Ecological restoration of rivers and forests in the deep valleys of Ourthe, Amblve, Vesdre and Our basins

Reference: LIFE19 NAT/BE/000054 | Acronym: LIFE VALLEES ARDENNAISES

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

BACKGROUND

The conservation status of habitats and species found in the deep forest valleys of the Ourthe, Amblve, Vesdre and Our basins in Belgium has been adversely affected by several human-related disturbances, both direct and indirect. This has caused the reduction and loss of habitat as well as the isolation and extinction of local species populations. Furthermore, it has degraded the ecological integrity of natural habitats and resulted in a loss of ecological connectivity, with severe impacts on local biodiversity. The main disturbances are: the loss and fragmentation of natural alluvial and slope forests resulting from spruce (Picea abies) plantations; construction of artificial dams preventing free movement of aquatic species and degradation of river habitat quality caused by artificial modifications of river beds and banks; release of fine sediments into the rivers caused by plantation management measures (such as clear-cuts); and spontaneous colonization of aquatic and riverine habitats by invasive alien species (e.g. Impatiens glandulifera, Fallopia japonica and alien crayfish species).


OBJECTIVES

The objective of LIFE VALLEES ARDENNAISES is the ecological restoration of rivers and forests in the deep valleys of the Ourthe, Amblve, Vesdre and Our basins.

Specifically, the project will:

  • Restore forest habitats (including alluvial, slope, ravine and beech forests) through clear-cutting 150 ha of spruce plantations on alluvial soils and steep slopes;
  • Improve the ecological connectivity of watercourses by remediation of 38 physical obstacles;
  • Improve the conservation state of forest habitat remnants (e.g. alluvial, slope, ravine and beech forests) on a total area of 300 ha and of aquatic river habitats covering a total length of 2 600 m;
  • Strengthen two remnant populations of the thick shelled river mussel (Unio crassus) in the Our and Ourthe occidental rivers and reintroduce the freshwater pearl mussel (Margaretifera margaretifera) in the upper Our basin; and
  • Raise awareness among land owners, stakeholders and citizens about the value and utility (through an ecosystem services approach) of the habitats and species involved, as well as the importance of protecting and restoring them.

  • RESULTS

    Expected results:

  • Removal of spruce plantations from 150 ha, restoring this to 60 ha of alluvial forests, 55 ha of acidophilous (i.e. acid-loving) beech forests, 25 ha of slope and ravine forests, 5 ha of siliceous rocky slopes, and 5 ha of upland siliceous screes;
  • Better ecological connectivity between patches of alluvial forests and slope forests through the strategic choice of location of the restored sites;
  • Improved ecological integrity in 125 ha of alluvial forests, 125 ha of acidophilous beech forests, 40 ha of slope and ravine forests, 2.5 ha of siliceous rocky slopes, and 7.5 ha of upland siliceous screes;
  • Enhanced ecological connectivity forExpected results:
  • Removal of spruce plantations from 150 ha, restoring this to 60 ha of alluvial forests, 55 ha of acidophilous (i.e. acid-loving) beech forests, 25 ha of slope and ravine forests, 5 ha of siliceous rocky slopes, and 5 ha of upland siliceous screes;
  • Better ecological connectivity between patches of alluvial forests and slope forests through the strategic choice of location of the restored sites;
  • Improved ecological integrity in 125 ha of alluvial forests, 125 ha of acidophilous beech forests, 40 ha of slope and ravine forests, 2.5 ha of siliceous rocky slopes, and 7.5 ha of upland siliceous screes;
  • Enhanced ecological connectivity for

  • ADMINISTRATIVE DATA


    Reference: LIFE19 NAT/BE/000054
    Acronym: LIFE VALLEES ARDENNAISES
    Start Date: 01/09/2020
    End Date: 01/09/2028
    Total Budget: 8,975,945 €
    EU Contribution: 5,385,567 €
    Project Location:
    Project Website: http://environnement.wallonie.be/

    CONTACT DETAILS


    Coordinating Beneficiary: Service Public de Wallonie Agriculture, Ressources Naturelles et Environnement (SPWARNE)
    Legal Status: PAT
    Address: Avenue Prince de Liege 15, 5100, Namur,
    Contact Person: Eric JOIRIS
    Email: eric.joiris@spw.wallonie.be
    Tel: 3281335829
    Fax:


    LIFE Project Map

    ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES ADDRESSED

    THEMES

    • Ecological coherence
    • Forests
    • Freshwater
    • Plants
    • Invertebrates

    KEYWORDS

    • aquatic ecosystem
    • reforestation
    • landscape protection
    • hydrographic basin
    • restoration measure
    • river management
    • ecosystem-based approach

    TARGET EU LEGISLATION

    • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directive (21.05.1992)

    TARGET HABITAT TYPES

    • 3260 - Water courses of plain to montane levels with the Ranunculion fluitantis and Callitricho-Batrachion vegetation
    • 8150 - Medio-European upland siliceous screes
    • 8220 - Siliceous rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation
    • 9110 - Luzulo-Fagetum beech forests
    • 9180 - "Tilio-Acerion forests of slopes, screes and ravines"
    • 91E0 - "Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae)"

    NATURA 2000 SITES

    Type Code Name
    SPA BE33054C0 Vallée de l'Amblève entre Montenau et Baugné (Amel; Malmedy; Waimes)
    SPA BE33058C0 Vallée du Medemberbach (Büllingen)
    SPA BE33060C0 Haute vallée de la Lienne (Lierneux; Manhay)
    SPA BE33061C0 Affluents de l'Our entre Setz et Schoenberg (Amel; Sankt Vith)
    SPA BE33062C0 Vallée supérieure de l'Our et ses affluents (Amel; Büllingen; Sankt Vith)
    SPA BE33063C0 Vallée et affluents du Braunlauf (Burg-Reuland; Gouvy; Sankt Vith)
    SPA BE33064C0 Vallée de l'Ulf (Burg-Reuland; Gouvy)
    SPA BE34032C0 Bassin inférieur de l'Ourthe occidentale (Bertogne; Houffalize; La Roche-en-Ardenne; Tenneville)
    SPA BE33023C0 Vallée de la Soor (Baelen; Eupen)
    SPA BE33024C0 Vallée de la Helle (Baelen; Eupen; Waimes)
    SPA BE33027C0 Vallée de la Lembrée et affluents (Aywaille; Durbuy; Ferrières; Stoumont)
    SPA BE33029C0 Basse vallée de la Lienne (Stoumont)
    SPA BE33030C0 Vallée de l'Amblève de Chêneu au Pont de Targnon (Stoumont)
    SPA BE33033C0 Vallée du Wayai et affluents (Jalhay)
    SPA BE33042C0 Vallées de la Warche et du Bayehon en aval du barrage de Robertville (Malmedy; Waimes)
    SPA BE33050C0 Fagne de la Gotale et affluents du Ruisseau de Chavanne (Lierneux; Manhay)
    SPA BE33051C0 Vallée de l'Amblève entre Wanne et Coo (Stavelot; Trois-Ponts)

    BENEFICIARIES

    Name Type
    PNHFE(Commission de Gestion du Parc naturel Hautes Fagnes-Eifel ASBL), Belgium Participant
    PROVLUX(Province de Luxembourg), Belgium Participant
    DBZ(Asbl Domaine de Bérinzenne), Belgium Participant
    PNDO(Commission de gestion de Parc naturel des deux Ourthes asbl), Belgium Participant
    PROVLG(Province de Liège), Belgium Participant
    PNS(Commission de Gestion du Parc naturel des Sources asbl), Belgium Participant

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