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See detailModelling Farm Growth and Its Impact on Agricultural Land Use: A Country Scale Application of an Agent-Based Model
Beckers, Veronique; Beckers, Jeroen; Vanmaercke, Matthias ULiege et al

in Land (2018), 7(3),

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See detailComment révéler les multiples rôles de la biodiversité pour le bien-être individuel et collectif ? Un appel pour relancer la plateforme wallonne sur les services écosystémiques
Maebe, Laura ULiege; Pipart, Nathalie; Dendoncker, Nicolas et al

Article for general public (2018)

Face au constat de la dégradation continue de la biosphère, le concept de services écosystémiques (i.e. ensemble des biens et services fournis par les écosystèmes ; SE) est de plus en plus mobilisé pour ... [more ▼]

Face au constat de la dégradation continue de la biosphère, le concept de services écosystémiques (i.e. ensemble des biens et services fournis par les écosystèmes ; SE) est de plus en plus mobilisé pour mettre en évidence la valeur des apports des écosystèmes à la vie humaine. Cette approche permet de révéler nos (inter)dépendances et interactions avec la nature, les coûts et bénéfices cachés de nos actions et de mettre en discussion les intérêts individuels et collectifs pour une gestion durable des écosystèmes. Dans ce contexte, une plateforme wallonne sur les services écosystémiques, nommée Wal-ES, a été mise en place en 2014. A l’interface entre le Service Public de Wallonie (SPW) et les universités wallonnes, Wal-ES vise à révéler l’importance du fonctionnement des écosystèmes pour intégrer l’approche des SE dans des outils d’aide à la décision. Financée seulement pendant une année, la plateforme n’a pu que mettre en place un cadre conceptuel et les bases communes devant servir ultérieurement à développer les outils d’aide à la décision. Toutefois, l’équipe scientifique a continué à mobiliser le concept dans deux projets de développement territorial. Le premier correspond à un aménagement foncier rural en Hesbaye où l’approche des SE a été mise en œuvre pour évaluer et développer la multifonctionnalité des paysages agricoles. Le second est le projet d'une première charte forestière sur quatre communes de la Grande Forêt de Saint-Hubert. Un diagnostic des services écosystémiques rendus par la forêt a été réalisé pour évaluer la répartition des services sur le territoire et préconiser des stratégies de gestion visant à en améliorer la fourniture. [less ▲]

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See detailIntegrating Ecosystem Services values for sustainability? Evidence from the Belgium Ecosystem Services Community of practices
Dendoncker, Nicolas; Turkelboom, Francis; Boeraeve, Fanny ULiege et al

in Ecosystem Services (2018), 31

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See detailParticipatory identification and selection of ecosystem services: building on field experiences
Boeraeve, Fanny ULiege; Dufrêne, Marc ULiege; De Vreese, Rik et al

in Ecology and Society (2018), 23(2),

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See detailHow can integrated valuation of ecosystem services help understanding and steering agroecological transitions?
Dendoncker, Nicolas; Boeraeve, Fanny ULiege; Crouzat, Emilie et al

in Ecology and Society (2018), 23(1), 12

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See detailForest cover correlates with good biological water quality. Insights from a regional study (Wallonia, Belgium)
Brogna, Delphine; Dufrêne, Marc ULiege; Michez, Adrien ULiege et al

in Journal of Environmental Management (2018), 211

Abstract Forested catchments are generally assumed to provide higher quality water in opposition to agricultural and urban catchments. However, this should be tested in various ecological contexts and ... [more ▼]

