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Belgium - Contribution to the mid-term review of the EU biodiversity strategy to 2020 based on the 5th national report to CBD
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.
The 5th national reports were examined, and relevant information on selected actions under Targets 1-6 of the EU biodiversity strategy was directly copied. Thus, the information presented here is in the original language and wording of the 5th national reports.
The focus was on information that is particular to the respective Member State rather than referencing EU wide information. In addition, only information that is not directly reported to the European Commission by Member States was retrieved from the reports. Each Member State had the opportunity to review the synthesis of its report and to provide additional input. For more information, please view here. The 5th national report for Belgium can be downloaded here.
EU target 1
Fully implement the Birds and Habitats Directives
(Please note that information from EU Member States in relation to Action 1a is supplied to the European Commission via other reports. To avoid duplication of reporting, information relating to EU Action 1a has not been included in this report)
Action 1b: Natura 2000 (and other protected areas)
Extensive participatory process and consultations on Natura 2000 management programme and conservation objectives and implementation with other authorities and stakeholders aim to enhance the integration of species and habitat protection into land and water use policies and spatial planning. Specific cooperation agreements are being developed with each of those actors. Consultation for a have been established with other administrations and with stakeholders on regional level and on site level. In the first fase to establish the conservation objectives for each habitat, species and site and now in the second fase for development of management plans, identify measures and actors. The designation acts including the conservation objectives and priority measures were adopted by the Government of Flanders and have been published in October 2014 – these objectives and measures are now being screened in other plans: water, spatial planning and land use policies, existing nature and forest management plans.
The Regional Nature Plan (in development) foresees the following measures:
- Promote the participative management of public green spaces;
- Adopt an operational action plan for the conservation and the development of the brussels ecological network
- Install a ‘nature facilitator’ service aimed towards the developers of plans and projects;
- Promote good management practices of the green spaces.
- Adopt multifunction management plans for all regional parcs
Depuis leur sélection en 2002, les sites Natura 2000 bénéficient d'un régime de protection primaire prévu par :
- la protection des espèces animales et végétales, précisée dans la LCN (art. 2 (protection des oiseaux), art 2bis (protection des autres groupes d’espèces animales), art 3 (protection des espèces végétales))
- la protection des habitats naturels, due à une disposition particulière du CWATUPE (art 84 §1 er 12°): permis d’urbanisme pour défrichement et modification de la végétation dans les Habitats d’intérêt communautaire (HIC) tant qu’ils ne sont pas couverts par un AD.
- le principe de la conditionnalité des aides agricoles qui porte sur le respect de certaines directives européennes dont la Directive Oiseaux et la Directive Habitats, desquelles découlent Natura 2000.
- La législation générale sur l’évaluation des incidences comme prévu par le permis d’environnement/permis unique (du décret du 11 mars 1999 relatif au permis d’environnement) et le permis d’urbanisme (CWATUPE). De plus, l’étude appropriée des incidences (EAI) est appliquée de part l’Effet direct de l’art. 6.3. de la directive Habitats lorsqu’il y a risque d’impact significatif d’un projet ou d’un plan sur un site Natura 2000.
L’avis du DNF est également requis dans le cadre général des demandes des permis d’urbanisme, d’environnement et des permis uniques.
De plus, depuis le 13 janvier 2011, suite à une modification de la Loi sur la Conservation de la Nature, un ensemble de mesures générales s'appliquent à tous les sites sélectionnés (art. 28bis de la LCN relatif au régime de protection primaire).
- l’interdiction générale de détériorer les habitats naturels et de perturber les espèces (art. 28, §1er LCN)
- les interdictions générales et autres mesures préventives générales (art. 28, § 2, 4, 5, 6 et 7 LCN)
- l’application de l’art 29§2 de la LCN sur l’étude appropriée des incidences (et donc non plus par l’effet direct de la Directive habitats)
Les mesures générales ont été révisées via l’AGW du 24 mars 2011 afin de préciser une série d’actes soumis à interdiction (par ex : plantation de résineux), autorisation (ex : labour de prairies permanentes) ou notification (par ex : l’implantation d’un hébergement temporaire dans le cadre des mouvements de jeunesse) ainsi que les dispositions concernant les ilots de conservation. Les mesures de gestion des 59 sites désignés sont inclues dans leur Arrêté de designation. Le code forestier, en son art. 57, prévoit que tous les bois et forêts publiques, d’une superficie supérieure à vingt hectares d’un seul tenant, sont soumis à un plan d’aménagement devant contenir le rappel des mesures de conservation liées au réseau Natura 2000. Les zones protégées en vertu du §18 du code de l’eau comprennent les sites Natura 2000 pertinents. Pour ces zones protégées, il est prévu d’établir un ou plusieurs programmes de surveillance systématique (art. D19). De plus, l’Art. D.22 prévoit, en rendant opérationnels les programmes de mesures prévus dans les plans de gestion, d'assurer le respect de toutes les normes et de tous les objectifs pour les aires protégées au plus tard le 22 décembre 2015. Le plan de gestion des wateringues prévu par le code de l’eau intègre les objectifs de gestion et interdictions établis par les arrêtés, pris en vertu de la LCN, portant désignation du ou des sites Natura 2000.
Les mesures du Programme wallon de développement rural 2007-2013 : telles
- Dans l'axe 3, la mesure « Conservation et mise en valeur du patrimoine rural » (mesure 323) vise la restauration de milieux ouverts ainsi que l’exploitation de résineux en vue d’avoir un impact positif sur les paysages et aussi sur la biodiversité.
- Dans l’axe 2, les mesures 214 « paiements agro environnementaux », 213 « indemnité Natura 2000 pour les agriculteurs », et 224 « indemnités Natura 2000 pour les forestiers »
Le PDR 2014-2020 est en discussion avec la Commission et sera adopté en 2015, il prévoit également des indemnités et des subventions à la restauration
Action 1c: Natura 2000 (and other protected areas)
To finalise the realisation of the Natura 2000 network and provide good management of the Natura 2000 sites:
- The conservation objectives and measures were established in consultation with the concerned actors;
- The Agency for Nature and Forests manages its own green spaces with focus on the realisation of the conservation objectives;
- Stop the decline of species of European conservation concern and stimulate their recovery to achieve a favourable conservation status through the development of species protection plans and support to species protection measures.
- The Agency for Nature and Forests tries to align its policy in relation to green spaces and elements in the city with the societal needs (GidS project: Groen in de Stad – replaced by the programme ‘natuur in je buurt’) and supports and realises urban and suburban green projects.
- Implementation of Natura 2000 through development of Strategic Site Management Plans and Management Contracts, priority setting for acquisition of land, protocols for cooperation (e.g. with ministry of Defence, Port Authorities), agri-environment contracts, financial support of nature development and management projects of local authorities and Regional Landscape Organisations and private land owners.
The designation acts including the conservation objectives and priorities have been approved on 24/04/2014 for all SCI and overlapping SPA, together with an overall plan for implementation to realise the priorities set for 2020 for the habitats and the species of European concern, to tackle environmental pressures on the sites, and to enhance cooperation with other actors and stakeholders. The Decree for Nature Conservation has been adapted to include the concept of Integrated Nature Management Plan as uniform plan system for nature, forest, park areas; and a renewed system for financial support of private owners cooperating in nature management plans.
Core areas with official protection status, or effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well connected systems of protected areas: the Nature Department of the Walloon Region continues to strictly protect natural sites through the following status: government nature reserve (Réserves Naturelles domaniales (RND)), chartered nature reserve (Réserves Naturelles agréees (RNA)), forest reserve (Réserves Forestières (RF)), wetlands of biological interest (Zones Humides d’Interêt Biologique (ZHIB)), and underground cavity of scientific interest (Cavités Souterraines d’Interêt Scientifique (CSIS ), in order to protect important sites for species and habitats.
59 Natura 2000 sites (25 351,18ha) have had their designation orders adopted and have thus, in addition to the general measures applied to all Natura 2000 sites, specific measures wich count for their managament plan.
- Les mesures générales consistent en une série d'interdictions et d'actes soumis à autorisation ou à notification prévues par l’AGW du 24 mars 2011.
- Des mesures particulières prévues par l’arrêté dit « arrêté catalogue » fixent les types d’unités de gestion susceptibles d’être délimitées au sein d’un site Natura 2000 ainsi que les interdictions et mesures préventives particulières qui y sont applicable (AGW du 19 mai 2011). Cet arrêté « catalogue » complète le régime de protection des sites Natura 2000 par des mesures particulières aux habitats et espèces après désignation.
