Axe 1 - Expanding the green-blue network

Ecological connectivity

By 2030, 4000 km of linear infrastructures between urban and peri-urban areas and 10 000 km of landscape elements are managed to enhance ecological connectivity across the territory

The quality of the Belgian green-blue network depends on its ecological integrity and connectivity. Infrastructures – railways, roads, highways, rivers/canals, parking lots, etc. – are a major driver of fragmentation of the ecological network and this fragmentation has a huge impact on biodiversity. Besides actions to enhance green and blue spaces in urban and peri-urban areas, it is equally important to ensure that these areas are connected in a qualitative way in, outside and between cities, while also integrating biodiversity into the management and development of infrastructures. With the elimination of obstacles to the connectivity, the network’s quality will also be improved.

For example, enhancing the ecological connectivity between large parks, across borders and between regions can be done with the plantation of hedges and landscape elements, restoration of riverbeds or the building of wildlife bridges across roads and railways. Landscape elements such as hedges, trees and free-flowing rivers are also key components of ecological connectivity and can ensure safe pathways for several species.

These new connecting elements will facilitate the movement of animal and vegetal species between different zones and ensure safer displacements while enhancing Belgium’s green-blue network

What is to be achieved?

  • Restoration and conservation of biodiversity
  • Restoration and enhancement of the connectivity of the ecological network
  • Avoiding and minimising obstacles to ecological connectivity
  • Mainstreaming of biodiversity-friendly infrastructures (both for new and existing ones)
  • Promotion of biodiverse landscape elements
  • Integration of biodiversity considerations in spatial planning

Criteria to be reflected by the voluntary engagements:

  • Facilitate the safe migration of animal and/or plant species across the different zones of the green-blue network
  • Use native species, and subspecies that are more resilient and resistant to climate change, if appropriate
  • Restore and/or promote biodiverse landscape elements (e.g. trees, hedges, flowers, rivers, etc.) along linear infrastructures (e.g. roads, railroads, etc.)
  • Have respect for and/or improve the environmental and ecological characteristics of the area
  • Incorporate these amenities into the surrounding area and environment
  • Manage the amenities ecologically (e.g. no use or rational use of pesticides, ...)

Model Projects "Ecological connectivity"

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