Green of the past
At the beginning of the 19th century Charles Van Hoorebeke collected and preserved all wild plant species from East Flanders. Thanks to his herbarium, East Flanders is the only province of Belgium that has a complete catalogue of the flora of his time. Using this collection, biologist Katrijn Vannerum and historian Thijs Lambrecht (Ghent University) compared the plant diversity of today and two centuries ago. No fewer than 133 species in the herbarium appeared to have disappeared. The authors examined the causes of this loss. One important explanation is the disappearance of specific landscapes. Thanks to LOKSTAT, the researchers were able to reconstruct and analyse the landscape transformation in detail.
The authors’ findings are summarised in an illustrated book intended for a broad audience and anyone with an interest in plants and biodiversity. The book includes a number of overview maps of historical plant locations and landscapes made by the Quetelet Center.
Katrijn Vannerum and Thijs Lambrecht. Groen van toen: de verdwenen flora van Oost-Vlaanderen. Ghent, Academia Press, 2022, 128 p.