Network for Evaluation of One Health

Biodiversity Newsflash 77 – February 2018 Edition


Feb 18


Biodiversity Newsflash 77

February 2018



1 | Sourcing while respecting biodiversity: the case of food 2 | Belgian nature & health network event 3 | 4th Annual Meeting on Plant Ecology and Evolution 4 | Online crowdsourcing platform : DoeDat.Be

5 | The impacts of artificial Electromagnetic Radiations on wildlife (flora and fauna) 6 | Save the Date : BEES Xmas Market – 13 December 2018 7 | Three questions to Gert Verreet, Policy Advisor at Flanders Department of Economy, Science and Innovation (EWI)


1 | Sourcing while respecting biodiversity: the case of food

The Global Nature Fund, the Belgian Federal Public Service for Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment, Université catholique de Louvain and IPES-food propose an exchange of ideas around food sourcing and biodiversity. The morning session will provide  :

  • an overview of project results funded by the Belgian federal administration on a tool that aims at providing recommendations on sourcing while respecting biodiversity.
  • New recommendations issued by the LIFE Food & Biodiversity project on effective biodiversity criteria for standards and labels for the food sector.

The closed afternoon session will be entirely dedicated to technical workshops. Refer to the full programme and background documents for more information. Attendance is free, but registration is required. Please fill out the registration form by 16 February 2018. Late registrations might be accepted, pending availability of seats. Where? Wetstraat 155 Rue de la loi, 1040 Brussels  When? 1 March 2018



2 | Belgian nature & health network event

On 4 October 2018 the project Green Light and the Belgian Community of Practice Biodiversity & Health will coordinate the organisation of a network event in Antwerp. Other organisations from both the nature and health care sector are also involved in the organisation. The main objective of the event is to promote the importance of nature – health linkages in the health sector and the nature sector. The event mainly targets professionals from those two sectors, but the event is also open to other interested people. There will be room for lectures, experiments, workshops, walks, networking, a market  for projects/ initiatives/ networks/ organisations (from research, policy and practice). If you wish to collaborate in the organisation and/or want to propose activities for the meeting, please contact Dr Hans Keune. Further practical information will follow. Where? Elisabethzaal next to the Antwerp Zoo When? 4 October 2018



3 |  4th Annual Meeting on Plant Ecology and Evolution

On 23 March 2018 the Botanic Garden Meise will host the 4th Annual Meeting on Plant Ecology and Evolution (#AMPEE4): “Plants in a Changing World”. Presentations are encouraged on how plants and their populations adapt to short and long-term environmental change, but also how we can monitor and manage changes in plant populations. The meeting will span the scales of change, from global to cellular. The conference is open to anyone interested in the subject and this is a great opportunity to meet the Belgian plant sciences community. Furthermore, it is a particularly good opportunity for young scientists to explain their research in front of a friendly audience. Oral presentations will be chosen from the submitted abstracts. Nevertheless, there will also be a poster session. You can submit an abstract and register online. Conference fee is €10, which will cover your lunch and coffee. Where? Bouchout Castle at the heart of the Botanic Garden When? 23 March 2018



4 | Online crowdsourcing platform: DoeDat.Be

The Botanic Garden Meise has recently digitally imaged over 1.3 million specimens from its herbarium. The next steps are to digitise the information on the labels and geolocate the collection localities. This is where comes in. is an online crowdsourcing platform where volunteers can help the Botanic Garden to document their collection. Currently, volunteers are working on the Belgian collection, which consists of about 200,000 Belgian plant specimens, covering at least 200 years of botanical collecting. Users are presented with a zoomable image of the specimen and a form to complete the details of the label. The system also includes a mapping feature to find the location.  These data will be used in many studies on phytogeography, evolution, ecology and the history of science. One project specifically waiting for the data is TrIAS (Tracking Invasive Alien Species), which will chart the spread of invasive plants in Belgium and predict whether they will spread further under conditions of climate change. If you have specimen labels or documents that need to be transcribed, contact DoeDat at