- Des mesures spécifiques aux habitats et espèces présents dans les sites qui seront comprises dans les arrêtés de désignation. Ces arrêtés sont en cours de finalisation. Ils se baseront sur l’arrêté catalogue dans la mesure où ce dernier contient la « légende » de la cartographie des unités de gestion et des mesures qui s’y appliquent. La cartographie des unités de gestion est en effet nécessaire à leur désignation. Celle ci est en cours de finalisation.
La désignation officielle du reste des sites natura 2000 est en cours.
Brussels Capital Region
The Regional Nature Plan (in development) foresees the following measures:
- Conformément aux procédures définies aux articles 44, 50 et 52 de l’ordonnance du 1er mars 2012 relative à la conservation de la nature, le Gouvernement adoptera les arrêtés de désignation des trois zones Natura 2000, les 48 plans de gestion et le cas échéant, conclura des contrats de gestion avec les propriétaires et occupants concernés
- Ensure the implementation of the ecological network;
- To optimise the articulation between the different systems for the protection of green spaces;
- The different policy levels competent for the ecological management of public green spaces should adopt a common language;
- Develop and implement plans for multifunctional management of green spaces;
- Develop and implement an ecological management plan for the railway verges and green spaces related to roadways.
Federal level: North Sea
The ‘MMM’ (Marien Milieu Marin) act of 20 January 1999 on the protection of the marine environment in sea areas under Belgian jurisdiction establishes the legal basis for the protection of the Belgian part of the North Sea against sea-related pollution and for the conservation, restoration and development of nature. The Royal Decree of 14 October 2005 establishes five marine protected areas (Trapegeer Stroombank, Vlakte van de Raan, SBZ1, SBZ2 and SBZ3), all part of the Natura 2000 network. In 2008, the Vlakte van de Raan designation is nullified by the Court of Justice. The Royal Decree of 5 March 2007 establishes a 0.6 km2 marine reserve (Baai van Heist); the Royal Decree of 5 November 2012 increases the Natura 2000 to approx. 1000 km2 under the new site name “Vlaamse Banken”). In 2009 management plans have been approved for the then designated protected areas. In 2013 zoning restriction are being proposed in the site Vlaamse Banken; this is part of the proposed Marine Spatial Plan.
- The species protection plans that are being implemented concern various bat species under the LIFE project BatAction (also including awareness raising, restoration of habitats in forts), hamster (re-introduction programme with 60 specimens and monitoring of the population, cooperation with farmers), and some indicator butterfly and plant species of heath habitats.
- Species protection plans for fish species have been evaluated and reviewed, and for the eel pilot projects are running and a monitoring scheme has been developed.
- Development and implementation of species action plans, contracts with land owners for species protection measures (meadow birds, hamster, farmland birds), financial support for birds rehabilitation centres, research for re-introduction projects (e.g. fish species).
- Priority species of European concern have been listed for development and implementation of species action programmes
The Regional Nature Plan (in development) foresees the following measure: to develop and implement action plans for the restoration and development of species population with a regional or community interest, with priority given to wetland and aquatic species.
- Chapter II of the law on the conservation of nature protects a list of animal and plant species.
- The law on the conservation of nature allows also that municipalities take more stringent measures for the protection of animal and plant species. This could be a good way to protect particular sites such as the migration routes of amphibians. Unfortunately, municipalities rarely use this possibility.
- Action plans for species are runningfor the sand lizard (Lacerta agilis), the common European adder (Vipera berus), the natterjack toad (Bufo calamita), the marsh fritillary (Euphydryas aurinia) and the yellow-bellied toad (Bombina variegata).
- More localised actions are implemented for the freshwater pearl mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera) and the whinchat (Saxicola rubetra).
- Other projects aim to improve the status of threatened populations of fish species.
- Several LIFE-project and restoration projects are favourable to populations of threatened species (three butterfly species are also targeted: Euphydryas aurinia, Lycaena helle and Lycaena dispar).
- Study and scientific monitoring in order to restore populations of the Atlantic salmon; inventory of obstacles for fish circulation in the hydrographical network, etc.
As part of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, an environmental objective has been defined for the harbour porpoise in the Belgian part of the North Sea. This objective aims to reduce by 2020 the annual bycatch levels of this species to levels below 1.7% of its population size (which is also the OSPAR Ecological Quality Objective EcoQO)
Data links for status and trends on main species groups:
Data links for information on projects:
Action 1d: Natura 2000 (and other protected areas)
Transboundary cooperation is taken up to finalise the realisation of the Natura 2000 network and provide good management of the Natura 2000 sites:
- Together with the Netherlands: transboundary ecological planning processes.
- Together with France: conservation measures for the coastal zone.
Action 2: Adequate financing of Natura 2000
On yearly basis project calls are launched to enable local authorities and landowners to carry out small-scale restoration and management actions in Natura 2000. Projects under the LIFE and INTERREG programme are promoted as leverage to enhance cooperation, awareness raising and long-term conservation actions.
Action 3a: Stakeholder awareness and enforcement
- Awareness campaigns are organised on regular basis (by the regional nature authority, local authotities and NGOs) on the needs to involve all sectors in the conservation of nature values:
- Organisation of campaigns i.e. in relation with port development, transport infrastructure, military domains;
- Information sessions for stakeholders, other administrations and local authorities on Natura 2000 and the process for development of conservation objectives;
- Training sessions for local authorities for the management of parks and green spaces;
- Organisation of project calls for afforestation projects, Natura 2000 management actions, and competition for the best project idea for greening cities.
- Communication and awareness actions under each of the LIFE projects
The Regional Nature Plan (in development) also proposes initiatives to increase comprehension of issues of nature and the city, and to encourage adoption of practices that facilitate their coexistence.
The proposed plan provides for developing informative initiatives to promote the image of Brussels - green city, nature city - and to strengthen partnerships with the numerous associations active in protection and raising awareness of nature.
Finally, participatory management of local green spaces will also be supported to encourage public adoption and involvement.
Several actions to raise awareness on biodiversity and Natura 2000 are undertaken:
- Awareness campaigns by the administration (many brochures, media campaigns, informative sessions, etc.)
- The website ‘La biodiversité en Wallonie’: http://biodiversite.wallonie.be/fr/accueil.html?IDC=6
L’asbl Natagriwal : A l’échelle wallonne, l’asbl Natagriwal a également pour mission de communiquer sur les possibilités de restauration et peut accompagner les propriétaires et gestionnaires à élaborer leurs projets. http://www.natagriwal.be/
The network of ‘Centres Régionaux d’Initiation à l’Environnement’ (CRIE) is made of centres for environmental education and awareness; their actions are mainly (but not exclusively) oriented towards school children aged 6-12
- One of the objectives of the natural parks is to inform their visitors and raise awareness on biodiversity
- Most LIFE projects include public awareness activities
- Naturalists’ associations organise public awareness and education activities oriented towards nature conservation (e.g. excursions, visits of nature reserves, management of nature reserves, publications, etc.) or towards specific thematic areas (e.g. forests, quality of watercourses, etc.)
- Through partnerships such as the river contracts, ‘Plans Communaux de Développement de la Nature’, the road verges operation, the 'Semaine de l'Arbre', etc.
- Through the 'Plan Maya' on bees and pollinators
- The TV program 'Jardin extraordinaire' of the French Community addresses nature and biodiversity topics from Belgium and worldwide
- Other associations such as GAWI (integrated and biological fruit production) and CARI (protection of pollinators) receive support from the Walloon Region to raise awareness on biodiversity
Television information spots on Natura 2000: http://biodiversite.wallonie.be/fr/08-01-2013-capsules-tv-natura-2000.html?IDD=3605&IDC=3429
La Société Royale Forestière (SRF), la Fédération wallonne de l’agriculture (FWA), Nature Terre et Forêts (NTF).
Le DNF organise deux fois par an des rencontres avec le collège des magistrats. Le DNF a prévenu les notaires pour ce qui est des dispositions en matière d’exonération liée à Natura 2000.
EU target 2
Maintain and restore ecosystems and their services
Information available on Natura 2000 progress on page 119 of Belgium 5NR regarding the conservation objectives of Natura 2000 sites and of species of European interest wide spread, restoration and re-development projects which have been carried out mainly through LIFE projects, and will be further initiated through the implementation plan for Natura 2000 and the Prioritised Action Framework including:
- Agri-environment measures support to restore the connectivity between sites, to enhance habitat quality of species dependent on agricultural landscapes, to prevent erosion problems.
- Specific measures for river banks also contribute to connectivity aspects and to improving water quality in general.
- Through afforestation projects and restorarion of peatlands and wetlands contribution to fixation of carbon is enhanced
The Environment and Nature Policy plan includes measures to reduce air, water and soil pollution.
