Atlantic Biogeographic Region Case Studies Please only include completed projects where nature conservation outcomes, directly related to the listed habitats on specific N2K sites, have been clearly quantified. All submissions should be in English using the exact format that has been provided and returned to email@example.com
Habitat restoration of alluvial forests and heath in the "Stropers" area
N2K Site Name(s)
Bossen en heiden van zandig Vlaanderen: oostelijk deel
N2K Site Code(s)
Annex I Habitat(s)
delete as appropriate
4010 Northern Atlantic wet heaths with Erica tetralix. 4030 European dry heaths.
6210 Semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates (Festuco -Brometalia) (* important orchid sites). 6410Molinia meadows on calcareous, peaty or clayey-silt-laden soils (Molinion caeruleae). 91E0 Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae)
1 August 2006
30 June 2010
The main objectives of the Stropersbos project were the protection, restoration and development of the different habitats of the Stropers pSCI. This aimed to benefit the flora and fauna of each habitat type and increase the area’s biodiversity.
The main priority of the project was to expand the mesotrophic alder swamp forest habitat by increasing groundwater levels and groundwater upflow to induce spontaneous development. The project also aimed to restore and develop other habitats such as European dry heath, Northern Atlantic wet heaths, inland dunes with Corynephorus and Agrostis grasslands, species-rich Nardus-grasslands on siliceous substrates and Moor-grass meadows on peaty or clayey-silt-laden soils.
The managers planned to convert coniferous forest to mixed deciduous forest and heath to create a more semi-natural landscape characterized by a high diversity of open and tree-covered habitats. Planned actions to achieve this were: thinning out of trees; cutting of non-endemic species; removal of acidic humus layer; formation of grazing units and construction of fences, cattle-grids, gates and watering places.
It was hoped that habitats with old acidophilous oak woods that grow on sandy plains would increase in area as a result of coniferous forest conversion measures. It was assumed that an increase in forest edges and forest diversity would boost insect life, leading to a consequent increase in numbers of bats living in the Stropers area.
A management plan for woodland coppice management was developed for
approval and the following habitat restoration actions were successfully
Selective cutting and eradication with herbicide of black cherry (Prunus
serotina) on 6.5ha;
19.6ha of forest were cut and spontaneous regeneration removed on 1.5ha;
Installation of fences to define two grazing blocks and drinking water ponds;
Grazing by sheep and ponies; and
Pathways between banks to enable access for mechanical mowing after the restoration of water levels.
Additional measures also included the removal of top soil and cleaning of ditches. This combination of infrastructure works and specific habitat restoration actions strongly improved the hydrology of the Stropersbos habitat area as demonstrated by higher groundwater levels. This will enable the long-term natural restoration of mesotrophic alder swamp forest. It has also improved forest diversity.