NICHE vegetation modelling

NICHE (Nature Impact Assessment of Changes in Hydro-Ecological Systems), a Dutch hydro-ecological prediction model, allows an estimation of the potential groundwater depending terrestrial vegetation, based on groundwater hydrology and soil characteristics. The model aims at predicting the effects on vegetation due to changes in hydrological conditions and this in the scope of scenario studies where optimal solutions are pursued.

NICHE project experience

  • 2002-2006: Adaptation of the Dutch vegetation model to the Flemish situation. Intensive data collection and data analysis from ca 100 nature reserves (vegetation plots, soil samples, time series analysis). Model runs in ArcGIS, testing, analysis of the results.

  • 2011: Impact analysis of groundwater extraction in a protected forest ecosystem (Kastanjebos, Belgium).

  • 2014-2015: Eco-hydrological study for a land consolidation project (Rijkevorsel-Wortel, Belgium).

  • 2016-2017: Modelling and evaluating the impact on groundwater dependent vegetation for the re-licensing of groundwater production zones in Belgium (Herselt-Vorst, Rijkevorsel-Merksplas, Hoogstraten ).