The action plan for sustainable use of pesticide was adopted on 1 March 2013.
The state of the environment is reported in a 2-yearly report MIRA –
In 2009, on 74 % of the Flemish nature area (forest, heathland and species-rich grassland) the critical load for eutrophication was exceeded. For forest, the figure is 100 %. For heathland and species-rich grassland, it is 90 % and 16 % respectively. Besides tackling deposition rates by general measures a specific programme on nitrogen issues has been initiated under the implementation of Natura 2000, the programmatic approach for nitrogen (PAS). Main aims in the first phase of this programme are to develop and refine deposition scans, identify zones with highest vulnerabilities and zones imperative for nature conservation, list possible restoration measures. Measures to improve environmental quality at local level will be focused on vulnerable and threatened habitat types and on Natura 2000 to contribute to reaching or improving conservation status of habitats and species of European concern.
Information available on Natura 2000 progress on page 119 of Belgium 5NR regarding the resilience of ecosystems to climate change is improved by the protection and restoration measures listed in relation to Aichi Targets 10, 11 and 14. The contribution of ecosystems to the capture of carbon is also improved through these measures. The restoration of degraded ecosystems is mainly done through Life projects, restoration projects in nature reserves, AEM; There is a Walloon working group on restoration.
In 2007, about 6% of the forest surface and almost the entire surface of open spaces (heathlands, swamps, peat bogs,) in the Walloon Region was affected by nitrogenous depositions superior to the acceptable level of eutrophying nitrogen. At the forest level, the situation improved substantially thanks to a reduction of atmospheric fallout of nitrogen. This is not the case for the other semi-natural ecosystems (in particular oligotrophic environments) which remain extremely vulnerable to such perturbations.
Concerning acidification, the situation is now far less problematic given the fact that the affected forest surfaces went from 90% (1990) to 10% (2007). This evolution proves the positive effects of measures implemented to reduce the atmospheric emissions of acidifying pollutants of 50 to 60% (between 1990 and 2010) in the Walloon Region and Europe.
List of Walloon tools and measures in place for this target:
- The Forestry Code forbids the utilisation of pesticides. The only exceptions are defined by the Walloon government to combat certain diseases or invasive alien species that threaten the indigenous fauna and flora.
- The Forestry Code also offers the possibility to impose the utilisation of vegetal oil for chain saws and other forestry exploitation tools.
- The use of herbicides is forbidden in some public areas such as parks, waterways, ponds and lakes, road verges and ditches.
- The Water Code and some resulting plans and programs:
- the ‘Plans d’Assainissement par Sous-bassin Hydrographiques’ PASH define the decontamination and clean up regime for the relevant areas
- the programme for the sustainable management of nitrogen is the application of the Nitrate Directive (part of the Water Framework Directive)
- The Environment Code and certain resulting dispositions:
- the environmental permit and ‘permis unique’
- studies about the impact on the environment
- The evaluation of incidences is imposed for all plans and projects that could affect a Natura 2000 site in a significant way.
- 159 municipalities have signed the ‘Plan Maya’ thereby committing themselves 1) to put in place a plan to reduce the use of pesticides and 2) to manage green spaces more ecologically.
- In the framework of the implementation of the Walloon decree on soil management, an inventory of (potentially) polluted soils is currently in development.
- Reduction in the use of inorganic and organic fertilizers and pesticides: the utilisation of phytopharmaceutical products and of nitrogenous and phosphorus fertilisers is decreasing. Concerning the fertilisers, this tendency results from a more rational use of fertilisers and from the implementation of measures of the programme of sustainable management of nitrogen in agriculture. The Walloon authorities have elaborated a pesticides reduction programme to further decrease their use.
Micropollutants in surface waters: evaluations performed during the period 2005-2010 indicated that about 30% of the Walloon surface waters are in a bad chemical situation. To remediate this, additional measures are foreseen in the Walloon programme for the reduction of pesticides and in the projects of the hydrographical districts management plans. They aim, among others, to install buffer zones along surface waters and to re-evaluate and better control environmental permits.
The Regional Nature Plan (in development) foresees the following measures:
- To ensure an adequate protection and management of the sites with a high biological value and to ensure the implementation of the ecological network
- To develop an integrated vision for the preservation and restoration of (ancient) agricultural zones and sites
- To strengthen the presence of nature in public spaces and spaces associated with transport infrastructure
- To strengthen the presence of nature on and around buildings
- To implement the management plans within the protected sites
- The different policy levels competent for the ecological management of public green spaces should adopt a common language
- To develop and implement plans for the multifunctional management of green spaces
- To develop and implement an ecological management plan for the railway verges
- To develop and implement an ecological management plan for green spaces related to roadways
The Belgian science policy office finances the project COBIMFO aiming at: (i) providing a baseline reference data on the C-balance and biodiversity in pristine and intervened dense tropical forests of the Congo Basin and (ii) increasing understanding in the relationship between both variables as a function of forest management and degradation: http://www.belspo.be/belspo/fedra/proj.asp?l=en&COD=SD/AR/01A.
In 2012, the increase of the ecosystems resilience is one of the underpinning elements of the implementation of the Marine Strategy Directive (Belgische Staat 2012. Omschrijving van Goede Milieutoestand en vaststelling van Milieudoelen voor de Belgische mariene wateren. Kaderrichtlijn Mariene Strategie – Art 9 & 10. BMM, Federale Overheidsdienst Volksgezondheid, Veiligheid van de Voedselketen en Leefmilieu, Brussel, België, 34 pp.).
A federal plan to adapt to climate change is finalised and is still waiting adoption by the government.
Strong efforts are made to reduce air pollution from transportation and settelments.
http://www.natuurenbos.be/nl-BE/natuurbeleid/natuur-en-natura-2000/natura_2000/PAS [to be updated by the Member State]
http://www.lne.be/themas/beleid/mina4 [to be updated by the Member State]
Action 5: Knowledge of ecosystems and their services
At national level: formal establishment of BEES (in 2012)
This Belgium Ecosystem Services (BEES) network is a community of practice aiming to connect different societal actors involved in ecosystem services research, practice and policy-making.
The BEES community of practice aims to:
- Develop ecosystem services concepts, tools and practices that help to adapt human activity and clarify ecosystem thresholds in order to preserve the actual and potential well-being of present and future generations; and to stop ecosystem and biodiversity degradation, and improve their status.
- Develop mainstreaming & policy tools to promote the integration of ecosystem services concepts in policy and management, business and society.
- Facilitate capacity building, exchange of expertise and experience: including methodologies and transfer of knowledge on Belgian ecosystem services to policy and share the needs from policy makers on this issue, to enable involvement of Belgian actors in national and international initiatives and build the capacity to conduct assessments of ecosystem services.
- Provide overviews of state of the art knowledge and good practices.
http://www.beescommunity.be/en-us/ [to be updated by the Member State]
The knowledge base on ecosystem services is enhanced through various projects in cooperation with relevant departments and research institutes under the MINA plan 4.
A summary overview of the methodology on the valuation of ecosystem services.
The nature values explorer has been refined and updated and includes now an online tool and manual in English also: (www.natuurwaardeverkenner.be).
A study report on the benfits of Natura 2000 in Flanders highlights the values for 13 ecosystem types: 'Estimate of the benefits delivered by the Flemish Natura 2000 network'
The INBO nature report ‘NARA-T’ describes the state and trends of ecosystems and their services in Flanders and will be published by the beginning 2015. This report consists of a technical report and a synthesis report. The technical report is a scientific background document and consists of two series of chapters. In the first series, the different components of the conceptual framework are described for 16 separate ecosystem services. Each of the ecosystem services are mapped at regional scale (Flanders) using biophysical data. The mapping contributes to the reporting about the state of ecosystem services by Member States that is required under Action 5 of the European biodiversity strategy. In the second series of chapters, a set of key questions is answered. These chapters rely on the findings and data of the first series of ES-chapters. Key questions:
- Which ecosystem services (ES) are provided by which ecosystems and what organisms, processes and structures play a role?
- What is the state of the ecosystems?
- What is the role of biodiversity in the provision of ES and how is biodiversity affected by the use of ES?
- What is the current state and trend in the demand, supply and use of ES and how they are spatially distributed?
- What are the direct and indirect drivers that influence ES demand, supply and use?
- How does ES contribute to wellbeing, how are these contributions valued and who are the ES-beneficiaries?
- To what extent can ES be delivered together and under what conditions can ecosystems provide multiple services in a sustainably?
- How is the ES governance structured in Flanders, and how can the ES-concept be applied to support sustainable use of ecosystems and their services?
