Hans Beeckman

Hans Beeckman
Royal Museum for Central Africa · Department of Biology

Doctor of Philosophy

About

350
Publications
165,774
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Introduction
Dr. Hans Beeckman is senior scientist at the Royal Museum for Central-Africa (Tervuren, Belgium). He is heading the Service of Wood Biology and curating the Tervuren xylarium, the Belgian governmental wood collection. He has a long-standing experience in managing research projects and delivering scientific services. He is a member of the international Wood Anatomical and Dendrochronological communities.

Publications

Publications (350)
Preprint
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Meteorological stations are rare in the tropics and satellite products often do not perform optimal. This leads to uncertainty in modelled regional climatic trends and may lead to opposing trends in prediction of future climate. This is particularly problematic for the Congo basin, where station coverage decreased significantly during the last few...
Article
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The latitudinal diversity gradient (LDG) is one of the most recognized global patterns of species richness exhibited across a wide range of taxa. Numerous hypotheses have been proposed in the past two centuries to explain LDG, but rigorous tests of the drivers of LDGs have been limited by a lack of high-quality global species richness data. Here we...
Article
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Data capturing multiple axes of tree size and shape, such as a tree's stem diameter, height and crown size, underpin a wide range of ecological research - from developing and testing theory on forest structure and dynamics, to estimating forest carbon stocks and their uncertainties, and integrating remote sensing imagery into forest monitoring prog...
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Background The identification of tropical African wood species based on microscopic imagery is a challenging problem due to the heterogeneous nature of the composition of wood combined with the vast number of candidate species. Image classification methods that rely on machine learning can facilitate this identification, provided that sufficient tr...
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To enrich knowledge on the growth dynamics of commercial forest species in the Congo Basin, a study was conducted in Cameroon, within a community forest in savannah forest transition zone (Zone 1) and within FMU 10 052 in dense semi-deciduous humid forest (Zone 2). It aimed to obtain, in 8 species, the height (H) of the tree from its diameter (D) m...
Article
Analysis of wood transects in a manner that preserves the spatial distribution of the metabolites present is highly desirable in order to among other things: (1) facilitate ecophysiology studies that reveal the association between chemical makeup and environmental factors or climactic events over time; (2) investigate the mechanisms of the synthesi...
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Interannual variability in the global land carbon sink is strongly related to variations in tropical temperature and rainfall. This association suggests an important role for moisture-driven fluctuations in tropical vegetation productivity, but empirical evidence to quantify the responsible ecological processes is missing. Such evidence can be obta...
Article
Rock‐derived nutrients such as calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) are essential plant resources, yet depleted in highly weathered tropical soils, leading to nutrient limitation of productivity or other ecosystem processes. Despite this, substantial amounts of rock‐derived nutrients occur within wood, which raises questi...
Article
Reliable tree height-diameter (H-D) allometric equations are a key tool for the estimation of forest productivity and Above Ground Biomass (AGB). Most existing H-D allometric equations developed for the tropical region are based on large-scale multi-species datasets, and their use to derive information on productivity and AGB at the species level i...
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Most Central African rainforests are characterized by a remarkable abundance of light-demanding canopy species: long-lived pioneers (LLP) and non-pioneer light demanders (NPLD). A popular explanation is that these forests are still recovering from intense slash-and-burn farming activities, which abruptly ended in the 19th century. This “human distu...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: The identification of tropical African wood species based on microscopic imagery is a challenging problem due to the heterogeneous nature of the composition of wood combined with the vast number of candidate species. Image classification methods that rely on machine learning can facilitate this identification, provided that sufficient t...
Article
Full-text available
A diversity of phenological strategies has been reported for tropical tree species. Defoliation and seasonal dormancy of cambial activity inform us on how trees cope with water stress during the dry season, or maximize the use of resources during the rainy season. Here, we study the matching between leaf phenology (unfolding and shedding) and cambi...
Article
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Because of the quality of their wood and their many traditional uses, species of the Entandrophragma genus are being intensively logged, and this is likely to compromise their survival unless sustainable management is introduced. This study reviews the current status of the five main commercial Entandrophragma species: Entandrophragma angolense, E....
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A correction to this paper has been published: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00226-021-01302-9
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Tropical forests store 40-50% of terrestrial vegetation carbon. Spatial variations in aboveground live tree biomass carbon (AGC) stocks remain poorly understood, in particular in tropical montane forests. Because of climatic and soil changes with increasing elevation, AGC stocks are lower in tropical montane compared to lowland forests. Here we ass...
Article
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Tropical forests store 40–50 per cent of terrestrial vegetation carbon1. However, spatial variations in aboveground live tree biomass carbon (AGC) stocks remain poorly understood, in particular in tropical montane forests2. Owing to climatic and soil changes with increasing elevation3, AGC stocks are lower in tropical montane forests compared with...
Article
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Understanding tree growth and carbon sequestration are of crucial interest to forecast the feedback of forests to climate change. To have a global understanding of the wood formation, it is necessary to develop new methodologies for xylogenesis measurements, valid across diverse wood structures and applicable to both angiosperms and gymnosperms. In...