Abstract Forested catchments are generally assumed to provide higher quality water in opposition to agricultural and urban catchments. However, this should be tested in various ecological contexts and through the study of multiple variables describing water quality. Indeed, interactions between ecological variables, multiple land use and land cover (LULC) types, and water quality variables render the relationship between forest cover and water quality highly complex. Furthermore, the question of the scale at which land use within stream catchments most influences stream water quality and ecosystem health remains only partially answered. This paper quantifies, at the regional scale and across five natural ecoregions of Wallonia (Belgium), the forest cover effect on biological water quality indices (based on diatoms and macroinvertebrates) at the riparian and catchment scales. Main results show that forest cover – considered alone – explains around one third of the biological water quality at the regional scale and from 15 to 70% depending on the ecoregion studied. Forest cover is systematically positively correlated with higher biological water quality. When removing spatial, local morphological variations, or population density effect, forest cover still accounts for over 10% of the total biological water quality variation. Partitioning variance shows that physico-chemical water quality is one of the main drivers of biological water quality and that anthropogenic pressures often explain an important part of it (shared or not with forest cover). The proportion of forest cover in each catchment at the regional scale and across all ecoregions but the Loam region is more positively correlated with high water quality than when considering the proportion of forest cover in the riparian zones only. This suggests that catchment-wide impacts and a fortiori catchment-wide protection measures are the main drivers of river ecological water quality. However, distinctive results from the agricultural and highly human impacted Loam region show that riparian forests are positively linked to water quality and should therefore be preserved. [less ▲]

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See detailWalloon researchers on ecosystem services... What's up?
Maebe, Laura ULiege; Authelet, Manon ULiege; Breyne, Johanna ULiege et al

Poster (2017, December 12)

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See detailHigh-resolution simulations of natural and agricultural ecosystems over Belgium with the CARAIB Dynamic Vegetation Model
Jacquemin, Ingrid ULiege; Dury, Marie ULiege; Henrot, Alexandra-Jane ULiege et al

Conference (2017, November 17)

CARAIB (for CARbon Assimilation In the Biosphere) is a state-of-the-art dynamic vegetation model (DVM), initially designed to study the role of the vegetation in the global carbon cycle and the vegetation ... [more ▼]

CARAIB (for CARbon Assimilation In the Biosphere) is a state-of-the-art dynamic vegetation model (DVM), initially designed to study the role of the vegetation in the global carbon cycle and the vegetation behavior as a function of climate and soil. Motivated by the requirements of ecosystem management and land use planning studies, CARAIB was recently improved so as to deal with both natural and agricultural ecosystems and at a high resolution of 1km over Belgium. A new module, for crops and meadows, was added in the model, which deals with the specific processes (phenology) and management (sowing, harvesting,…) of these ecosystems. The spatial and temporal validation was carried out with different data sources : agricultural statistics, eddy-covariance site, field measurements,… The addition of the crop module has led to the improvement of the surface scheme, from now on including dynamic land use and land cover information. As well as describes the evolution of physical and biological processes, CARAIB has become an interesting tool to assess the sustainability under climate change of the ecological systems, in particular by the approach of the ecosystem goods and services. Indeed, if some model outputs can be directly read as quantitative indicators of ecosystem services (e.g. carbon sequestration), we have translated some of them to get, e.g., the crop yield (from net primary productivity) or an estimation of the soil erosion for simulation at the parcel level (from runoff and parcels characteristics). But whether an ecosystem services or land use planning studies, the crucial point for CARAIB is the landscape dynamics, which is not considered by the model, in the absence of anthropogenic, economic and societal factors in the system. In order to overcome this lack, CARAIB is now coupled with an agent-based model (ABM), to compose a land surface dynamics (LSD) module. The productivity and growth of natural and managed vegetation is given by the DVM to the ABM, which determines the shifts in land use and land cover. The LSD module is able to represent the mutual interactions between ecological and socio-economic systems and thus, to assess the sustainability of the different climate and socio-economic scenarios tested. [less ▲]

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See detailLand surface interactions modeling (Agent-Based-Model - Dynamic Vegetation Model) over Belgium: current state and crop yield assessment for future (at the Belgian and European scales)
Jacquemin, Ingrid ULiege; Beckers, Veronique; Henrot, Alexandra-Jane ULiege et al

Poster (2017, May 23)

Agriculture in Europe is under substantial pressure. Farmers need to adapt to an ever-increasing global market, resulting in increasing competition and a high dependency on global food prices. Furthermore ... [more ▼]