The synthesis report is written for a wide audience of decision makers and other stakeholders.
WALES : Instauration en septembre 2014 d’une plateforme régionale chargée d’accompagner le développement et la diffusion d’outils d’aide à la décision publique basés sur le concept de services écosystémiques. La plateforme constitue une large structure fédératrice qui regroupe tous les services de l’administration régionale (SPW) et les universités francophones du pays. Les principaux résultats attendus après la première année de fonctionnement (septembre 2015) sont : 1. l’établissement et l’adoption d’un cadre conceptuel régional commun ; 2. la réalisation d’une première évaluation et cartographie des services écosystémiques à l’échelle régionale sur base d’une approche biophysique ; 3. l’accompagnement du développement de certains outils d’aide à la décision spécifiques selon les besoins manifestés par les services de l’administration (cf. études ci-dessous).
Elaboration d’une méthodologie d’évaluation des incidences sur l’environnement de l’aménagement foncier s’appuyant sur la notion de services écosystémiques. L’étude doit déboucher sur le développement d’un outil permettant de : 1. Identifier et hiérarchiser les SE susceptibles d’être impactés par un projet d’aménagement foncier (ex-remembrement, échelle communale); 2. Etudier les incidences potentielles des aménagements projetés sur ces SE via une approche par scenarii; 3. Formuler des recommandations pour promouvoir les SE et éviter/limiter/compenser leur détérioration. Les résulats de l’étude sont attendus pour mi-2016.
BIOECOSYS: Projet de recherche du CRA-W visant à évaluer qualitativement et quantitativement les services écosystémiques rendus par l’agroécosystème prairial en fonction de son mode de gestion et de son contexte territorial, y compris mesures de terrain. Les résultats de la recherche sont attendus pour mi-2016.
L’étude Ec-eau Wall a permis d’évaluer la valeur actuelle des bénéfices non marchands liés aux activités récréatives ainsi que la valeur économique totale résultant de l’atteinte du bon état écologique des eaux de surface wallonne.
Le Réseau wallon de développement rural a un groupe de travail sur Services éco systémiques, biens publics et métabolisme du territoire ; Ce GT mène plusieurs réflexions et travaux sur les thèmes suivants :
- Analyse de la disposition des (jeunes) agriculteurs à adopter de nouveaux outils de gestion de l'environnement
- Etude et diffusion des notions de biens publics et de services environnementaux en lien avec 1) l'agriculture, 2) la forêt multifonctionnelle et 3) les services environnementaux fournis par les entreprises et les systèmes de paiements mis en place.
- Evaluation économique des services écosystémiques (SES) produits dans le cadre de la réhabilitation de carrière.
Le GT poursuit un travail de sensibilisation des acteurs ruraux aux thèmes "Services Eco-Systémiques, Biens Publics et métabolisme de territoire". Le GT se penchera également sur les méthodes d'évaluation de la valeur des biens publics environnementaux à travers l'analyse d'études menées sur ce thème et la diffusion de leurs résultats ainsi que sur les mécanismes de compensations CO2.
Etude de la Conférence permanente de développement territorial: La biodiversité en Wallonie sous l'angle des dynamiques écosystémiques; La recherche vise à trouver les voies et moyens de favoriser l’avenir de la biodiversité régionale en identifiant les conditions biophysiques et les gestionnaires permettant le déploiement des différentes communautés végétales et animales, ainsi que les perturbations anthropiques qui en pilotent l’évolution.
http://www.beescommunity.be/en-us/ [to be updated by the Member State]
Action 6b: Ecosystem restoration and green infrastructure
Contributions to the development and management of green infrastructure are included in several programmes:
- Management and nature development measures under the Natura 2000 programme within and outside the sites, and especially the species protection plans for species having wider distributions and high mobility
- ‘Nature in your neighbourhood’ to promote greening elements in urban and residential areas
- Cooperation projects with private sector and business to promote greening of industrial zones
- Cooperation with the administration for Roads & Traffic to enhance nature oriented management of road verges and restore main connectivity zones between nature areas with a focus to Natura 2000
- Agri-environment schemes within and around nature areas, and especially (sub)-zones of Natura 2000 and species distribution areas
- Water course management plans
- Forest management plans and implementation of regulation protecting all forests
- Subsidies to local authorities promoting greening the environment, eg. Green roofs, nature oriented park devemoopment and management, development of community gardens
- NGO activities for nature areas, organising campaigns for greening urbanised zones and stimulating for natural gardens
Many measures contribute to the green infrastructure in the Walloon region via tools and measures in place to preserve and restore natural habitats (threatened habitats as well as the more common ones):
- The Law on nature conservation
- All measures related to the Natura 2000 network
- The Water Code
- Agri-environmental measures
- The Forestry Code
- The 'Circulaire Biodiversité en Forêt'
- PEFC certification of forests
- 'Plans Communaux de Développement de la Nature', delayed mowing, River contracts
- Agreements with the private sector (quarries, electricity companies, railroad companies...)
- The natural zones, green spaces and forests under the ‘Code wallon de l’Aménagement du Territoire, de l’Urbanisme et du Patrimoine’
- Species action plans
- Catalogue of actions of the ‘réseau Wallonie nature’
- Life Projects
- The Walloon strategy to adapt to climate change
- Some agreements with the quarries, energy… sectors.
- Projet biodibap: Le Ministre Wallon du Développement durable a lancé un projet invitant les gestionnaires de bâtiments publics à introduire la biodiversité dans et aux alentours de leurs locaux. Des écoles, des communes, des CPAS, des sociétés de logement public ont reçu une aide financière et un accompagnement afin de concrétiser un projet en lien avec la promotion de la biodiversité: pose de nichoirs, toitures et murs végétaux, gestion écologique des abords, etc.
- One of the objectives of the 'Plan Pluie' is to arrange the beds of rivers and alluvial plains to take into account the meteorological and hydrological features while respecting and promoting the natural habitats
The Water Code and some resulting plans and programs:
- The ‘Plans d’Assainissement par Sous-bassin Hydrographiques’ PASH define the decontamination and clean up regime for the relevant areas
- The programme for the sustainable management of nitrogen is the application of the Nitrate Directive (part of the Water Framework Directive)
- Les plans de gestion par bassin hydrographiques ;
- Les PARIS (programmes d’actions sur les rivières par approche intégrée et sectorisée): projet visant à intégrer les exigences diverses de la DCE, de NATURA 2000, de la Directive Inondation, … dans la gestion courante des cours d’eau en planifiant les interventions à réaliser à court et à moyen terme.
One of the objectives of the Regional Development Scheme (CWATUP) is the valuation of the patrimony and the protection of resources: protection and development of the natural patrimony for a sustainable development of the Walloon Region, integration of the landscape dimension in the management practices, sustainable protection and management of the resources.
A recent study estimated the fragmentation level of the Walloon territory based on an effective maze size indicator.
The Regional Nature Plan (in development) foresees the following measures:
- To ensure an adequate protection and management of the sites with a high biological value and to ensure the implementation of the ecological network
- To develop an integrated vision for the preservation and restoration of (ancient) agricultural zones and sites
- To implement the management plans within the protected sites the different policy levels competent for the ecological management of public green spaces should adopt a common language
- To develop and implement plans for the multifunctional management of green spaces
The Blue Network Programme: this programme aims to have an integrated, durable and ecologically justified management of open waterways in Brussels. The "blue network" is made up of small rivers, ponds and marshes. It is dedicated to the enhancement of natural values and biodiversity while maintaining the access of the public to the areas concerned.
A Plan for water management adopted by the BCR in 2012 is in line with this programme (See chapter II, item 4.4 on water management).
http://www.natuurenbos.be/nl-BE/natuurbeleid/groen [to be updated by the Member State]
Several projects have been carried out for the defragmentation of roads dividing important natural areas by construction of ecoducts, and on river systems by installations resolving fish migration barriers. A more comprehensive approach and action plan to map and prioritise fragmentation by road infrastructure is being developed in cooperation with the administration for Roads & Trafic.
Monitoring and reporting of pressures due to fragmentation are given in the 2-yearly reports NARA and MIRA
The evaluation of the conservation status of natural habitats is performed by biogeographical region. The conservation status of the continental habitats (covering 70% of the Walloon territory) is considered to be bad for 85% of the concerned surface. A recent study estimated the fragmentation level of the Walloon territory based on an effective maze size indicator. Walloon Region: (action 6 is mainly covered by what’s above under Aïchi Target 11)
In addition to adoption of management plans for Natura 2000 sites and nature reserves, specified by the ordinance of 1 March 2012 on nature conservation, the Regional Nature Plan (in development) provides for production of infrastructures to re-establish connectivity between the various parts of the Forêt de Soignes.