Article
Tropical forests are the most diverse and productive ecosystems on Earth. While better understanding of these forests is critical for our collective future, until quite recently efforts to measure and monitor them have been largely disconnected. Networking is essential to discover the answers to questions that transcend borders and the horizons of...
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Background To enforce timber import laws and perform timber species identification, the identity of the botanical species must be well-defined. Since the Sapotaceae family is known as a taxonomically challenging family, we focus in this study on the four most valuable Sapotaceae timber species from tropical Africa: Autranella congolensis (De Wild.)...
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Tropical forests represent vast carbon stocks and continue to be key carbon sinks and buffer climate changes. The international policy constructed several mechanisms aiming at conservation and sustainable use of these forests. Illegal logging is an important threat of forests, especially in the tropics. Several laws and regulations have been set up...
Article
• Key message Distinct chemical fingerprints of the wood of Afzelia pachyloba and A. bipindensis demonstrated an effective method for identifying these two commercially important species. Direct analysis in real-time (DART) time-of-flight mass spectrometry (TOFMS) allowed high-throughput examination of chemotypes with vast potential in taxonomic, e...
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O objetivo foi abordar um mosaico de vegetação de savana (áreas marginais-MS e disjuntas-DS) no Cerrado Setentrional Brasileiro para investigar o papel desempenhado por fatores ambientais como determinantes da organização comunitária em escala espacial, a fim de compreender os padrões divergentes ao longo de uma gradiente ambiental. Analisamos pred...
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Significance The responses of tropical forests to heat and drought are critical uncertainties in predicting the future impacts of climate change. The 2015–2016 El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) resulted in unprecedented heat and low precipitation across the tropics, including in the very poorly studied African tropical forest region. We assess Af...
Article
Tropical forests are the most diverse and productive ecosystems on Earth. While better understanding of these forests is critical for our collective future, until quite recently efforts to measure and monitor them have been largely disconnected. Networking is essential to discover the answers to questions that transcend borders and the horizons of...
Preprint
Full-text available
The rainforest plays a crucial role in regulating the climate balance. The biodiversity of tropical rainforests is undeniable but many aspects remain poorly known which directly influences its management. Despite the efforts of sustainable forest management, human pressure in terms of exploitation and smuggling of timber forms a problem compared to...
Article
Tropical forests are the most diverse and productive ecosystems on Earth. While better understanding of these forests is critical for our collective future, until quite recently efforts to measure and monitor them have been largely disconnected. Networking is essential to discover the answers to questions that transcend borders and the horizons of...
Article
Full-text available
Background: The current data paper aims to interlink the African plant collections of the Meise Botanic Garden Herbarium (BR) and the Royal Museum for Central Africa Xylarium (Tw). Complementing both collections strengthens the reference value of each institutional collection, as more complete metadata are made available and it enables increased q...
Preprint
Full-text available
The illegal timber trade is still rampant so robust identification and tracking techniques are necessary to combat this wildlife crime. To follow and enforce timber import laws and adjoining timber species identification, the identity of the botanical species must be well defined. Since the Sapotaceae family is known as a taxonomically challenging...
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Description of the subject. Pericopsis elata (Fabaceae) is a long-lived light-demanding tree from African rain forests that produces timber of high economic value. Natural populations suffer from overexploitation and a deficit of natural regeneration. Plantations could increase its production and limit the pressure on natural forests. However, we l...
Technical Report
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The project is funded by BELSPO under the BRAIN-be Programme. POLCARTIM focuses on providing policy support concerning rainforest carbon stocks and timber trade. Policy Brief written by Victor Deklerck (Royal Museum for Central Africa, Belgium), Hans Beeckman (Royal Museum for Central Africa, Belgium) and Emmanuel Kassongo Yakusu (Royal Museum for...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This policy brief is part of the POLCARTIM project coordinated by the Royal Museum for Central Africa (Tervuren, Belgium) and executed in collaboration with the Belgian Science Policy (BELSPO). The project is funded by BELSPO under the BRAIN-be Programme. POLCARTIM focuses on providing policy support concerning rainforest carbon stocks and timber t...
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Aim Tree crowns determine light interception, carbon and water exchange. Thus, understanding the factors causing tree crown allometry to vary at the tree and stand level matters greatly for the development of future vegetation modelling and for the calibration of remote sensing products. Nevertheless, we know little about large‐scale variation and...
Article
Full-text available
Aim: Tree crowns determine light interception, carbon and water exchange. Thus, understanding the factors causing tree crown allometry to vary at the tree and stand level matters greatly for the development of future vegetation modelling and for the calibration of remote sensing products. Nevertheless, we know little about large‐scale variation and...
Article
The development of site-specific allometric models for tree species of natural tropical forests is hampered by limited resources while there is little quality control of the models developed. This study compares site- and species-specific models with generic and regional or pantropical models for Pterocarpus angolensis, the most widely exploited ti...
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The typical black coloured ebony wood ( Diospyros , Ebenaceae) is desired as a commercial timber because of its durable and aesthetic properties. Surprisingly, a comprehensive wood anatomical overview of the genus is lacking, making it impossible to fully grasp the diversity in microscopic anatomy and to distinguish between CITES protected species...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This policy brief is part of the POLCARTIM project coordinated by the Royal Museum for Central Africa (Tervuren, Belgium) and executed in collaboration with the Belgian Science Policy (BELSPO) and with support from the Belgian Biodiversity Platform. The project is funded by BELSPO under the BRAIN-be Programme. POLCARTIM focuses on providing policy...