Agriculture in Europe is under substantial pressure. Farmers need to adapt to an ever-increasing global market, resulting in increasing competition and a high dependency on global food prices. Furthermore, they have to deal with an increasing urbanization pressure and to comply with increasingly strict environmental rules and policies, sometimes requiring heavy investments. Combined to potential impacts of climate changes on ecosystems functions and structures, these factors could lead to a change in land use structure. In the framework of the MASC project ("Modelling and Assessing Surface Change impacts on Belgium and Western European climate"), we aim at providing a better understanding of these factors, with the final objective of improving regional climate model projections at the decennial scale over Belgium and Western Europe by combining high-resolution models. We propose to combine an agent-base model (ABM) and a dynamic vegetation model (DVM), CARAIB (“CARbon Assimilation In the Biosphere”). The ABM models the farmers as individual agents using a certain number of parcels. They decide on what to plant based on market prices, subsidies, crop rotations, personal preferences and the expected yield, which will be given by CARAIB. CARAIB will be forced over Belgium with the outputs of the regional climate model ALARO (4 km resolution) for the recent past and for the most common crops. As a first attempt to assess the impact of the climate change on crops yields over Europe, CARAIB will be driven with the outputs of several regional climate models (RCMs), from EURO-CORDEX, nested in CMIP5 general circulation model projections: ALADIN53 (Météo-France/CNRM), RACMO22E (KNMI), RCA4 (SMHI) and REMO2009 (MPI-CSC) RCMs (0.11-degree, ≈12 km) [less ▲]

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See detailLes services écosystémiques : Définitions et cadre conceptuel
Maebe, Laura ULiege; Dufrêne, Marc ULiege; Pipart, Nathalie et al

Conference given outside the academic context (2017)

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See detailLinking Forest Cover to Water Quality: A Multivariate Analysis of Large Monitoring Datasets
Brogna, Delphine; Michez, Adrien ULiege; Jacobs, Sander et al

in Water (2017), 9(3), 176

Forested catchments are generally assumed to provide higher quality water. However, this hypothesis must be validated in various contexts as interactions between multiple land use and land cover (LULC ... [more ▼]

Forested catchments are generally assumed to provide higher quality water. However, this hypothesis must be validated in various contexts as interactions between multiple land use and land cover (LULC) types, ecological variables and water quality variables render this relationship highly complex. This paper applies a straightforward multivariate approach on a typical large monitoring dataset of a highly managed and densely populated area (Wallonia, Belgium; 10-year dataset), quantifying forest cover effects on nine physico-chemical water quality variables. Results show that forest cover explains about one third of the variability of water quality and is positively correlated with higher quality water. When controlling for spatial autocorrelation, forest cover still explains 9% of water quality. Unlike needle-leaved forest cover, broad-leaved forest cover presents an independent effect from ecological variables and explains independently 4.8% of water quality variability while it shares 5.8% with cropland cover. This study demonstrates clear independent effects of forest cover on water quality, and presents a method to tease out independent LULC effects from typical large multivariate monitoring datasets. Further research on explanatory variables, spatial distribution effects and water quality datasets could lead to effective strategies to mitigate pollution and reach legal targets. [less ▲]

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See detailSpatially explicit farmer population modelling in Belgium
Beckers, Veronique; Beckers, Joris; Vanmaercke, Matthias ULiege et al

Conference (2017)

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See detailThe Bec Hellouin Organic Farm, reflections and perspective for research from the GIRAF community
Dendoncker, Nicolas; Reheul, Dirk; Chapelle, Gauthier et al

E-print/Working paper (2017)

A team of 13 researchers, members of the FNRS contact group «GIRAF (www.agroecologie.be) », visited the Bec Hellouin Organic Farm (hereafter BHOF) for one day and a half on the 4th and 5th November 2016 ... [more ▼]

A team of 13 researchers, members of the FNRS contact group «GIRAF (www.agroecologie.be) », visited the Bec Hellouin Organic Farm (hereafter BHOF) for one day and a half on the 4th and 5th November 2016. The visit consisted in an exchange with François Léger and Charles Hervé-Gruyer around the final report « Maraîchage biologique permaculture et performance économique », coordinated by Sacha Guéguan and François Léger (Institut Sylva and AgroParisTech – UMR SADAPT, INRA), followed by a guided visit of the farm with Charles Hervé-Gruyer, briefly in the afternoon of the 4th of November, but mainly on the morning of the 5th of November. Informal discussions also occurred outside these planned activities. This paper synthesizes the reflections of the GIRAF members that emerged during and after this visit. It represents a collective opinion, hence reporting both shared and diverging viewpoints of all attending GIRAF members. [less ▲]

