications for species resistance to disturbance and climate change adaptation will be discussed. [less ▲]

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