ICOS Belgium    



The two ecosystem stations in Westmalle are located at the same cropland about 20 km northeast of the city of Antwerp. The Abdij der Trappisten van Westmalle farms the land of 25 ha. The Westmalle station focusses on the effectiveness of Carbon Farming management. The land is divided into two parts, which will be managed differently as from 2024. By establishing two distinct ICOS stations on opposing sides of the land, the evaluation of the impact of Carbon Farming in comparison to traditional farming concerning greenhouse gas emissions, as well as carbon and water uptake, is intended.

The ICOS site located in Westmalle is intended to be utilized as one of the Lighthouses in the recent EU Mission project, "A Soil Deal for Europe". This mission is oriented toward the facilitation of the transition to healthy soils, with a focus on objectives such as the preservation of soil organic carbon stocks, the enhancement of soil structure, and the promotion of biodiversity.

In Westmalle, carbon farming techniques will be assessed, with close collaboration between researchers and land managers to ensure that practical needs identified in the field are addressed in our research. The aim is to test solutions and demonstrate their value in real-life conditions, establishing good practices that can inspire the adoption of sustainable land management approaches by other practitioners.

Station PI:  Tim De Meulder (Tim.Demeulder@uantwerpen.be)

Station facts

  • Two ICOS associated stations BE-Wm1 and BE-Wm2
  • Located on a historical traditional cropland site
  • Two flux stations allow evaluation of greenhouse gas balance depending on the applied farming technique
  • First flux measurements since summer 2023
  • In colaboration with de Abdij der Trappisten van Westmalle
  • The carbon farming site in Westmalle is assigned a significant role as one of the 100 living labs and lighthouses designated for expediting research and showcasing climate change solutions within the framework of the European Union Soil Deal for Europe.