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See detailLooking for a Dialogue between Farmers and Scientific Soil Knowledge: Learnings from an Ethno-Geomorphopedological Study in a Philippine’s Upland Village
Richelle, Lola; Visser, Marjolein; Bock, Laurent ULiege et al

in Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (2017), 0(ja),

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See detailHow does forest cover impact water flows and ecosystem services? Insights from real-life catchments in Wallonia (Belgium)
Brogna, Delphine; Vincke, Caroline; Brostaux, Yves ULiege et al

in Ecological Indicators (2017), 72

While planet boundaries are being crossed and ecosystems degraded, the Ecosystem Service (ES) conceptrepresents a potential decision-making tool for improved natural resources management. The main aimof ... [more ▼]

While planet boundaries are being crossed and ecosystems degraded, the Ecosystem Service (ES) conceptrepresents a potential decision-making tool for improved natural resources management. The main aimof this paper is to assess the impact of forest cover on water related ES in Wallonia (Belgium) in termsof quantity and timing. We developed an approach based on easily accessible data, monitored in severalcountries and using straightforward statistical methods. This led us to study ES at “real-life” catchmentsscale: 22 catchments – from 30 to 250 km2– with mixed land covers were studied. We approached thewater supply and flood protection services through 5 indicators extracted from 10 hydrological years(2005–2014) discharge data series. These were computed annually and seasonally (vegetation periodfrom March to September and “non-vegetation” period the rest of the year). The water supply wasassessed through the specific volume Vs, the baseflow index BFI and the specific discharge exceeded95% of the time Q95s whereas the flood protection service was approached through the specific dis-charge exceeded 5% of the time Q05s and the flashiness index FI. Our study gives two main insights. First,statistical analyses show that forest cover negatively impact water supply when studying annual and“non-vegetation” period flows in general (Vs) but positively when studying low flows (Q95s). Regardingflood protection a slightly negative impact of forest cover on high flows (Q05s) was highlighted in the“non-vegetation” period. Results also show a negative impact of forests annually and in the vegetationperiod on the flashy behaviour of the catchment thus a positive impact on the flood protection ES. The“year” effect is overall highly significant testifying the importance of climatic factors. Rainfall is oftensignificant and can be considered as a main driver of these ES. Secondly, analyzing the quality of themodels produced and the results overall we assume that other variables characterizing the catchmentssuch as topography or soil types do play a significant role in the delivery of these ES. This questions theuse of land cover proxies in assessing and mapping of hydrological ES at a complex landscape scale. Wethus recommend further research to keep improving land cover proxies if they are used. [less ▲]

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See detailEcosystem services in Wallonie ... What's up?
Maebe, Laura ULiege; Pipart, Nathalie; Dendoncker, Nicolas et al

Poster (2016, December 13)

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See detailEcosystem services in Wallonie ... What's up?
Maebe, Laura ULiege; Nathalie, Pipart; Brogna, Delphine et al

Poster (2016, September 20)

In Wallonia, a growing amount of projects on ecosystem services (ES) are conducted. These projects implement the ES concept at different spatial scales (ranging from the country scale to the plot scale ... [more ▼]

