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Belgian researchers - Biosphere

Van Bogaert, Rik
PhD student

From autumn 2003 onwards, expeditions to Europe’s northernmost latitudes have been undertaken to discover geomorphologic and ecological processes in the polar region. During winter 2003-2004, intensive research has been carried out in northernmost Finland on the search for evidences of snow avalanches. This erosion process has a great influence on topography, soil, vegetation, and hydrological parameters. Understanding its origin, frequency and dynamics is of major importance regarding safety aspects. The study has been elaborated in cooperation with the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) and Davos Swiss Snow Avalanche Research Center (SLF).
Since 2006, my research interest has been extended towards bio-geographic processes, i.e. the shifts of the taiga-tundra boundary zone. An ideal model area to study the controlling processes can be found in the High North of Sweden, where highly varying physical settings regulate environmental processes. The position and associated shifts of this vegetation boundary have fascinated geographers since the early times due to its strong climatic signal.

Research area:

  • pclimate change, periglacial processes, fytogeography, geomorphologyp

List of publications

Van Bogaert, R. ; J. Autio, O. Heikkinen, M. De Dapper. 2007. Snow avalanches in Finland. Fennia (in press)

Van Bogaert, R. ; J. Autio, O. Heikkinen, M. De Dapper. 2005. Sneeuwlawineonderzoek in Fins Lapland. De Aardrijkskunde, vol. 29; 3-4.


Van Bogaert, R. 2007. Recent treeline dynamics in Northern Sweden. Annual PPS Arctic meeting presentation. March 22-23, Tromsø, Norway.

Van Bogaert, R. , T.V. Callaghan, M. De Dapper, C. Jonasson. 2007. Recent treeline dynamics in Northern Sweden- a multi-disciplinary landscape assessment. PhD-symposium Ghent. April 24, Ghent, Belgium.

Complementary resources

  • IPY: Present day processes, Past changes, and Spatiotemporal variability of biotic, abiotic and socio-environmental conditions and resource components along and across the Arctic delimitation zone. (PPS Arctic)
  • IPY: Environmental baselines, processes, changes and Impacts on people in sub-arctic Sweden and the Nordic Arctic Regions (ENVISNAR)
  • IPY: Retrospective and Prospective Vegetation Change in the Polar Regions: Back to the Future


Geography Department, Ghent University.
Krijgslaan 281, S8, B- 9000 Gent, Belgium.
Funded by Flanders Research Foundation (FWO)

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