Side Events

During the Congress there will be many opportunities to discover new horizons.



WHEN? Tuesday 7th February 2017 from 06.30 to 8:00 pm
WHERE? VUB Etterbeek campus – Auditorium Q Maathai
WHAT? Can industrial logging and nature conservation be allies in Central Africa? Short presentations and debate at the interface between science, conservation and sustainable management of African forest resources.. Invited speakers: Jean-Louis DOUCET, Katharine ABERNETHY, Paul-Emmanuel HUET, Kasso DAĎNOU, Richard EBA'A ATYI Hans BEECKMAN, Maaike DE RIDDER (moderator). For more details, please see the webpage dedicated to this event.


⇒ FREE VISIT (registration during the conference)

WHEN? Thursday 9th February 2017 from 05.30 to 7:00 pm
WHERE? VUB Etterbeek campus – Departure from Building D
WHAT? The African herbarium of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (international acronym: BRLU) was founded by Paul Duvigneaud in 1948. BRLU is one of the very few University herbaria still active in Belgium. BRLU keeps ca. 250,000 plant specimens (of which > 450 type specimens). The collection is focused on Central Africa, especially D.R. Congo, Gabon, Cameroun, Sao Tomé, Equatorial Guinea. One of the most original parts of the collection is the flora of copper-cobalt contaminated soil in Katanga, assembled by Paul Duvigneaud between 1948 and 1960.
In addition to dry specimens, BRLU holds a spirit collection of Orchids and a collection of silica-dried materials for genetic studies. The herbarium provides logistic support to all researchers at the Université Libre de Bruxelles who collect plant materials in Africa. The herbarium is recognized as a research unit of the Faculté des Sciences, developing its own research program. In particular, BRLU actively collaborates with the Missouri Botanical Garden (Saint-Louis, USA) on taxonomy and conservation of Orchids of tropical Africa.
⇒ Website:


⇒ FREE, REGISTRATION MANDATORY (see during the conference for remaining places)

WHEN? Friday 10th February 2017 from 01.30 to 4:30 pm
WHERE? VUB Etterbeek campus

⇒ W01 = Spatial ecology and Biogeography – Auditorium D02 FOSSEY

Chair: Alice C. HUGHES, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden - Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla (China) Contact: ach_conservation2[at]

Ecology is spatial! However though new tools have become available, many researchers are still have a limited knowledge of how spatial approaches can be incorporated into ecological studies to gain new perspectives on species ecology, evolution and conservation.
The workshop will be a combination of lecture and discussion, showcasing the array of questions which can be answered using GIS approaches, and how we can tailor our research design to most effectively to integrate spatial approaches into our studies. The session will centre around species and ecosystems, and explore how we can effectively use spatial approaches and understand how species ecology and physiology can be built into spatial analyses, and species distribution modeling approaches.
Participants should expect to broaden their understanding of the array of applications spatial analysis and modeling can be applied to, how to build studies and ask interesting questions; and how to develop those studies and select appropriate data.
No prior experience of GIS is necessary as we will focus on questions, experimental design and development, and though we will discuss spatial ecological approaches in a number of smaller thematic groups laptops are not essential to this session.

⇒ W02 = How to publish a Biodiversity Data Paper in tropical Ecology? – Computers room E1

Chairs: Patricia MERGEN, Botanic Garden Meise, Meise (Belgium) Contact: patricia.mergen[at] / PENSOFT PUBLISHERS Contact: penev[at] / Urmas KŐLJALG, University of Tartu, Tartu (Estonia) Contact: urmas.koljalg[at]

In the framework of the EU project "Building the European Biodiversity Network" (EU BON), which is the European contribution to the Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON), pre-exiting tools and standards have been improved to cope with the challenges of data mobilization, sharing, description and publishing.
The workshop will give an overview about the main tools used in the framework of the EU BON project, with selected examples of datasets from tropical regions. The tools presented will be the GBIF IPT (Integrated Publishing Toolkit), which is an open source software widely used to publish and share biodiversity datasets on the Global Biodiversity Information facility and related networks. They are using for example the TDWG data standard Darwin Core extended for sample based data. Further tool is (DEIMS): Drupal Ecological Information Management System, an extension of the Drupal content management system to facilitate the management and sharing of ecological data, particularly for the Long Term Ecological Research Network (LTER). The Biodiversity Data Journal (BDJ) and associated ARPHA publishing platform developed by the publisher Pensoft will be demonstrated. They enable to publish Data papers using directly the GBIF IPT system. Finally the Pluto F service will be presented. It is online service to create, record, manage, share, analyze and mobilize biodiversity data. Data types include ecology, taxonomy, metagenomics, nature conservation and natural history collections. It has been developed by the University of Tartu in Estonia. The main developers and training providers familiar with these tools will be present at the workshop and demonstrate them to the participants. There is a helpdesk and training material available to which the participants will have access, to test the systems with their own data as take home work, after having received extensive explanations and demos by the experts from the above mentioned networks. Particularly relevant to this conference are the 23 African GBIF Bid Grants for publishing Biodiversity data from 34 organizations from 20 African countries. They will make use of the tools and standards developed jointly by EU BON and GBIF.
The experts present at the workshop are involved in the mentoring program linked to these grants. Additionally, there are starting projects in the UNESCO Man and Biosphere reserves in Africa, where the applications of these tools will be tested to evaluate the economic value of the ecosystem services provided within such tropical protected areas. The Royal Museum for Central Africa, the Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Sciences and the Botanic Garden Meise, together with the Belgian Biodiversity Platform are particularly active in capacity building activities in African tropical regions.

⇒ W03 = What makes your CV stand out when you stay or leave academia? – Auditorium D03 AKÉ ASSI

Chair: Farid DAHDOUH-GUEBAS, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) / Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) / KAOW-ARSOM, Brussels (Belgium) Contact: fdahdouh[at]

Present and offer a discussion forum to young researchers to discuss what are their current or future skills and qualities. We'll discuss more in particular: the academic career, grading systems, scientific publication strategies, conference presentations, awards, curriculum vitae design for academic and non-academic purposes (how to advertise your skills?), and time management.