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12 countries strive to have beech forests recognised as World Heritage

The procedure to recognise the Sonian Forest as a World Heritage Site is underway. This summer, the three Belgian regions, along with twelve other European countries, will prepare their Nomination Files.

Photo de Fort de SoignesSite web

© Frédéric Demeuse

Since the end of January 2015, parts of the Sonian Forest have been included in the shortlist of 33 untouched beech forests. >>Click to continue

Mountain bike adventures in the Sonian Forest

Mountain biking is fun, good for your health and adventurous! However, more and more accidents with mountain bikes have been occurring lately. Why is that? What should you pay attention to as a mountain biker?


© Pascal Mannaerts

Damien Bauwens, director of the Nature and Forest Department: ‘The increasing number of visitors is putting more and more pressure on the forest. We need to protect the animals and the plants, along with the future of the forest.”

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Looking for the Purple Emperor?

The Purple Emperor, with its stunningly beautiful bright blue wings and wingspan of 7 to 9 cm, is a must see for every butterfly enthusiast. Fancy having a look?


© Dirk Raes

>> Click for some hints 

Seen a mammal? Report your sighting!

A fox in your garden? This is valuable information for the new Mammal Atlas of Brussels. 15 years after the last mammal atlas, Environment Brussels launches a new count of wild mammals living in Brussels.

Help us to complete the new Mammal Atlas and let us know what wild mammal you have seen. >> Click for more information

C Marc Nollet 6

© Marc Nollet

Interesting documentary on the Sonian Forest: watch and enjoy

Why do dogs off their leash form a threat to the animals in the forest? How do both slugs and roe deer benefit from a wildlife crossing? Why can chopping down trees be a good thing for nature? Find out all this and more in this beautiful documentary about the Sonian Forest on tvbrussel.

Watch and enjoy the enchanting images of the forest and its many inhabitants:

15 cameras put animals in the spotlight

Earlier this year the team from the LIFE+ OZON project, focused on defragmentation of the Sonian Forest, placed 15 cameras around the passages under the Brussels Ring road and the E411. These are providing a unique look at the animals making use of these ecological thoroughfares.

Vos (LIFE+ OZON)The European LIFE+ OZON project is taking action to help reduce the fragmentation of the Sonian Forest. By 2017, there will be eight new wildlife passages over and under places where the highway crosses the woods, including a 60-metre wide eco duct. Nearby, 18 existing tunnels and passages are being renovated to make it easier for bats, foxes, badgers and other animals to pass.

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Welcome to the Groenendaal Ecoduct

Groenendaal Ecoduct. This is the name of the new ecoduct over the ring around Brussels that will connect both sides of the Sonian Forest.

Ecoduct Groenendaal

Ecoduct Groenendaal © Witteveen+Bos

Project leader Steven Vanonckelen: “Our appeal to come up with a name received a lot of response, more than thirty people submitted a proposal. We were looking for a name that is understood across all language borders and that certainly applies to Groenendaal Ecoduct.”

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 Archaeologists discover underground room below Groenendaal priory

While researching the former Augustinian priory at Groenendaal, archaeologists stumbled upon an unknown underground room. Further research should now reveal what the room was used for in the Middle Ages.

© ODIN / Archeopro

© ODIN / Archeopro

In 1343, three canons from the Brussels Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula founded the Augustinian priory at Groenendaal. To this very day several buildings are testament to its devout past: the historic farm that now houses the Bosmuseum Jan Van Ruusbroec (Forest Museum), the remains of the priory church, the Classical coach house and the building to house the staff from 1783, where the Government of Flanders has an office. It now appears that the site concealed another room below ground.

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