In Wallonia, a growing amount of projects on ecosystem services (ES) are conducted. These projects implement the ES concept at different spatial scales (ranging from the country scale to the plot scale), focus on some particular ES or consider all of them and finally, rely on one or multiple valuation types (i.e. biophysical, social and economic). With their multiple dimensions they feed each other with reflexions and methods. The aim of the stand is to give an overview of these ongoing projects taking place in Wallonia. Their similarities and common objectives will be highlighted on posters while their specificities will be presented by means of games, activities, quiz, etc. We hope to stimulate discussions and debates on our methods and results, to foster networking and knowledge exchange. Hereunder, we give a short overview of these projects to give hints on the diversity addressed by our stand. At the Belgian scale, BELBEES, a project funded by BELSPO, aims to identify the factors responsible for the decline of wild bees. Different hypotheses are tested, including the impact of land-use changes and the reduction of floral resources availability at geographical and temporal scales. The results will allow tracking historical community-level changes in pollination service at a biogeographical scale. Such initiative is a step forward in the perspective of ecosystem service mapping. In Wallonia, various projects on ES are underway: Wal-ES, a federating platform between the Walloon administrations and the scientists, aims to create and disseminate decision support tools based on the ecosystem services concept. In order to build the common core for these tools, Wal-ES defines a conceptual framework, an integrated ecosystem services valuation framework and a database regrouping all the information needed to assess ES in Wallonia. This platform helps to conduct a practical application of its integrated ES valuation framework to land planning at a local scale. This application aims to define a methodology for impact assessment of land-consolidation plans based on ES while testing it on a case study covering three municipalities in Wallonia. LIFE IN QUARRIES aims to develop biodiversity and ecosystem services in Walloon active quarries. One of its actions is the assessment and the monitoring of ES provided by a quarry regarding the restoration, maintenance and management of the nature undertaken during the project. BIOECOSYS project is focused on qualitative and quantitative assessment of ecosystem services provided by grasslands according to their management and their territorial context. The field study aims to determine production services under different soils and climatic conditions while the goal of the regional study is the mapping of several ES (production and regulation services). Other projects focus on a more regional or local scale: The first one studies the impact of forest cover on regulating services at the regional scale. This study investigates the impact of forest cover on hydrological services (i.e. water supply, water damage mitigation) in terms of quantity, timing and quality. The methods studying the impact of forest cover on water quality and carbon storage regulation service will be presented as well as the results of the impact of forest cover on the quantity and timing aspects. Secondly, a PhD project is looking at sown wildflower strips in agricultural fields. In the project, it is tested whether increasing the functional diversity of the flower mixtures used in wildflower strips can be a tool to optimize pollination and biodiversity support services. Another PhD research project is underway, willing to explore the relationships between biodiversity, functional diversity and the delivery of ecosystem services (pest control and pollination) in agricultural landscapes. This project aims at identifying the role of landscape and its ecological infrastructures (mainly Agro-Environment Schemes) on the species and functional traits composition of different arthropods assemblages. We will then link these diversity patterns to the provisioning of the ecosystem services of interest. Ongoing work also addresses agricultural practices, by analysing the contribution of agroecological farming systems to the delivery of ecosystem services. This project relies on an integrated valuation including both a biophysical and a social valuation. Focusing on the same fields as the above project, this one attempts to develop an innovative method to assess ecosystem services in agricultural fields by means of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones). [less ▲]

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See detailStretching the ecosystem service concept for application in real world situations
Boeraeve, Fanny ULiege; Jacobs, Sander; Dendoncker, Nicolas et al

Conference (2016, September 19)

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See detailUsing a dynamic vegetation model for future projections of crop yields : application to Belgium in the framework of the VOTES and MASC projects
Jacquemin, Ingrid ULiege; Henrot, Alexandra-Jane ULiege; Fontaine, Corentin M. et al

Poster (2016, April 22)

Dynamic vegetation models (DVM) were initially designed to describe the dynamics of natural ecosystems as a function of climate and soil, to study the role of the vegetation in the carbon cycle. These ... [more ▼]