Article
Temporal and spatial patterns in flowering phenology were assessed for eight tropical African tree species. Specifically, the frequency and seasonality of flowering at seven sites in central Africa were determined using field data, graphical analysis and circular statistics. Additionally, spatial variation in the timing of flowering across species...
Article
The effect of fungicidal components in wood has been known for ages, yet there is no method to assess the impact of such components on the durability of a wood species, as compared to other material characteristics that influence decay. In this paper, the importance of fungicidal effects on the natural durability of 10 wood species is assessed in r...
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The resistance of wood against fungal decay, in short the natural durability, is one of the main criteria for defining the potential use of a wood species. Wood collections, or xylaria, offer the unique opportunity to screen many specimens and species for the latter purpose yet sample size is often limited and standardized tests are often not possi...
Method
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Today we have five types of timber tracking tools available. Each has its own strengths and limitations (see the Timber Tracking Tool Infogram), but together they offer a broad range of methods that can assist us in identifying the botanical as well as the geographic origin (provenance) of most kinds of timber samples, even those smaller than 1 cm³...
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We explore whether a growth-ring analysis can produce additional information about carbon budgets in tropical forests. Such forests are characterized by a high number of species and by trees that rarely have anatomically distinct annual growth rings, which hampers the application of dendrochronological tools in carbon balance assessments in the tro...
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The sensitivity of tropical forest carbon to climate is a key uncertainty in predicting global climate change. Although short-term drying and warming are known to affect forests, it is unknown if such effects translate into long-term responses. Here, we analyze 590 permanent plots measured across the tropics to derive the equilibrium climate contro...
Article
The sensitivity of tropical forest carbon to climate is a key uncertainty in predicting global climate change. Although short-term drying and warming are known to affect forests, it is unknown if such effects translate into long-term responses. Here, we analyze 590 permanent plots measured across the tropics to derive the equilibrium climate contro...
Article
Forests exhibit leaf and ecosystem level responses to environmental changes. Specifically, rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels over the past century are expected to have increased the intrinsic water‐use efficiency (iWUE) of tropical trees while the ecosystem is gradually pushed into progressive nutrient limitation. Due to the long‐term character of...
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The important ecosystem services of the high altitude tropical afro-alpine Erica arborea L. forests are under increasing environmental and human pressure. The Erica treeline ecotone in the Ethiopian highlands forms a temperature-responsive vegetation boundary that is potentially affected by climate change. The cambium of 10 Erica arborea trees in L...
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Structurally intact tropical forests sequestered about half of the global terrestrial carbon uptake over the 1990s and early 2000s, removing about 15 per cent of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. Climate-driven vegetation models typically predict that this tropical forest ‘carbon sink’ will continue for decades. Here we assess trends in the c...
Article
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Background and Objectives: Studying responses in woody plants upon water limitation is gaining importance due to the predicted increase in frequency and intensity of droughts in Europe. We studied the variation in radial growth and in wood anatomical traits caused by water limited growth conditions in offspring from Quercus petraea (Matt.) Liebl.,...
Article
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Slash-and-burn is a farming practice of the indigenous communities in the Himalayan foothills of Nepal. The traditional land-tenure system is based on a customary oral tradition. However, the government’s persistent denial of land rights has fueled the indigenous conflicts in the last few decades. Deliverance of scientific evidence-based arguments...
Article
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Given the impact of tropical forest disturbances on atmospheric carbon emissions, biodiversity, and ecosystem productivity, accurate long-term reporting of Land-Use and Land-Cover (LULC) change in the pre-satellite era (<1972) is an imperative. Here, we used a combination of historical (1958) aerial photography and contemporary remote sensing data...
Article
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Key message Large sedimentation events resulting in partial burial may negatively affect mangrove trees’ growth and survival. However, mangroves can adapt to respond dynamically within months to sediment burial, attributes which confer resilience. Abstract Mangrove forests are generally sites of sediment deposition at the coast facilitated by the...
Article
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Phylogenies are a central and indispensable tool for evolutionary and ecological research. Even though most angiosperm families are well investigated from a phylogenetic point of view, there are far less possibilities to carry out large-scale meta-analyses at order level or higher. Here, we reconstructed a large-scale dated phylogeny including near...
Article
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Background and Objectives: The origin of traded timber is one of the main questions in the enforcement of regulations to combat the illegal timber trade. Substantial efforts are still needed to develop techniques that can determine the exact geographical provenance of timber and this is vital to counteract the destructive effects of illegal logging...
Article
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Plant traits—the morphological, anatomical, physiological, biochemical and phenological characteristics of plants—determine how plants respond to environmental factors, affect other trophic levels, and influence ecosystem properties and their benefits and detriments to people. Plant trait data thus represent the basis for a vast area of research sp...