In the past, open habitats such as raised bogs, transition bogs, heaths and grasslands covered a great part of the southern border region between France and Belgium. Many of these habitats and related species are now endangered in Belgium but are still present on the Plateau Croix Scaille, where the river La Houille and its tributary la Hulle take their source. The project area boasts an impressive 13 habitat types of Community interest, including the priority habitats bog woodland, Tilio-Acerion and alluvial forests, and Nardus grasslands.
However, some 50% of these two river valleys have been planted with conifers in the last fifty years, which has caused the destruction and fragmentation of these semi-natural habitats. In addition, many abandoned plots, in particular the bogs, are menaced by spontaneous reforestation and invasion by purple moorgrass (Molinia Caerula).
In the two last decades, the Reserves Naturelles RNOB and the Walloon Region established some protected areas in the region. However, while carrying out extensive inventories, it became clear that there is a need for more ambitious conservation and management actions in the area if the rare habitats and species are to survive.
The overall objective of the project is to improve the quality of the two river valleys, restoring open landscapes and enhancing the connectivity between the currently fragmented habitats. The project focuses on restoring habitats on three Natura 2000 sites that have been extensively planted with conifer groves.
To reduce habitat fragmentation, 160ha of exotic conifer plantations will be removed from the peat zones on the plateau and along river valleys leading away from the plateau.
Actions will be taken to encourage the development of natural and semi-natural environments on the cleared areas and other peat zones. On some areas, the project will restore bogs by clearing scrubs, blocking drainages and digging ponds. To keep the landscape open, the project will introduce extensive grazing and initiate mowing. Cooperation with local farmers is foreseen for the continuous management of these sites. Some 90 ha will be thereby be restored and managed.
50 ha of key plots will be purchased and made into nature reserves, to ensure their long-term protection and conservation management
To ensure increased local awareness, the project will involve the local media and TV. A programme of activities to discover and take part in the management of the sites is foreseen. This will in particular target regional schools and youth organisations, local associations, the tourism sector and the local press.
endangered species‚ protected area‚ landscape protection‚ restoration measure‚ border‚
|EU LIFE||unknown||105.350.00 EUR|
created:2011-12-14 14:18:59 UTC, source:eu