Climate change has weakened 60% of Walloon forest species

Climate change has weakened 60% of Walloon forest species
Credit: Belga

Some 60% of the species that populate Walloon forests are showing signs of weakness in the face of climate change, the office of Environment and Forestry Minister Céline Tellier (Ecolo) announced on Monday morning. In that context, the Walloon region is launching its call for “Resilient Forests” projects for the third consecutive year.

The call was initiated with the aim of enabling forest owners, whether private or public, to regenerate their forests affected by pests, such as bark beetles, or which have been weakened by adverse weather conditions. In this way, Wallonia hopes to make its forests more robust in the face of climate disruption and respond to the current biodiversity crisis.

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In view of the good results obtained in 2021 and 2022, the Region has decided to renew the programme for two more years (2023 and 2024), as part of Wallonia’s Recovery Plan. New this year, four separate packages are planned for private owners: diversification of young stands (€500 per hectare), basic package (€2,000 per hectare), “biogenic species” package (€2,500 per hectare) and “biodiversity” package (€3,000 per hectare).

If they wish, private forest owners can also seek advice from a forestry expert to rethink the management of their territories. For its part, the Department of Nature and Forests (DNF) is responsible for preparing projects for public forest owners (municipalities, provinces, CPAS, etc.).

Some 636 Walloon landowners have taken part in the two previous editions, and 2,500 ha of territory were designated as a “resilient forest”. The new call for projects is open until 31 July 2023.

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