Forests, Parks and Nature Reserves in Wallonia
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- Protected Areas: Nature Parks, Nature Reserves....
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Protected Areas: Nature Parks, Nature Reserves....
Thanks to its diverse climate and landscapes, Wallonia conceals invaluable natural riches. Nevertheless, the pressure our activities put on this heritage contribute to the destruction and the deterioration of the natural habitats. The Walloon Region has decided to conduct an ambitious policy on the preservation of nature. It is about managing and protecting a whole of scientifically chosen natural and semi-natural environments in order to welcome and maintain the natural species and habitats on a long term. To execute this strategy, protected areas with different protection statuses have been created.
The strategy to preserve nature is these days based on the concept of “ecological network”. This is the whole of biotopes that allow preservation of specials and natural habitats on the long term. To realise this, a coherent structure with three types of areas have to be defined:
- “Central areas”, with a large biological interest destined to the preservation of nature;
- “Development areas”, where human activities remain compatible with the preservation of a certain biological diversity;
- “Connection areas”, which allow species to move in the landscape and which favour genetic changes.
THE PROTECTED AREAS
These are delimited natural or semi natural area that are subject to a protection and/or management with the aim to preserve their biological interest. There are 9 different types of protected areas in the Walloon Region.
1 – Nature park.
A nature park is officially “a rural territory of at least 5,000 uninterrupted hectares with a high biological and geographical interest, subject to measures destined to protect the environment, in harmony with the desires of the population and the economical and social development of the concerned territory.”
The Nature Park places nature AND man in the centre of its concerns. It joins nature and nature reserves, but also roads, villages and (small) cities, farmers, industries... A whole economical and social activity. The role of the nature park is to protect the heritage (natural, cultural, architectural), by assuring the wellbeing of the population and the economical development of the region. Their protection system is very different from other systems of protected areas, as it does not included direct protection measures, but only a management plan. There are 9 nature parks in Wallonia, covering 19 % of the territory.
2 - 3 – Registered and state nature reserve.
They are left to their own, or they are management by means of a management plan. Their protection status is the strictest and there are numerous prohibitions. Walking is strictly controlled. Various different access areas can be created there. The public roads remain accessible. The state nature reserve of the Hautes-Fagnes that stretches out over 4,500 hectare is a good example.
4 – Forest reserve.
It is a forest or a part of that is protected in order to safeguard the indigenous forest ecosystems. Protection is less strict, foresting and hunting are authorised. The rules for moving around are close to the rules that apply in all woods and forests.
5 – 6 – Humid area and underground cavity with a biological interest.
These are expanses of marshes, fagnes, peat bogs or grottoes whose ecological and scientific interest is recognised. These specific ecosystems are protected by a series of prohibitions. In the humid areas, moving around is not especially controlled. The public roads remain accessible. On the contrary in the grottoes, moving around is controlled by particular measures that can limit the access to certain persons or activities.
7 - Site NATURA 2000.
The NATURA 2000 is a European network consisting of the whole of special protection areas designated by the member states of the European Union. In the Walloon region, it’s aim is to ensure the maintenance or the restoration into a state of favourable preservation of natural habitats and habitats of species. The protection system of these sites is in function of the ecological requirements of the species and habitats that are to be protected. The selection of this site is only done based on scientific criteria. The whole of the network takes up 13% of the Walloon territory.
8 – Listed site.
A site is work of nature or a combined work of man and nature consisting of a space that is sufficiently characteristic and homogeneous to be delimited topographically. The objective is not the preservation of nature but the maintenance of the site in “a good condition”. This has to be a heritage with a scientific, aesthetic or historic interest. They can be prestigious sites but also landscapes.
9 – Green areas, nature areas and area for ecological contact.
- The “Green area” is a part of a territory destined for maintenance, protection and regeneration of the natural environment. It contributes to the forming of the landscape.
- The “nature area” concerns environments with great biological value or that shelter menaced species.
- The “area for ecological contact” wants to guarantee animal and plant species the transition space between their biotopes.
Info: MINISTRY OF THE WALLOON REGION
Division de la nature et des Forêts (DNF)
Direction des ressources forestières
Avenue Prince de Liège, 15 – 5100 Jambes (NAMUR)
Free number: 0800-1-1901
Tel. : +32 (0)81/33.50.50 - Fax : +32 (0)81/33.58.33
DNF.DGRNE@mrw.wallonie.be - http://environnement.wallonie.be