Protecting the forest

The Sonian Forest is a treasure trove of rare biotopes and typical types of forest. To protect them all, the most valuable parts of the forest have been designated forest or nature reserves.

Five nature reserves

There are five nature reserves in the Sonian Forest: Verdronken Kinderen, Rouge-Cloître, Vuilbeek, Dry-Borren and Pinnebeek. In these endangered habitats, the forest administrators do everything they can to protect the biodiversity.

Three forest reserves

The Sonian Forest also counts three forest reserves. In the Rouge-Cloître Abbey forest reserve, the forest administrators work on the preservation of the oak woods with hyacinth, a typical type of wood in the Sonian Forest.In the integral forest reserves of Joseph Zwaenepoel and the Gripensdelle, the forest is permitted to evolve. No intervention whatsoever is performed, unless the safety along the forest paths is at stake.

Europe helps to preserve nature

For the Sonian Forest, the European Habitats Directive is also a windfall. With the Habitats Directive, Europe aims to guarantee the rich biodiversity of Europe for the future and to preserve the natural habitats and the wild plants and animals. The member states must demarcate protection zones for this purpose. Each region translates the ‘conservation objectives’ into structural measures.

In the Sonian Forest, the greatest attention is being paid to:

–          the preservation of dead or hollow trees (as long as the safety of the visitors is not endangered)

–          the preservation of procumbent dead trees

–          ecological defragmentation above or below the traffic arteries which intersect the forest

–          protection of the adjacent nature reserves

–          improving the links with other forests

–          allowing parts of the forest to evolve naturally

–          the development of ecotopes with the preservation of open areas in the forest and incrementally laid out forest perimeters