% of land,  % of marine waters are covered by protected areas.
  species and   habitats are protected under EU law

Belgium has an area of just over 30 000 km² and a marine area of nearly 3 500 km². With a coastline on the North Sea, it is bordered by 4 other countries. Belgium consists of a coastal plain, a central plateau and the Ardennes upland area in the south east of the country. The highest point is Signal de Botrange at 694 m. Belgium has a population of 11.56 milion people and a population density of 375.3 people per km².

Protected areas

  Protected areas

 % of land

 % of marine waters

There are a total of   protected areas in ,   Natura 2000 sites -   Special Protection Areas (Birds Directive) and   Sites of Community Importance (Habitat Directive) - as well as   sites designated under national laws.


 % of the network is protected only through national laws

 % of the network consists solely of Natura 2000 sites

 % consist of and overlap between the two.

The average size of protected areas in Europe is lower compared to other regions of the world. This largely reflects the high degree of fragmentation of the land in Europe due to urbanisation, infrastructure and general intensification of land use. At a EU level 50% of protected areas have an area of less than 1 km². The 10 largest marine sites account for 68% of the marine area, while the 10 largest land sites account for 41% of the land area covered by protected areas

Size distribution of 's land protected areas network



Size distribution of 's marine protected areas network



Natura 2000 sites in cover   species and   habitats from the nature directives. The number of species and habitats protected in each site varies depending on the location of the site, the biodiversity in the region, the designation being used, and the features the site is being created to protect. For   sites there is only 1 feature being protected with   sites having more than 20 features.


Protected species

Species protected in under EU law are protected under the Habitats Directive and under the Birds Directive. The Habitats Directive has a total of 2 500 species on its list, the Birds Directive has a total of 500 species of wild birds protected.

  species protected under EU law in

  species are unique to

  species under the Habitats Directive

  species under the Birds Directive

Conservation status: Habitats Directive

 % of species are considered to be Good

 % of species are considered to be Poor

 % of species are considered to be Bad

 % of species are considered to be Unknown

Conservation Status by Taxa


Protected species composition by Taxa


Protected habitats

Habitats protected in under EU law are protected under the Habitats Directive. The Habitats Directive has a total of 233 habitats on its list.

  habitats protected under EU law in .

Conservation status: Habitats Directive

 % of habitats are considered to be Good

 % of habitats are considered to be Poor

 % of habitats are considered to be Bad

 % of habitats are considered to be Unknown

Conservation Status by Group

Habitat composition by Group








MAES in Belgium:

The Belgian MAES working group set up as part of the BElgium Ecosystem Services (BEES) community of practice meets about a week prior to any EU MAES WG meeting to discuss input for the EU WG meeting. The latest product from the Belgian MAES WG is a reflection on the Knowledge Innovation Project on an Integrated system for Natural Capital and ecosystem services Accounting concept note. Together with EU MAES member state representatives from the Netherlands and Luxembourg we started networking and collaboration as a BENELUX MAES initiative. We had a very fruitful joint meeting and are currently looking for opportunities to extend this, e.g. in a joint project.

Read more

Green infrastructure in Belgium:

In Belgium, environmental policy including nature conservation is essentially of Regional competence. The Federal level is competent for the marine areas under Belgian jurisdiction, military domains and railway embankments. It also has specific environmental competences at international level (CITES, trade of non-indigenous species, product standards), other competences related to the environment and biodiversity (development cooperation, finance, economy, etc.), as well as competence over instruments such as public procurement and taxation (Belgian National Focal Point to the Convention on Biological Diversity (ed.), 2013). The Flemish and the Brussels Regions have their own strategies and action plans in relation to biodiversity.

Read more

National Biodiversity strategy for Belgium:

To report on progress to the EU 2020 biodiversity strategy, the European Commission extracted relevant information from the EU Member States’ 5th national reports to the CBD. Of the 5 countries which had not finalized their national reports at the time of the synthesis (26th of August 2015), Greece, Malta, Portugal and Lithuania provided information to be included in the synthesis.

Read more