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NATURA2MIL - Rehabilitation of habitats in military camps in Wallonia

LIFE05 NAT/B/000088


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version  
 

Contact details:

Project Manager: Pierre GÉRARD
Tel: +32 081 626438
Email: Pierre.Gerard@spw.wallonie.be



Project description:

Background

Having avoided land use intensification, for example through agricultural practices, military areas often contain areas of high ecological value 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 few centuries can be found. However, the absence of specific management in some cases has lead to a loss of habitat types through for instance overgrowth and changes in hydrological conditions. The military camps in Wallonia, Belgium, are particularly noteworthy for their extensive areas of Nardus grasslands, a priority habitat under the Habitats Directive.


Objectives

The project aimed to restore some 400 ha of Nardus grassland and heath habitats in three large military training grounds in Wallonia: Marche en Famenne, Lagland and Elsenborn. It also aimed to restore hydrological conditions in marshes in the project area and to initiate continuous management of the open habitats by grazing.

Foreseen measures included felling trees and removing scrubs on 380ha of different habitats. Topsoil was planned to be stripped on 35 ha of heath and grassland to remove some of the nutrients that are causing changes in the species composition. A total of 9 ha of nard (Nardus stricta) and spicknel (Meum athamanticum) swards would be restored and more than 100 old targets removed. Longer term management of these grasslands would be put in place by means of grazing by sheep and cattle or by controlled burning. Draining was to be discontinued and the water capacity of small streams would 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, the project planned to focus on 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 would be implemented to raise the awareness of permanent military staff in order to reduce unintentional damage to rare habitats and species during military training.


Results

The main achievements of the project include:

  • GIS mapping of all the sites;
  • Drawing up of management plans for three 3 areas;
  • Opening up of 704.38 hectares, far exceeding the target of 380 ha;
  • Stripping of topsoil on 44,33 ha;
  • Improvement of the water level at the Lagland site (28 seas, 400 dams on drainage systems);
  • Restoration of 2.86 ha peatland at Elsenborn exceeding objective of 2 ha;
  • Restoration of 28.4 ha of Alpine fennel priary at Elsenborn far exceeding target of 9 ha – their mowing is assured by contracted agricultural activities;
  • Restoration of fire locations at Elsenborn: 80 sites cleaned;
  • Pasture management at Marche-en-Famenne: sheepfold constructed and a flock installed – 300 ha of pasture land professionally managed;
  • Management of pasture land at Lagland: enclosure of 77.3 ha under agricultural contracts;
  • Fire management at Elsenborn of 752 ha (twice the size foreseen) – the technique was perfected for future use;
  • Setting up of a technical co-ordination team for the three sites under the auspices of the army which is responsible for nature conservation on all areas. Four military personnel are charged with carrying an after Life conservation plan in collaboration with the forestry management department of the Walloon region of Belgium;
  • Another important success of the project is the close co-operation between the military personnel and the DNF, the body responsible for nature conservation, in particular the management of Natura 2000 sites. Military personnel were trained in order to carry out the After-LIFE plan. Also, at the military camps, a return to hunting practices was encouraged following scientific studies into the activities of wild boars. An expert working for the military will ensure the ecological management of hunting in the target areas. Overall, the infrastructure established during the project will ensure the continuation of the pasture and plowing activities on these rich military-owned lands.

    Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Conservation Plan (see "Read more" section).


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Environmental issues addressed:

Themes

Habitats - Grasslands


Keywords

grassland ecosystem‚  grazing‚  protected area‚  public awareness campaign


Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Directive 79/409 - Conservation of wild birds (02.04.1979)
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv ...