- Joint Implementation and Clean Development Mechanism projects:
- Federal Reduction Plan for Pesticides 2013-2017 (FRPP) (see also chapter II, 4.1).
- Biological quality of water courses: in 2010, 55% of the controlled surveillance sites showed a good to very good biological water quality. The number of sites with a good to very good water quality increased the last ten years mainly thanks to a decrease of diffuse pollution, an increase of the purification of used water and the ecological restoration of certain water courses. Despite the slowness of ecosystem recovery, a progressive improvement is expected for the entire water network following the implementation of additional measures foreseen in the projects of the hydrographical districts management plans.
SEA procedures include biodiversity criteria and refer to relevant national policy documents such as the Belgian Biodiversity Strategy, the CBD and biodiversity-related conventions and agreements.
EU target 3
Increase the contribution of agriculture and forestry to maintaining and enhancing biodiversity
Target 3a: Agriculture
Between 1980 and 2010, the surfaces dedicated to permanent grasslands registered the biggest decline with an average loss of 1,920 ha per year.
A new mapping exercise of permanent grasslands has been finalised. Management measures and legal regulations are in development and consultation procedure.
By the end of 2010, 54% of the Walloon farmers (28% of the agricultural surface) subscribed to one or more agri-environmental measures. In 2010, 5% of the Walloon agricultural surface was dedicated to the preservation of biodiversity (ecological compensation surface). Note that a percentage of 7% is considered as globally very favourable to the preservation of the wild fauna. En Région wallonne, Améliorer sensiblement l’état de conservation des espèces et habitats tributaires de l’agriculture d’ici à 2020 sera un grand défi qui sera au moins partiellement réalisé de part les actions citées ci dessous. Le plan 100% nature pourra grandement y contribuer.
Action 9a & 9b: Rural development and biodiversity
Enhance contribution to biodiversity of agro-environmental measures under the Rural Development Programme
The Flemish rural development program consists of support for some agro-environmental measures having direct effect on biodiversity:
- organic agriculture
- planting and maintenance of orchards with tall fruit trees
- preservation of local breeds
- mechanical weed control
- confusion technique in fruit cultivation
- cultivation of Leguminosae
The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries also financed some demonstration projects with direct positive effects on the (agro-) biodiversity, such as the project on genetic diversity in vegetables ... where information is gathered and shared to stimulate farmers in growing their own seed of their own local varieties.
Action 10: Agricultural genetic diversity
Contribute to the preservation of the genetic diversity of the European agriculture (see also Flemish contributions on Target 13).
For plant genetic resources, a ‘National Committee on Plant Genetic Resources’ has been created in January 2011.
In June 2012, Belgium officially notified its public collections to join the Multilateral System of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture ... and signed the Memorandum of Understanding for the Establishment of a European Genebank Integrated System.
In 2005, Belgium prepared its first national report to FAO on animal genetic resources and in 2014-2015 the report on biodiversity for food and agriculture.
Walloon Region for the entire action 11:
- A measure aims to protect threatened local livestock species.
- A collection of ancient fruit tree varieties is managed by the Walloon Agricultural Research Centre.
- Other actions undertaken to preserve or develop genetic resources: the cultivation of spelt and a barley variety, the conservation and valorisation of the genetic patrimony of the mixed type of the Belgian Blue and of the 'poule ardennaise'.
The mission of the 'Comptoir Forestier' is to collect seeds among all the major and secondary tree species and to commercialize these seeds through an annual catalogue. Priority is given to species of great economical value for the Walloon Region and to obtain a high genetic diversity.
Action 11a & 11b: Forest holders and biodiversity
Nature conservation policy measures: extension of surface and numbers of nature and forest reserves, development and implementation of Nature Objectives Plans, site or species specific management plans for nature and forest areas, management agreements with local authorities and land users (+ cross-compliance), introduction of criteria for sustainable forest management; legal framework for protection scheme for FEN and Natura 2000 sites, establishment of Natura 2000 conservation objectives and development of implementation plan in cooperation with stakeholder groups.
To enhance integration of biodiversity concerns into forest management and into approaches for multifunctionality of forests, several guidelines and instruments have been developed - especially to support private forest owners: criteria of sustainable forest management, mulitifunctionality approaches, FSC certification…
Local authorities and private forest owners receive technical and financial support to develop forest management plans that comply with sustainable forest management criteria. Subsidies for re-afforestation and forest management measures are also included under the new operational programme of EAFRD, so as to enhance maintenance and restoration of ecosystem services, and to contribute to improving conservation status of EU forest habitats.
The Flemish forest policy is based upon multifunctional and sustainable forestry. Promotion and granting of FSC-label to forest: about 20 000 ha are granted the FSC label publication of criteria for sustainable forest management and technical/financial support for the implementation these criteria by private forest owners.
One of the objectives of the Forestry Code is to combat climate change and to preserve biodiversity. It stipulates that the sustainable development of woodlands and forests implies the application of certain principles:
- The preservation and improvement of forestry resources and their contribution to the carbon cycle
- The preservation of the health and vitality of forest ecosystems
- The preservation, conservation and improvement of biodiversity in forest ecosystems
- The preservation and improvement of the protective functions of forest among others related to the water and the soil
- The preservation and improvement of other socio-economic benefits and conditions (preservation of an equilibrium between resinous and broad-leaved trees and promotion of a mixed forest type with a diversified age composition, adapted to climate change and able to mitigate some of its effects; restriction of areas where trees are cleared; for public owners: preservation of dead, damaged or biologically interesting trees, preservation of at least 1 tree of special biological interest per 2 ha, the preservation of shrubby hedges, ban on the planting or resinous trees next to water courses; the planning tool for public forests within the Forestry Code takes measures for the promotion of biodiversity into account; the Forestry Code imposes that 3% of the broad-leaved forests with a surface of more than 100 ha are to be delimited as integral reserves)
- The use of pesticides as well as the burning of branches is forbidden in all forests
- All artificial regeneration actions using tree varieties which are not optimal or tolerated following the 'ecological tree varieties registry' are forbidden.
Many tools are available to improve sustainable forest management:
- The ‘Circulaire relative aux aménagements dans les forêts soumises au régime forestier’ is a normative tool for the management planning in public forests (255,000 ha in Wallonia). At this stage, about 65% of the forest area is covered by new management plans following this circulaire. The remaining area should be covered by 2013,
- About 150,000 ha of forests are included in Natura 2000 areas. Management contracts will be concluded between the authorities and the owners, to implement the objectives of each site.
- PEFC certification: owners engage themselves voluntarily to diversify their forest, to maintain dead wood, to maintain patches where trees can grow old, etc (51.8% of the Walloon forests).
- Pro Sylva: research about and promotion of a close-to-nature sylviculture based on natural processes.
These following actions are not directly addressed to forest holders but could stimulate sustainable wood sector:
- Adoption of a sectoral agreement in the wood sector to stimulate the production and sell of sustainable wood products.
- Development of a federal public procurement policy to promote SFM (circular letter in 2005); a methodological guide supports federal purchasing authorities; promotion and follow-up of forest certification.
- An information campaign was set up to inform the public on SFM and related certification (2006 and 2007)
- Adoption of the 'products plan: towards an integrated product policy'.
- The development of biofuel production pathways/chains is conditioned by the application of a system of sustainability criteria (European directives on Renewable Energy and Fuel Quality 2009/28/CE published in June 2009). Those criteria represent the main measures to allow reasonable use of biofuels while limiting negative impacts on biodiversity. According to the law of 10 June 2006, which promotes biofuels in Belgium, the approval of biofuel production units is based on certain criteria, such as: (1) a short distance between biomass cultivation site and biofuel production unit; (2) the most favourable CO2 balance; (3) the energetic efficiency of the production unit; and (4) reduced use of fertilizers and/or pesticides. Decision rules with respect to the approval of production units also take into account the global CO2 balance, in order to assure that biofuel production leads to a significant reduction of greenhouse gases. However, apart from the use of fertilizers and/or pesticides, no biodiversity-related criteria are included in the attribution criteria.
