Having avoided land use intensification, for example through agricultural practices, military areas often contain areas of high biological interest and are of great significance for biodiversity conservation. In many cases, historical landscape types and natural habitats were included in military areas in the 19th century and still exist there. Military areas are therefore often the only locations where natural habitats formed in the past centuries exist. However, the absence of specific management in some cases leads to a loss of habitat types through for instance overgrowth and changes in hydrological conditions. The military camps in Wallonia, Belgium, are particularly remarkable for extensive areas of Nardus grasslands, a priority habitat under the Habitats Directive.
The project aims to restore some 400ha of Nardus grassland and heath habitats in three large military training grounds in Wallonia: Marche en Famenne, Lagland and Elsenborn. It also aims to restore hydrological conditions in marshes in the project area and to initiate continuous management of the open habitats by grazing.
Measures to be implemented include felling trees and removing scrubs on 380ha of different habitats. Topsoil will be stripped on 35 ha of heath and grassland to remove some of the nutrients that are causing changes in the species composition. 9ha of nard (Nardus stricta) - spicknel (Meum athamanticum) swards will be restored and over 100 old targets removed. Longer term management of these grasslands will be put in place by means of grazing by sheep and cattle or by controlled burning. Draining will be discontinued and the water capacity of small streams will be reduced in order to create better hydrological conditions for the wet habitats and to facilitate the creation of a few small ponds. In two of the military camps, particular attention will be given to the management of wild boar populations that are currently too dense and cause damage to ground nesting birds, amphibians, invertebrates and bulb plant species.
An information programme will be implemented to raise the awareness of conscripts and permanent military staff in order to reduce unintentional damage to rare habitats and species during military training.
grassland ecosystem‚ grazing‚ protected area‚ public awareness campaign‚
|EU LIFE||unknown||187.650.00 EUR|
created:2011-12-14 14:18:59 UTC, source:eu