A Natura 2000 Management Plan Implementation Project Positions SPACEBEL on Biodiversity Preservation and Management

SPACEBEL, in association with 4 partners, has recently signed a contract with the Walloon Public Service (SPW) to implement the Natura 2000 Management Plans.

Introduced in 1992 within the European Union, the Natura 2000 network aims at protecting the biological diversity on the Member States’ territory. The huge European ecological network includes natural sites (forests, peat bogs, rivers, caves, etc.) or semi-natural sites (moors, flower meadows, etc.) representing a rich heritage value in terms of flora and fauna.

There are 240 Natura 2000 sites in Wallonia, covering a total of roughly 221.000 ha, i.e. 13% of the Walloon territory. Wallonia has opted for a system relying on legislation, compensation and voluntary restoration actions to establish its Natura 2000 Management Plan. Based on a selection of 18 pilot sites, the Natura 2000 Management Plan project is part of the LIFE “Belgian Nature Integrated Project” programme. This funding instrument for an integrated environment aims at setting up the required frame to ensure an optimal Natura 2000 management, in particular through the design of procedures and essential tools.

A management plan gathers all essential and indispensable information to plan and carry out the future management of a Natura 2000 site within the perspective of constantly improving the preservation status of species and habitats of Community interest.

The task of SPACEBEL and our partners is to implement the management plan for parts of the Natura 2000 site in private property while mobilising the owners in the hope that they will adhere to the actions proposed.

In order to guarantee project success, SPACEBEL has teamed up with 4 organisations offering complementary and, above all, relevant expertise and skills: Bemelmans SPRL, Ressources Naturelles Développement ASBL, TER-Consult and Capland. A strong anchoring in the world of private owners is the multidisciplinary team’s characteristic asset. In addition, its various members benefit from a long-standing collaboration with the Walloon Public Service (SPW), have significant expertise in the management of natural environments and are all perfectly familiar with participatory awareness-raising processes.

As the main stakeholder and project manager, SPACEBEL will also provide technical expertise in terms of software tools, cartography and database management. In addition, SPACEBEL will be in charge of the development of an online application based on open-source tools, which will facilitate the smooth running of the project, information centralisation and cartographic data visualisation.

With this Natura 2000 management plan implementation project, SPACEBEL notches up a great reference in the field of biodiversity management support!

Published November 30th, 2020