Target species

 Alcedo atthis   Caprimulgus europaeus   Circus aeruginosus   Circus cyaneus   Crex crex   Dryocopus martius   Euphydryas aurinia   Hippolais olivetorum   Lanius collurio   Leucorrhinia pectoralis   Lullula arborea   Lutra lutra   Lycaena dispar   Pandion haliaetus   Pernis apivorus   Triturus cristatus   Vertigo moulinsiana   


Target Habitat types

  • 2330 - Inland dunes with open Corynephorus and Agrostis grasslands
  • 4010 - Northern Atlantic wet heaths with Erica tetralix
  • 4030 - European dry heaths
  • 6230 - "Species-rich Nardus grasslands, on silicious substrates in mountain areas (and submountain areas in Continental Europe)"
  • 6410 - "Molinia meadows on calcareous, peaty or clayey-silt-laden soils (Molinion caeruleae)"
  • 6430 - Hydrophilous tall herb fringe communities of plains and of the montane to alpine levels
  • 6510 - "Lowland hay meadows (Alopecurus pratensis, Sanguisorba officinalis)"
  • 7110 - Active raised bogs
  • 7140 - Transition mires and quaking bogs
  • 7150 - Depressions on peat substrates of the Rhynchosporion
  • 9110 - Luzulo-Fagetum beech forests
  • 9160 - Sub-Atlantic and medio-European oak or oak-hornbeam forests of the Carpinion betuli
  • 91E0 - "Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae)"

Natura 2000 sites

SCI BE33037C0 Camp militaire d'Elsenborn (Büllingen; Bütgenbach)
SCI BE34058C0 Camp militaire de Lagland (Arlon; Etalle; Saint-Léger)
SCI BE34008B0 Camp militaire de Marche-en-Famenne (Hotton; Marche-en-Famenne; Somme-Leuze)


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Beneficiaries:

Coordinator Direction Générale Opérationnelle "Agriculture, Ressources naturelles et Environnement" (DGO3) - Departement de l'Etude du Milieu Naturel et Agricole (DEMNA)
Type of organisation Regional authority
Description The Direction générale des ressources naturelles et de l’environnement (DGRNE) is the official administrative body in charge of the implementation of environmental policies in Wallonia. It is responsible for nature conservation activities. Two bodies are in charge of this project: Division Nature et Forêts and Centre de Recherche de la Nature, des Forêts et du Bois (CRNFB). The Division Nature et Forêts is in charge of the practical implementation of the Natura 2000 network in Wallonia and the CRNFB is responsible for the scientific basis for nature management.
Partners Ministère de la Défense Nationale, Belgium Ardenne et gaume asbl, Belgium Réserves Naturelles RNOB, Belgium

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Project reference LIFE05 NAT/B/000088
Duration 01-JAN-2006 to 31-DEC -2010
Total budget 3,447,436.00 €
EU contribution 1,723,718.00 €
Project location Région Wallonne(België - Belgique)

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Read more:

Project web site Project's website
Publication: After-LIFE Conservation Plan After-LIFE Conservation Plan
Publication: Article-Paper Bimestriel d’info du Life Camps Militaires en Wall ...
Publication: Layman report Layman report (1.9 MB)
Publication: Layman report Rapport de vulgarisation (1.9 MB)
Publication: Research findings Fiche technique de capitalisation N°02 – Bouchage ...
Publication: Research findings Fiche technique de capitalisation N° 01 – Annelage ...
Publication: Research findings Fiche technique de capitalisation N°4 – Les catich ...
Publication: Research findings Fiche technique de capitalisation N°05 – Le cisail ...
Publication: Research findings Fiche technique de capitalisation N° 06 – Déboisem ...
Publication: Research findings Fiche technique de capitalisation N°07 – Enclos fi ...
Publication: Research findings Fiche technique de capitalisation N°08 – L’enlèvem ...
Publication: Research findings Fiche technique de capitalisation N° 01 – L’étrépa ...
Publication: Research findings Fiche technique de capitalisation N°11 – Fraisage ...
Publication: Research findings Fiche technique de capitalisation N°12 – Réouvertu ...
Publication: Research findings Fiche technique de capitalisation N° 13 – Lutte co ...
Publication: Research findings Fiche technique de capitalisation N°14 – Lutte con ...
Publication: Research findings Fiche technique de capitalisation N°15 – Mises à f ...
Publication: Research findings Fiche technique de capitalisation N° 16 – Coupe de ...
Publication: Research findings Fiche technique de capitalisation N° 03 – Le câbla ...
Publication: Research findings Fiche technique de capitalisation N° 10 – Fauche a ...
Publication: Thesis "Etude de l’impact du sanglier (Sus scrofa L.) sur ...
Video link "La Défense au service de la biodiversité" (16')

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Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version