PLTTAILLES - Rehabilitation of natural habitats on the Tailles Plateau

LIFE05 NAT/B/000089

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

Contact details:

Project Manager: Pierre GÉRARD
Tel: +32 81 626 438
Email: pierre.gerard@spw.wallonie.be

Project description:


The Tailles Plateau is one of the highest plateaus in Wallonia, Belgium. While the altitude is relatively low (500-650m high) the habitats found on the plateau are characterised by mountain vegetation. They include several types of bog habitats, forests and grasslands and accommodate many rare and endangered species. Examples of species found on the plateau are the Violet copper (Lycanea helle), the Great grey shrike (Lanius excubitor), the Black stork (Ciconia nigra) and the Common crane (Grus grus). The region has great conservation value at European level; the plateau is also an important stepping stone for species moving between the other high plateaus of Wallonia.

Some protected areas have been established on the plateau. However, in recent decades, the natural habitats of the plateau suffered as a result of decrease in size, fragmentation and degradation by the abandonment of traditional agricultural activities, and the plantation of exotic conifers. The designation of large Natura 2000 sites on the plateau increased awareness of the need for more comprehensive and ambitious management.


The overall objective of the project was 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 was thus to establish the Plateau des Tailles 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 aimed to restore 13 habitat types of Community interest present on the plateau. The habitats were mostly open, such as Nardus grasslands, heaths, meadows and bogs, but also alluvial forests and bog woodland. The project would also regenerate natural beech forests that have lost a lot of mature trees.

The project would be implemented on four Natura 2000 sites covering an area of 2800 ha. The primary restoration objectives were to reestablish open areas and natural hydrology by removing trees and shrubs (320 ha), filling in ditches (60 km), stripping topsoil (25 ha), removing isolated trees to reopen 50 ha of bogs and heaths, and creating 150 small ponds.

The project aimed to put in place long-term conservation management of some 600 ha (including 280 ha of preexisting nature reserves), consisting mostly of conifer plantations in valley bottoms, either by entering into management agreements with the owners (320 ha) or by purchasing the plots (65ha). Some 50 ha of heaths and meadows would be regularly cut, and two 20 ha enclosures were to be created to allow grazing to be introduced at a later stage.

The project would also take in account the need for future management of the restored areas. Contacts would be established with local farmers and stakeholders potentially interested in extensive use of the open habitats, for example by extensive grazing. Information would 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.


All the targets were met and in many cases exceeded. The purchase of land, the restoration of open areas and the encouragement of a more favorable water regime was particularly successful. The establishment of land management by mowing and extensive grazing has laid the groundwork for the implementation of the After-LIFE conservation plan.

The project is a good example for many other projects, demonstrating good practice in the areas of management, technical capacity and finance.

The project has also been a model of collaboration among very different partners: each partner operates in its field of excellence. The LIFE team was generally very flexible, allowing a rapid flow of information and decision-making at short notice whenever possible.

The layman's report was published and is available in French and English. The plan for life after LIFE, high quality, is also available in the two languages.

Specific results of the project include:

  • Purchase of around 72 ha with support of LIFE (around 86 ha in total for the project).
  • Abandonment of coniferous forestry on 335 ha.
  • Approval of around 52 hectares of new nature reserves on private land.
  • Approval of 330 hectares of new publically owned nature reserves.
  • Anticipated cuts to conifer plantations on 332 ha and the elimination of plantations and recolonisation on 140 ha of land without economic value.
  • Sod-cutting of 31 ha of land.
  • Restoration of the water regime: 341km of blocked drains, 29 under road passages (230 m nozzle), 364 ponds, 15 326 km of dykes, 262 m sheet piles.
  • Restoration of deciduous forest on 150 ha.
  • Preparation and launch of mowing on 58 hectares of land.
  • Installation of 100 ha enclosures for grazing and pasture.

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


Environmental issues addressed:


Species - Birds


endangered species‚  protected area‚  restoration measure

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

 Bonasa bonasia   Ciconia nigra   Dryocopus martius   Grus grus   Lycaena helle   Picus canus 

Target Habitat types

  • 6430 - Hydrophilous tall herb fringe communities of plains and of the montane to alpine levels
  • 6520 - Mountain hay meadows
  • 7110 - Active raised bogs
  • 7120 - Degraded raised bogs still capable of natural regeneration
  • 7140 - Transition mires and quaking bogs
  • 9110 - Luzulo-Fagetum beech forests
  • 9180 - "Tilio-Acerion forests of slopes, screes and ravines"
  • 91D0 - Bog woodland
  • 91E0 - "Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae)"
  • 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)"

Natura 2000 sites

SPA BE34013A0 Haute vallée de l'Aisne (Erezée; La Roche-en-Ardenne; Manhay)
SPA BE34015A0 Fanges des sources de l'Aisne (Manhay)
SPA BE34016A0 Fagnes de Samrée et de Tailles (Houffalize; La Roche-en-Ardenne; Vielsalm)
SCI BE34013B0 Haute vallée de l'Aisne (Erezée; La Roche-en-Ardenne; Manhay)
SCI BE34015B0 Fanges des sources de l'Aisne (Manhay)
SCI BE34016B0 Fagnes de Samrée et de Tailles (Houffalize; La Roche-en-Ardenne; Vielsalm)
SCI BE34024B0 Bassin inférieur de l'Ourthe orientale (Gouvy; Houffalize; La Roche-en-Ardenne)



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 de l'Agriculture, des Ressources naturelles et de l’Environnement (DGARNE)" is the official administrative body in charge of the implementation of environmental policies in Wallonia. This includes nature conservation activities. Two bodies are in charge of this project: Département Nature et Forêts (DNF) and Département de l'Etude du Milieu Naturel et Agricole (DEMNA). The DNF is in charge of the practical implementation of the Natura 2000 network in Wallonia and the DEMNA is responsible for the scientific basis of nature management.
Partners Sprl Daniel Bemelmans, Belgium Asbl Réserves Naturelles (RNOB), Belgium


Project reference LIFE05 NAT/B/000089
Duration 01-JAN-2006 to 31-DEC -2010
Total budget 3,753,300.00 €
EU contribution 1,876,650.00 €
Project location Région Wallonne(België - Belgique)


Read more:

Leaflet "Restauration des habitats naturels au Plateau des ...
Newsletter: Article-Paper L' Andromède n°1-8 - Revue publiée par le projet d ...
Project web site Project's website
Publication: After-LIFE Conservation Plan After-LIFE Conservation Plan
Publication: After-LIFE Conservation Plan Plan de conservation après LIFE
Publication: Article-Paper "Plateau des Tailles: Réponse positive des libellu ...
Publication: Guidelines-Manual Fiches détaillées des techniques de restauration h ...
Publication: Layman report Layman report
Publication: Research findings "Odonates de la région du Plateau des Tailles : ob ...
Publication: Technical report Rapport technique final (1.1 MB)


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