The Tailles Plateau with altitudes between 500m and 650m is the highest plateau in Wallonia, Belgium. The vegetation found on the plateau has a surprising mountain character, considering the relatively low altitude. The habitats include several types of bog habitats, forests and grasslands and give shelter to many rare and endangered species. Examples of species found on the plateau are the marsh fritillary (Euphydryas aurinia), black grouse (Tetrao tetrix), black stork (Ciconia nigra) and common crane (Grus grus). The region has great conservation value at European level and with its central position, this plateau is also an important stepping stone for species moving between the other high plateaus of Wallonia.
Some strict protected areas have been established on the plateau. However, the natural habitats of the plateau have suffered from a reduction of surface, fragmentation and degradation by the abandonment of traditional agricultural activities and the plantation of exotic conifers in and around some of the peabogs during the last century. The designation of large NATURA 2000 sites on the plateau increased the awareness of the need for more comprehensive and ambitious management.
The overall objective of the project is to enhance the connectivity of the habitats inside the project area, and between the project area and other similar areas in Wallonia. The secondary aim is hence to establish the Tailles Plateau as a base from which species can colonise suitable habitats in the region, or re-colonise areas where local extinction has occurred.
To this effect, the project aims to restore 13 habitat types of Community interest present on the plateau. The habitats include mostly open habitats such as Nardus grasslands, heaths, meadows and bogs, but also alluvial forests and bog woodland. The project will also regenerate natural beech forests that have lost a lot of mature trees.
The project will be implemented on four Natura 2000 sites covering an area of 2800ha. The primary restoration objectives are to re-establish open areas and natural hydrology by removing trees and shrubs (200 ha), filling in of ditches (20 km), stripping topsoil (20 ha), removing isolated trees to reopen 50 ha of bogs and heaths, and creation of 20 small ponds.
The project aims to put in place long-term conservation management of some 250 ha, consisting mostly of conifer plantations in valley bottoms, either by entering into management agreements with the owners (200 ha) or by purchasing the plots (50ha). Some 50 ha of heaths and meadows will be regularly cut, and two 20 ha enclosures will be set in place to allow grazing to be introduced at a later stage.
The project will also take in account the need for future management of the restored areas. Contacts will be established with local farmers and stakeholders potentially interested in extensive use of the open habitats, for example by extensive grazing. Information will be disseminated to the general public, and to specific stakeholders such as private forest owners in order to raise awareness about the natural values of the Tailles Plateau and encourage appropriate management.
endangered species‚ protected area‚ restoration measure‚
|EU LIFE||unknown||187.650.00 EUR|
created:2011-12-14 14:18:59 UTC, source:eu