Haine - Actions for Birds of Reedbeds in Bassin de la Haine

LIFE00 NAT/B/007148

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Joëlle HUYSECOM
Tel: 32/2/245.55.00
Fax: 32/2/245.39.33
Email: joelle.huysecom@natagora.be

Project description:


Reedbeds are widely threatened in northwestern Europe by the intensification of farming, natural succession, river management policies and rural drainage. This is the case with the vast marshland areas of the Haine basin, encompassing the marshes of Harchies-Hensies-Pommeroeul, the meadows of Grand Rieu and the Marionville-Douvrain marshes (totalling 6, 500 ha), between Mons and the French border. These areas have long sheltered wetlands of great ornithological interest with large populations of bittern (Botaurus stellaris), little bittern (Ixobrychus minutus) and marsh harrier (Circus aeruginosus). The Haine river basin is right in the centre of the Borinage coalfield, where underground mining has caused major land subsidence. The sinkholes quickly filled up with water, which contributed to the enlargement of the swampland between 1925 and 1950. Since then, however, some areas were drained and filled and the sites of biological interest became fragmented. In addition, a technical problem with pumping in the 1970s had a negative impact by drowning some of the reedbeds.


Facing a complex hydrological situation, the beneficiary, in partnership with the regional authorities, started the project with a detailed study of the hydrological problems of the area, in order to update the plans for the future management and monitoring of key species. To tackle the problem of habitat fragmentation, 60 ha of private land were to be purchased and used, in combination with land swaps, to form new protected zones. Creating coherent blocks of land in this way would make it possible to better manage the reedbeds. Where the reedbeds had been damaged or encroached upon by natural succession or by poplar plantation, mattocking or tree-felling would be applied to help bog vegetation and key bird species to re-establish themselves.



Environmental issues addressed:


Species - Birds
Habitats - Freshwater


land purchase‚  management plan‚  informal negotiation‚  restoration measure‚  diffuse pollution‚  environmental impact of energy‚  conflicting use‚  ecological assessment‚  environmental impact of agriculture‚  freshwater ecosystem‚  drainage system‚  landscape conservation policy‚  monitoring‚  wetlands ecosystem‚  site rehabilitation‚  cartography‚  hydrographic basin‚  pollution prevention‚  forest management‚  land restoration

Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Directive 79/409 - Conservation of wild birds (02.04.1979)
  • Decision 93/626 - Conclusion of the Convention on Biological Diversity (25.10.1993)
  • COM(95) 189 - "Communication on the judicious use and conservation of wetlands" (12.12.1995)
  • COM(98)42 -"Communication on a European Community Biodiversity Strategy" (05.02.1998)
  • COM(2001)162 -"Biodiversity Action Plan for the conservation of natural resources (vol. I & II)" ...

Target Habitat types

  • 3150 - Natural eutrophic lakes with Magnopotamion or Hydrocharition - type vegetation
  • 6430 - Hydrophilous tall herb fringe communities of plains and of the montane to alpine levels
  • 6510 - "Lowland hay meadows (Alopecurus pratensis, Sanguisorba officinalis)"
  • 91E0 - "Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae)"

Natura 2000 sites

SCI BE32017B0 Vallée de la Haine en aval de Mons (Bernissart; Boussu; Hensies; Jurbise; Mons; Quaregnon; Saint-Ghislain)



Coordinator Réserves naturelles RNOB ASBL
Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description Reserves Naturelles RNOB (renamed Natagora after the LIFE project began) is a private association for nature conservation which manages more than 140 nature reserves in Wallonia, covering circa 3000 ha altogether. In parallel, the association carries out numerous other actions to preserve biodiversity. Public awareness and information is a leading priority. The Reserves Naturelles RNOB also deals with general conservation policy in cooperation with the public authorities. Reserves Naturelles, together with Natuurpunt, is the Belgian partner of BirdLife International.
Partners Ministère de la Région Wallonne


Project reference LIFE00 NAT/B/007148
Duration 01-JUL-2001 to 30-JUN -2005
Total budget 1,740,715.00 €
EU contribution 870,358.00 €
Project location Région Wallonne(België - Belgique)


Read more:

Newsletter Title: Echo des Marais Special LIFE (6numeros) Author: Vincent Swinnen, Xavier Nachtergaele Year: 2005 Editor: Reserves Naturelles RNOB No of pages: 15
Publication: Article-Paper Title: Journal Toutes boites Author: RNOB Year: 2003 Editor: Les Reserves Naturelles, RNOB
Publication: Article-Paper Title: Les marais de la Haine Author: RNOB Year: 2003 Editor: Les reserves Naturelles, RNOB


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