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Climate change: adapt or dry

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22 May 2023



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Leuven Central

Margarethaplein 3, Leuven






Consequences of climate change are diverse and requires some adaptations. With changing temperatures, yield will be affected together with locally grown crops. Yet, can we grow bananas in the Artic? Besides the carbon cycle, the water cycle is affected as well. We often hear about droughts, but to which extent are rainfalls impacting savannas? And how do Flemish gardens can play a role in mitigating these effects?

Rain Reigns Over Drought: How Increased Rainfall Triggers Turning Points in Savannas

Liezl Mari Vermeulen

PhD researcher

The devastating effects of climate change on ecosystems worldwide are rapidly increasing, with arid savannas in southern Africa being no exception. Liezl Vermeulen, a PhD researcher from KU Leuven/ACDI, delves into the critical questions surrounding this issue: how are African ecosystems transforming, to what extent, and why? Despite popular belief that droughts pose the most significant threat to our natural habitats, her research uncovers that excessive rainfall is, in fact, the primary culprit behind the dramatic changes observed in African savannas.

Spaceship Landing on Earth

KU Leuven

Plants on the move: resetting the plant circadian clock for a changing planet

Devang Mehta

Assistant Professor

As our planet heats up, the parts of the world that currently grow most of our food: the Tropics, will become hotter and more arid. In such a world, countries in the North will need to contribute more towards global food production even as rising temperatures make their existing farm systems less productive. As climate change forces agriculture to expand into more Northern latitudes, we need to engineer plants to thrive in shorter summers and longer dawns and dusks. In this talk, I will present some of the work my newly-founded lab at KU Leuven is undertaking to begin to solve this challenge.

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Leuven Plant Institute, KU Leuven

Nature-Based Solutions for Climate Resilient Domestic Gardens

Janne Teerlinck

PhD researcher

Despite being densely populated and urbanized, 84% of Flanders' citizens have a garden, covering 12% of its territory. Research has shown that the collective network of these gardens could make a substantial contribution to climate change adaptation and mitigation. One way to increase this contribution is the implementation of Nature-Based Solutions (NBS). By consolidating the existing knowledge on NBS and climate-resilient gardening practices through a systematic review, we provide examples of which NBS can be used in domestic gardens to alleviate the negative impacts of climate change.

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KU Leuven

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