On Thursday December 1st, the Walloon government in Belgium approved the creation of 30 new nature reserves and the extension of 23 existing ones, covering a total of 1,553 hectares.
“The creation of new protected areas in Wallonia, true refuges for nature, represents a new step in the right direction in the face of the unprecedented crisis of life,” said the Walloon Minister of the Environment, Céline Tellier.
This network of nature reserves and protected areas, which is part of the regional executive’s goal of recognizing 1,000 hectares of new reserves per year, should allow the rarest and most sensitive species and environments to redevelop.
The preservation of fauna and flora is undoubtedly the greatest challenge of this century, along with that of climate change.Céline Tellier, Walloon Minister of the Environment
After the creation of 1,098 ha of nature reserves in 2020 and 1,016 ha in 2021, the Government of Wallonia confirms its commitment to the preservation of natural areas of high biological value with the classification of 1,553 additional ha.
The objective of this network of nature reserves and protected areas is to allow the rarest and most sensitive species and environments to redevelop. These areas are able to provide important benefits in terms of services rendered by nature, with virtuous impacts in terms of well-being for the Walloon people and attractiveness for ecotourism.
Peatlands play an essential role in carbon capture, while the various types of wetlands can serve as buffer zones during major rainfall events, thus reducing the risk of flooding. Until now Wallonia had:
- 258 state nature reserves (RND), i.e. managed by the Department of Nature and Forests of the Walloon administration, covering an area of 11,969 hectares
- 186 approved nature reserves (RNA), i.e. managed by approved naturalist associations covering 3,940 hectares;
The total surface area of all Walloon protected areas, including RNDs and RNAs, was then around 23,600 ha. With this addition of 53 new protected areas, Wallonia is progressing towards a more ambitious objective of reaching 2 to 3% of the territory under strong protection status in the coming years.
Wallonia now has 271 RNDs (for 12,101.3766 ha) and 203 RNAs (for 4,112.6389 ha), for a total of 474 nature reserves. The total surface of all the Walloon protected areas, RND and RNA included, is thus around 25,153 ha.