Action 11a: Forest holders and biodiversity
L’Art. 57 du code forestier prévoit que tous les bois et forêts des personnes morales de droit public, d'une superficie supérieure à vingt hectares d'un seul tenant, sont soumis à un plan d'aménagement. Ce plan contient notamment :
1° la description de l'état des bois et forêts concernés et l'identification de zones à vocation prioritaire de protection afin de maintenir la qualité de l'eau et des sols ainsi que de zones à vocation prioritaire de conservation, […];
2° la détermination et la hiérarchisation des objectifs spécifiques de gestion durable des bois et forêts, y compris l'équilibre entre la faune et la flore;
3° le rappel des mesures de conservation liées au réseau Natura 2000 et aux autres espaces naturels protégés, le cas échéant;
4° la planification dans le temps et dans l'espace des actes de gestion en vue d'assurer la pérennité des bois et forêts et, le cas échéant, de promouvoir une forêt mélangée et d'âges multiples;
6° des mesures liées à la biodiversité;
9° les modes d'exploitation envisagés dans les peuplements, en ce compris le débardage au cheval, en vue d'assurer la protection des sols et des cours d'eau;
10° des mesures liées à l'intérêt paysager des massifs forestiers et à leurs éléments culturels.
Document Simple de Gestion (ou DSG), version simplifiée du plan d'aménagement. En forêts certifiées, un tel DSG est imposé, en public comme en privé.
Action 11b: Forest holders and biodiversity
Le financement des mesures du Programme wallon de développement rural 2007-2013: L'axe 2 (Amélioration de l’environnement et de l’espace rural) Vise à préserver un espace rural agricole et forestier de qualité, en recherchant un équilibre entre les activités humaines et la préservation des ressources naturelles et des paysages. Cet axe comprend la mesure, « indemnités Natura 2000 pour les forestiers » (mesure 224) qui a déjà été engagées pour les 8 sites désignés et pourra, dès 2011, l’être pour tous les sites.
Dans l'axe 3 « attractivité du milieu rural et diversification de l’économie rurale », la mesure « Conservation et mise en valeur du patrimoine rural » (mesure 323) vise la restauration de milieux ouverts (pelouses et landes) ainsi que l’exploitation de résineux en vue d’avoir un impact positif sur les paysages et aussi sur la biodiversité.
Action 12: Biodiversity in forest management plans
The Flemish forest policy is based upon multifunctional and sustainable forestry and applied through development of a management vision consisting of:
- Specific and concrete guidelines for a close-to-nature forest management,
- A framework to assess the forest functions,
- A method for quality control,
- Promotion and granting of FSC-label to forest,
Publication of criteria for sustainable forest management and technical/financial support for the implementation these criteria by private forest owners (see chapter III, area with management plan according to the criteria for sustainable forestry).
To enhance integration of biodiversity concerns into forest management and into approaches for multifunctionality of forests, several guidelines and instruments have been developed - especially to support private forest owners: criteria of sustainable forest management, mulitifunctionality approaches, FSC certification,…
Aspects relating to biodiversity concerns include: higher levels of deadwood, ecosystem-based measures including protection of water and soil systems, enhance multi-species variation. Concrete management aspects for EU forest habitat types are under development.
If complying with the criteria for sustainable forest management private forest owners and local authorities receive technical and financial support to develop and implement the management plan for their forest.
La région wallonne intègre des mesures de biodiversité dans les plans de gestion des forêts via :
- The 'Circulaire Biodiversité en Forêts' recommends integrating measures with a more biodiversity friendly dimension within the objectives of forest management. One of the objectives of the Forestry Code is to combat climate change and to preserve biodiversity. It stipulates that the sustainable development of wood(land)s and forests implies the application of certain principles.[T]he ‘Circulaire relative aux aménagements dans les forêts soumises au régime forestier’ is a normative tool for the management planning in public forests (255,000 ha in Wallonia). At this stage, about 65% of the forest area is covered by new management plans following this circulaire. The remaining area should be covered by 2013. About 150,000 ha of forests are included in Natura 2000 areas. Management contracts will be concluded between the authorities and the owners, to implement the objectives of each site.
- The Forest code (see under action 11) dont un des 5 objectifs est de lutter contre le réchauffement climatique et sauvegarder la biodiversité ; son article 1er stipule que le développement durable des bois et forêts implique la nécessité d’appliquer notamment le maintien, la conservation et l’amélioration de la diversité biologique dans les écosystèmes forestiers; Ceci entre parfaitement dans les orientations paneuropéennes sur le niveau de gestion durable des forêts.
- Pour les propriétaires publics, le code forestier demande le maintien d’arbres morts, cassés ou biologiquement intéressants, à raison de 2 bois par hectare, le maintien d’au moins un arbre d’intérêt biologique exceptionnel par superficie de 2 hectares.
- Enfin, le code forestier impose dorénavant que 3% des forêts feuillues publiques de plus de 100 hectares soient classées en réserves intégrales.
- Selon l’art. 57 du code forestier, tous les bois et forêts des personnes morales de droit public, d’une superficie supérieure à vingt hectares d’un seul tenant, sont soumis à un plan d’aménagement. Ceux ci contiennent des mesures liées à la biodiversité, un rappel des mesures de conservation liées au réseau Natura 2000 et aux autres espaces naturels protégés, le cas échéant;
- L’Art. 14 du code forestier prévoit que le Gouvernement peut temporairement limiter ou interdire la circulation en cas de risque d’incendie.
- Un plan de prévention incendie visant à établir une coordination entre le DNF et les Services d’Incendie pour une intervention rapide et efficace des pompiers lors d’incendies de forêts est en développement.
- La certification forestière PEFC
- Pro sylva (17.437 ha end 2014)
- Zones forestières avec plan d'aménagement spécifique à la biodiversité (7.634 ha in 2014)
- Protection sols Hydromorphes (73.667 ha in 2014)
The Sonian Forest management plan already fulfill the EU objectives
EU target 4
Ensure the sustainable use of fisheries resources and ensuring good environmental status of the marine environment
Action 13b: Fish stock management
In 2012, the “Good Environmental Status” and associated objectives for the descriptor “commercial fish species” (MSY by 20120) was defined and agreed
Source: Belgische Staat 2012. Omschrijving van Goede Milieutoestand en vaststelling van Milieudoelen voor de Belgische mariene wateren. Kaderrichtlijn Mariene Strategie – Art 9 & 10. BMM, Federale Overheidsdienst Volksgezondheid, Veiligheid van de Voedselketen en Leefmilieu, Brussel, België, 34 pp.
Action 14a: Adverse impacts on fish stocks, species, habitats and ecosystems
In relation to the marine fishery: continued structural and ad hoc consultations with the Department for Agriculture and Fisheries as well as with the Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research on the improvement of the management of fish stocks, and the elimination of the negative effects on fish stocks, species, habitats and ecosystems.
Codes of good practices have been developed and are being applied or are under review.
- Sand and gravel extraction, dredging and dumping of dredge spoil are subject to licences. Zero tolerance policy in relation to oil pollution.
- Development of a cleaning policy of the North Sea through the ‘fishing for litter programme’.
- Measures regulating coastal fisheries in protection of marine mammals.
- Ongoing actions in order to reduce import of nutrients and hazardous substances into the North Sea
The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences develops through the Management Unit of the North Sea Mathematical Models and the Scheldt estuary (http://odnature.naturalsciences.be/coherens/applications) a mathematical model to better understand fragile ecosystems such as coastal areas and mangroves in Asia (Vietnam) and Latin America (Peru) in order to be better able at developing integrated management plans taking into account the protection of sensitive areas.
A federal plan to adapt to climate change will be finalised in 2014. (To be updated in the next phase of this mid-report)
Action 14b: Adverse impacts on fish stocks, species, habitats and ecosystems
Following the adoption of the European Maritime and Fishery Fund (EMFF, 2014-2020) the Flemish administration in charge of the Fishery Policy and the federal administration in charge of the protection of the marine environment are currently preparing the Operational Programme so as to facilitate the use of EMFF for the restoration of the marine Natura 2000 areas and to support the implementation of measures of the EU-Marine Strategy Directive.
EU target 5
Combat Invasive Alien Species
At the national level, resulting of a collaboration between the federal and regional authorities, a code of conduct in relation to invasive plants has been elaborated in the framework of the AlterIAS-project: Alternatives for invasive plants.
In March 2014, the “Alien Alert - Horizon scanning for new pests and invasive species in Belgium and neighbouring areas” project, funded by the Belgian Science Policy Office, came to an end. The project was realized by a consortium of eight Belgian scientific institutions, coordination of which was provided by the Belgian Biodiversity Platform. Central to this project was the development of a framework to analyze the risk of emerging and potentially invasive non-native species, and an analogue for emerging infectious diseases. A concluding symposium was held on March 12th as to present the project’s outcome within the broader frame of rapid response measures towards invasive species (“Aliens on the Horizon - Prioritisation, prevention & rapid response for invasive species in Belgium”). The resulting risk assessment tools package includes the following:
- Harmonia+ is a first-line risk assessment scheme for potentially invasive species.