5 | The impacts of artificial Electromagnetic Radiations on wildlife

EKLIPSE held a web conference from 22 January to 25 January 2018 organised in daily afternoon sessions of 2 hours. EKLIPSE invited a wide range of experts from different disciplines to discuss the current knowledge on the effects of Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) on wildlife. The aim was to highlight the current state of the art in this field, to identify knowledge gaps related to the impacts on different taxonomic groups, to discuss the technical aspects and methodologies used in current studies, and to identify and prioritise key research needs and policy recommendations. You will find below the slides of the presentations that were made along the week:

The video recordings of the web conference will soon be made available on the EKLIPSE Youtube channel. In case you would like to share links or publications, or to continue discussions on the topic, feel free to use the dedicated thread on the KNOCK Forum. Note that registration is required to post messages. EKLIPSE is currently working on the report that will summarise the key results of the analyses as well as the outcomes of the discussions of the web conference. For more information on this conference, please contact Lise Goudeseune.



6 | Save the Date : BEES Xmas Market – 13 December 2018 

The next Belgian Ecosystems & Society (BEES) Xmas Market will take place in Brussels on 13 December 2018. Registrations will open after summer.  The BEES Xmas market brings together people from academia, public administration and civil society, from Belgium and abroad, with one common interest: ecosystem services. The BEES market is the perfect spot to exchange ideas, learn from other experiences and discover how ecosystem services are transformed into real products or daily life applications. The concept? A cozy afternoon in a friendly Xmas market-like atmosphere: the perfect event to wrap up the year in a useful and fun way. You can choose to have a stand, give a training session or just to enjoy the market. The last edition of the BEES X-mas Market took take place in Namur on 12 December 2017. Check out the 2017 pictures. Please contact Sander Jacobs for more information, or visit the brand new BEES website on



7 | Three questions to Gert Verreet, Policy Advisor at Flanders Department of Economy, Science and Innovation (EWI)

1.    What is EWI, and could you describe your role? Science and innovation play very important roles in our Belgian economy. Minister Muyters’ policy notes to the Flemish Parliament stress the importance of an excellent knowledge basis, including through investing in research infrastructures. Promoting open science and open data are also a focus of attention as they help foster a culture in which the benefits of research are maximised, including through more (international) collaboration. As a responsible administration, the Flanders Department of Economy, Science and Innovation (EWI) seeks to contribute to excellent science and innovation through correct preparation, monitoring and evaluation of policy. In the Research Division, our core activity is science policy. This includes looking at the role of scientific capabilities in addressing societal challenges. My portfolio spans files dealing with the sciences of the natural world, typically issues of resources/funding and (international) organisation. Technological change opens up many possibilities for innovative forms of performing science, which means that, like the whole world around us, the practice of science is also rapidly evolving. If a government is to invest for the future, it is our joint duty to look ahead! 

2.    Based on the current landscape of research on biodiversity in Belgium, what do you think is the added value of the Belgian Biodiversity Platform for the research community at large, and for an organisation such as EWI?  Studying biodiversity is studying complexity – a sense of wonderment for the beauty of the natural world, is unfortunately not enough, if it ever was – : one cannot make sense of systems unless the relevant variables are taken into account. The scales and range of processes require access to more data and knowledge than can be mobilised by a single researcher or a small group, and need an international scope. Researchers that want to do cutting-edge science are therefore best served by networks that help them sharpen their own tools and providing access to other tools. So the collaborative efforts performed by the Platform are crucial in this regard. I’m also advocating that we get as much feedback as possible on the needs and experiences of the researchers, and that we continue to build on the resources of the relevant federal, regional and community institutions, embedded in the relevant international networks. 3.    What would be your wish for Biodiversity research in 2018? Despite what I said above the opportunities provided by technological change: I wished there would be a growing sense that there is no air, water, soil and life in hyperspace, that electrons and photons alone cannot sustain us. Let’s make biodiversity research even more able to tell us that we need a vibrant natural world, with a broader alliance of stakeholders, a support network, to turn the researchers’ knowledge into societal meaning, convincingly proving how vital it is for our possible future.


© 2018 Belgian Biodiversity Platform, All rights reserved. ‘Biodiversity Newsflash’ is published by the Belgian Biodiversity Platform, an initiative by the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO)Unsubscribe 



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