Connecting open heath in order for typical species such as the grayling (see photo) to move cross border.
In the mid 19th century, big scale wood plantations started on the Dutch side of the border park. That is why there are only few open patches that have never been forested.
On Flemish side, forestation started some decades later, at the beginning of the 20th century. That’s when the first woods were planted with Scots and maritime pine. However, when heath was finally classified as landscape, it got the attention it deserved, and management was focused on maintaining heath.
Of course the biggest profit for nature is where you can reconnect two areas, and that is what we aim at in the project area. Reconnecting the heath on the Flemish side with the heath on the Dutch side. To obtain heath, woods will be brought down and sods will be cut. By cutting sods the humus layer is removed to clear the underlying seed bank.
Structured heath as a future image: old heath bushes alternated with young heath, a single Scots pine, some open sand spots and pioneer vegetation of sand sedge and grey-hair grass.
This way species like european nightjar and woodlark get new chances. The smooth snake too prefers structured heath terrain…