- Pandora+ is a first-line risk assessment scheme for pathogenic or parasitic (micro) organisms that may be of concern to environmental, plant, animal or human health. It refers directly to a particular host organism, and as such, is designed to support assessments within Harmonia+.
- Pandora is a first-line risk assessment scheme for the risks posed by pathogenic and parasitic (micro) organisms. It is the counterpart of Harmonia+ for potentially invasive (macro) organisms.
The whole package was implemented as a web-based tool and launched end of March 2014. Harmonia+ and Pandora+ have been picked up by several external initiatives, and recognized as key assessment methods for the identification of invasive alien species for EU Concern.
The Agency for Nature and Forests developed a first strategy including a special instrument for invasive alien species; to conduct an invasive species policy focussed on awareness and prevention, as well as combating IAS when necessary, taking also into account control actions and horizontal needs (such as policy framework, communication and knowledge / research. The reports of 2013 indicate a total number of 89 exotic species on the “signal list” of problematic species. At least 41 of these species are recorded as being invasive: 16 plant species, 5 fish, 4 mammals, 4 crustaceans and 4 bird species. The Executive Act on species protection published in 2009 includes the legal basis for preventing the introduction, establishment and spread of invasive alien species in Flanders.
There is a program in which rare, colonial and introduced breeding bird species are being monitored in Flanders.
For the main IAS an information form on description, location and measures for control or eradication are published of the Agencies’ and NGO’s websites.
For some species groups, such as invasive exotic geese control measures are being carried out on yearly basis.
In cooperation with the research institute INBO and NGO Natuurpunt an early warning testing study is being carried out.
In the Walloon Region, 375 exotic species of ornamental plants and 21 exotic species of vertebrates were considered as naturalised in 2011. Of these, 29 species of plants and 11 species of vertebrates are known to cause considerable environmental damage and are mentioned on the black list.
Preventive and control actions against invasive alien species are coordinated through a dedicated interdepartmental unit that has been established in 2009 within the strategic plan of the Administration. This unit is in charge of the following tasks:
- Identify priority pathways and develop preventive and regulatory measures accordingly, including guidelines for plantations, soil movement, green waste management, etc.
- Prepare a coherent legislative framework to regulate preventive and control actions against invasive alien species in Wallonia.
- Set up an early warning system in cooperation with the other regions in the country and nature conservation NGOs.
- Identify and disseminate best practices for the management of invasive alien plants and animals;
- Coordinate control action plans against priority species like giant hogweed, Japanese mosquito, Canada goose or muskrat.
- Conduct studies to assess non-native species invasiveness in the field and compile information for risk analyses of priority species.
- Communicate and develop capacity building actions towards field managers and the general public.
- Nature Parks, many River Contracts and cities which have either a Municipality Plan for Nature Conservation or a ‘Roadside management plan’ actively manage invasive alien species at a local scale.
- The introduction of non-indigenous species or indigenous species of non-indigenous origin in nature is forbidden except for species used for agriculture and forestry.
En Région de Bruxelles-Capitale, la plupart des groupes d'espèces comptent au moins une ou plusieurs espèces exotiques. La part d'espèces exotiques est particulièrement élevée chez les reptiles, les plantes et les oiseaux. Parmi les plantes exotiques observées à Bruxelles, plusieurs sont invasives. Les plus répandues sont la renouée du Japon (Fallopia japonica), la berce du Caucase (Heracleum mantegazzianum) et le cersisier tardif (Prunus serotina). Parmi les oiseaux, les espèces invasives les plus répandues sont l'Ouette d'Egypte, la Bernache du Canada et 3 espèces de perruches vertes. The the Regional Nature Plan (in development) also aim to reduce nuisances caused by problematic species, in particular invasive exotic species and foresees diverses measures to do so.
Action 18 of the second Federal Plan for Sustainable Development is devoted to biodiversity and focuses on sectoral integration of biodiversity in key federal sectors (transport, economy, development cooperation and scientific policy). The action plan ‘Integration of biodiversity in the four federal key sectors’, adopted in November 2009 was evaluated in 2014. Some specific actions were dedicated to IAS.
Actions foreseen in this action plan included:
- Economy: the consultation of key sectors in order to increase awareness and understanding of the issue and the identification of the most appropriated measures (such as e.g. labelling, substitution, information, etc.) (see AlterIAS LIFE project above) and the review, actualization and extension of existing legislations at federal level are still under discussion in order to be in line with the new EU legislation but some meausres were already taken:
- Renforcement de l’expertise scientifique notamment dans l’élaboration des procédures d’évaluation des risques ;
- The federal law of 1973 on nature conservation has been modified in 2012 and in 2014 in order to update the general legal framework related to the federal competences concerning the importation, exportation and transit of non indigenous species, including invasive alien species. New provisions include i.e. the possibility to take different measures on invasive alien species like to prohibite, suspend or regulate them as well as sanctions applying in case of non compliance.
- Science: the establishment of an early warning system on IAS and the development of a system based on molecular barcoding to identify organisms of policy concern (including IAS) for use by Transport (see for example the Alien-Alert project above).
- Transport: the control and management of ballast water. La ratification de la Convention de la gestion des eaux de ballast est réalisé au niveau fédéral, de la Région de Bruxelles et de la Wallonie. Il est attendu que l’entrée en vigueur se fasse fin 2015 ou au premier semestre 2016. Les travaux préparatoires pour l’implémentation sont déjà en cours
- The Belgian Law of 20.01.1999 (MMM law) forbids the intentional introduction of non-indigenous species in the marine environment without special license (Art. 11, §1).
- A royal decree will be adopted in the second part of 2009 to implement the Council Regulation dealing specifically with alien species in aquaculture (708/2007/CE) with regard to marine species.
The Royal Decree of 9 April 2003 foresees measures related to the commercialisation of species listed in annex A (excepted for specimens bred in captivity, with CITES certificate).
In 2012, the “Good Environmental Status” and associated objectives for the descriptor “invasive species” was defined and agreed.
Belgische Staat 2012. Omschrijving van Goede Milieutoestand en vaststelling van Milieudoelen voor de Belgische mariene wateren. Kaderrichtlijn Mariene Strategie – Art 9 & 10. BMM, Federale Overheidsdienst Volksgezondheid, Veiligheid van de Voedselketen en Leefmilieu, Brussel, België, 34 pp.
EU target 6
Help avert global biodiversity loss
Action 17a, 17b & 17c: Drivers of biodiversity loss
- Implementation of the Water Framework Directive and the Nitrates directive to protect aquatic environment and to reach good ecological status.
- Many different projects focussing on sustainable food production and consumption, i.a. direct selling and CSA-farming (Flemish Strategic Plan), organic farming (Flemish Strategic Plan), prevent food waste…
- Biodiversity conservation measures e.g. on high nature value pastures prevent degradation of biodiversity rich grasslands (see conditionality principle Wallonian contribution).
- Integrated pest management in the fruit sector (see Wallonian contribution).
- Projects to stimulate a circular economy: reuse and recycling of food and other organic waste, mainly in the agrofood business complex, often combined with renewable energy production. + Actions of Target 3.
Incentives are provided for the use of criteria for sustainable forest management in the management planning and implementation – also for projects to promote sustainable forest management in developing countries though the Flelmish Fund for Tropical Forests.
Organised and controlled hunting in Wildlife Management Units (WMU) is promoted so that hunters can act as joint managers of the open space. Principles, criteria and indicators are being developed to evaluate the sustainability of the implementation and hunting plans and to review policies.
- Many tools are available to improve forest biodiversity and sustainable forest management:
- 53% of the Walloon forest area is PEFC certified
- About 150.000 ha of forests are included in Natura 2000; management contracts will be concluded between the authorities and the owners, to implement the objectives of each site
- The‘Circulaire relative aux aménagements dans les forêts soumises au régime forestier’ is a normative tool for the management planning in public forests (270,000 ha in Wallonia, including regional nature reserves)
- The application of the 'ecological tree varieties registry' allows to optimise sylvicultural practices as well as to improve ecosystem functioning, the mineral and water cycles, and the biodiversity of the undergrowth.
- The Walloon Region has adopted the Water Code (Code de l’Eau) on 27 May 2004 to implement the Water Framework Directive. One of its objectives is to prevent additional degradations and to preserve and improve the state of the aquatic ecosystems as well as of the terrestrial ecosystems and wetlands depending on them.
- Agri-environmental methods foresee incentives for a better consideration of nature in agricultural areas.
- Organic farming: this type of agriculture forbids synthesized fertilizers and pesticides, excludes GMOs and has a particular attention for the well-being of cattle and the soil quality. In 2011, approximately 6.9% of the Walloon agricultural area was covered by organic farming.