Dynamic vegetation models (DVM) were initially designed to describe the dynamics of natural ecosystems as a function of climate and soil, to study the role of the vegetation in the carbon cycle. These models are now directly coupled with climate models in order to evaluate feedbacks between vegetation and climate. But DVM characteristics allow numerous other applications, leading to amelioration of some of their modules (e.g., evaluating sensitivity of the hydrological module to land surface changes) and developments (e.g., coupling with other models like agent-based models), to be used in ecosystem management and land use planning studies. It is in this dynamic context about DVMs that we have adapted the CARAIB (CARbon Assimilation In the Biosphere) model. One of the main improvements is the implementation of a crop module, allowing the assessment of climate change impacts on crop yields. We try to validate this module at different scales: - from the plot level, with the use of eddy-covariance data from agricultural sites in the FLUXNET network, such as Lonzée (Belgium) or other Western European sites (Grignon, Dijkgraaf,. . . ), - to the country level, for which we compare the crop yield calculated by CARAIB to the crop yield statistics for Belgium and for different agricultural regions of the country. Another challenge for the CARAIB DVM was to deal with the landscape dynamics, which is not directly possible due to the lack of consideration of anthropogenic factors in the system. In the framework of the VOTES and the MASC projects, CARAIB is coupled with an agent-based model (ABM), representing the societal component of the system. This coupled module allows the use of climate and socio-economic scenarios, particularly interesting for studies which aim at ensuring a sustainable approach. This module has particularly been exploited in the VOTES project, where the objective was to provide a social, biophysical and economic assessment of the ecosystem services in four municipalities under urban pressure in the center of Belgium. The biophysical valuation was carried out with the coupled module, allowing a quantitative evaluation of key ecosystem services as a function of three climatic and socio-economic scenarios. [less ▲]

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See detailHigh-resolution climate and land surface interactions modeling over Belgium: current state and decennial scale projections
Jacquemin, Ingrid ULiege; Henrot, Alexandra-Jane ULiege; Beckers, Veronique et al

Poster (2016, April 21)

The interactions between land surface and climate are complex. Climate changes can affect ecosystem structure and functions, by altering photosynthesis and productivity or inducing thermal and hydric ... [more ▼]

The interactions between land surface and climate are complex. Climate changes can affect ecosystem structure and functions, by altering photosynthesis and productivity or inducing thermal and hydric stresses on plant species. These changes then impact socio-economic systems, through e.g., lower farming or forestry incomes. Ultimately, it can lead to permanent changes in land use structure, especially when associated with other non-climatic factors, such as urbanization pressure. These interactions and changes have feedbacks on the climate systems, in terms of changing: (1) surface properties (albedo, roughness, evapotranspiration, etc.) and (2) greenhouse gas emissions (mainly CO2, CH4, N2O). In the framework of the MASC project (« Modelling and Assessing Surface Change impacts on Belgian and Western European climate »), we aim at improving regional climate model projections at the decennial scale over Belgium and Western Europe by combining high-resolution models of climate, land surface dynamics and socio-economic processes. The land surface dynamics (LSD) module is composed of a dynamic vegetation model (CARAIB) calculating the productivity and growth of natural and managed vegetation, and an agent-based model (CRAFTY), determining the shifts in land use and land cover. This up-scaled LSD module is made consistent with the surface scheme of the regional climate model (RCM: ALARO) to allow simulations of the RCM with a fully dynamic land surface for the recent past and the period 2000-2030. In this contribution, we analyze the results of the first simulations performed with the CARAIB dynamic vegetation model over Belgium at a resolution of 1km. This analysis is performed at the species level, using a set of 17 species for natural vegetation (trees and grasses) and 10 crops, especially designed to represent the Belgian vegetation. The CARAIB model is forced with surface atmospheric variables derived from the monthly global CRU climatology or ALARO outputs (from a 4 km resolution simulation) for the recent past and the decennial projections. Evidently, these simulations lead to a first analysis of the impact of climate change on carbon stocks (e.g., biomass, soil carbon) and fluxes (e.g., gross and net primary productivities (GPP and NPP) and net ecosystem production (NEP)). The surface scheme is based on two land use/land cover databases, ECOPLAN for the Flemish region and, for the Walloon region, the COS-Wallonia database and the Belgian agricultural statistics for agricultural land. Land use and land cover are fixed through time (reference year: 2007) in these simulations, but a first attempt of coupling between CARAIB and CRAFTY will be made to establish dynamic land use change scenarios for the next decades. A simulation with variable land use would allow an analysis of land use change impacts not only on crop yields and the land carbon budget, but also on climate relevant parameters, such as surface albedo, roughness length and evapotranspiration towards a coupling with the RCM. [less ▲]

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