- The strategic plan for the development of biological agriculture to 2020 has been approved by the Walloon Gouvernment in December 2012. It aims to promote production and consumption of Walloon bio products.
- Integrated pest management aims to limit as much as possible the use of synthesized fertilisers and phytopharmaceutical products, mainly in the fruit production sector. At the end of 2008, the main label gathered 25% of the Walloon producers, equalling 45% of the production.
- The conditionality principle in relation to grants for agriculture entered into force on 01.01.2005. It is linked with several European directives, among others the Bird and Habitat Directives. The conditionality principle contains following points:
- It is forbidden to remove indigenous hedges without an urban permit
- It is forbidden to drain Natura 2000 areas without the permission of the DGARNE.
- The non-profit organisation ECOCONSO promotes environment-friendly and healthy consumption patterns, among others in relation to water, gardening, pesticides ... The campaign 'Achats verts' is directed towards municipalities and public communities. It aims to implement a more ecological way of consumption within local policies and to improve purchasing practices.
- In the Brussels-Capital Region, much attention is paid to the ecological management of the green spaces, the use of pesticides is therefore prohibited.
- Forest exploitation in the Brussels Capital Region is in line with the FSC and PEFC certification criteria:
- New buildings but also restoration of buildings tends to be more and more nature friendly. One of the more used indicators to measure this is the BAF (biotope area factor): http://www.sustainablecity.be/themas/sustainable-building, http://www.bruxellesenvironnement.be/guide_batiment_durable/. [to be updated by the Member State]
- Much effort is also made in the field of sustainable food and supply chain: http://www.sustainablecity.be/themas/sustainable-consumption.
- The Regional Nature Plan (in development) foresees the following measures:
- To develop an integrated vision for the conservation and restoration of agricultural relict zones
- To develop an indicator to evaluate the taking into account of nature into projects
- To strengthen the taking into account of impacts of plans and projects onto the ecological network and the green spaces
- Adoption of a sectoral agreement in the wood sector to stimulate the production and sell of sustainable wood products.
- Results of both ‘Business and biodiversity’ and ‘Consumers and biodiversity’ studies (see action 17a below).
- An information campaign was set up to inform the public on SFM and related certification
The development of biofuel production pathways/chains is conditioned by the application of a system of sustainability criteria (European directives on Renewable Energy and Fuel Quality 2009/28/CE published in June 2009). Those criteria represent the main measures to allow reasonable use of biofuels while limiting negative impacts on biodiversity.
Action 17a: Drivers of biodiversity loss
Business and biodiversity: Two studies were carried out in 2012-2013 in order to better integrate biodiversity in key market players (business, consumer, civil society).
- "Consumers and biodiversity" study: This study analyzes the consumption patterns of consumers and their knowledge and sensitivity to biodiversity. The internet survey covered 1.219 Belgian consummers. The main conclusions are: Regarding the preservation of the environment and biodiversity, it is extremely difficult to identify ‘homogeneous’ consumer groups since one can find very engaged and very disengaged consumers in all categories of the population. This study shows also how the federal government can encourage biodiversity, ecosystems and ecosystem services, adopting measures to alter the demand for goods and services to consumers and citizens. This study is line with the ‘Biodiversity barometer’ of the UEBT.
- "Business and biodiversity" study: This study aims to encourage market participants to provide models of sustainable consumption and production and to consider the potential for sustainable use of biodiversity for economic, social gain, and environmental. This study proposes a list of instruments that can be supported by the federal government.
The output of those studies was presented during a workshop in December 2013, which initiated also some positive debate with the stakeholders.
Action 17c: Drivers of biodiversity loss
- CAP direct payments under cross compliance to ensure compliance with i.a. biodiversity legislation and some supplementary rules (for example measures to counter erosion, obligation to maintain amount of permanent grasslands on farm level). . Code of good agricultural practices nature and biodiversity to stimulate farmers to take into account biodiversity in their operations.
- Research and projects to test, demonstrate and stimulate sustainable use of biodiversity in farming context.
- Local projects are promoted to i.a. increase green farm sites, create pools, prune trees and hedges…
- Financing of several measures of the Walloon rural development program has a direct positive effect on biodiversity:
- Measures in relation to agri-environmental subsidies
- Natura 2000 remunerations for the farmers
- Natura 2000 remunerations for the forestry sector
- Conservation and valorisation of the rural patrimony
- Subsidies for biological agriculture.
- Supplementary subsidies for agri-environmental measures in Natura 2000 sites and in the main ecological structure areas (SEP).
- Subsidies for the planting of hedges, tree rows and orchards.
- Subsidies attributed through the 'Plan Communal de Développement de la Nature', for delayed mowing, for the program 'combles et clochers', within river contracts, for the Maya Plan, for natural parks, for the action 'Semaine de l'Arbre', etc.
- Subsidies for the regeneration of broadleaved and conifer species.
- Subsidies for the acquisition of land that will be designated as nature reserve. . Dispensation of property tax and of succession and donation rights within Natura 2000.
- Natura 2000:
- Agricultural compensations are available to farmers; they can be cumulated with agri-environmental measures
- Compensations are also available to forest owners
- Restoration and acquisition subsidies are available for all Natura 2000 sites and SEP sites, for all owners and farmers
- Subsidies for the management of open spaces are also available.
- Non financial incentives:
- PEFC label
- BIO label
- The new nature ordinance foresees several cases where positive incentives may be accorded by the Government: public awareness and information (art. 4), scientific research (art. 5), protected areas management and ground purchases (art. 35, 55), management and development of urban biotopes and other key elements of the ecological network (art. 66), actions in favour of protected species (art. 72).
- The Regional Nature Plan (in development) foresees inter alia the following measure: to co-ordonate and to guide nature support mecanisms.
- Following the adoption of the European Maritime and Fishery Fund (EMFF, 2014-2020) the Flemish administration in charge of the Fishery Policy and the federal administration in charge of the protection of the marine environment are currently preparing the Operational Programme so as to facilitate the use of EMFF for the restoration of the marine Natura 2000 areas and to support the implementation of measures of the EU-Marine Strategy Directive.
Action 18a: Resources for global biodiversity conservation
The Rio Marker system was not designed to provide accurate information on expenditures. For this reason Belgium will not use this system for reporting on its biodiversity-related expenditures, and is reflecting on possible alternative methodologies to the Rio Markers based on the OECD/DAC CRS.
Action 18b: Resources for global biodiversity conservation
BE is funding the CEBioS programme, housed at the Royal Belgian Institute for Natural
Sciences to mainstream conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in development cooperation and hence contribute to global biodiversity conservation. CEBioS has a ten year strategy (2014-2023), with a first five year programme of 6 M Euro (2014-2018).
Action 20: Access to genetic resources and sharing of benefits
In order to prepare the ratification and implementation of the Nagoya Protocol (NP) in Belgium, an impact study was issued by the four competent authorities. This study is publicly available and can be found on the Belgian CBD CHM.
Based on the results of the study, a phased approach was adopted by the relevant Belgian regional and federal authorities for the national implementation of the Nagoya Protocol. Its purpose is to maintain the necessary flexibility in order to allow integration of future developments that will result from ongoing European and global discussions, while still allowing a timely ratification to allow Belgium to participate as a Party to the Nagoya Protocol at COP/MOP1.
The phased approach follows a three step process:
Step 1: political agreement to support timely ratification.
Step 2: legal measures implementing the political agreement, based on currently available guidance.
After expressing their clear political commitment to implement the core obligations of the Nagoya Protocol, within the limits of the decisions already taken at the international and European level at the time of the agreement, the competent authorities will proceed with developing legal measures to achieve the following:
- Establishment of PIC and benefit-sharing as general legal principles.
- Designation of four Competent National Authorities (CNAs) as well as one centralized input system for the four CNAs.
- Enforce that Genetic Resources (GR) utilized within Belgian jurisdiction have been accessed by PIC and MAT, as required by provider country legislation, and to address situations of non-compliance.
- Making the PIC documents available in the ABS Clearing-House (ABS C-H) as checkpoint.
- Designation of the Belgian CBD CHM, managed by the Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Sciences (RBINS), as the Belgian contribution to the ABS C-H.
Step 3: further implementation upon availability of new elements.
Once further decisions are taken at European and/or global level regarding the implementation of different provisions of the Nagoya Protocol, these will be gradually integrated into the national policies.
Work under step 1 and 2 is ongoing and progressing as fast as possible, aiming for the June 2014 ratification deadline. It must however be kept in mind that for ratification by Belgium, due to the extent of competences covered to implement the Nagoya Protocol, probably 9 parliaments will need to give their consent.