Located in West Europe, Belgium is host to the European Union’s headquarters. With three main geographical regions – the coastal plain in the north-west, the central plateau, and the Ardennes uplands in the south-east, it is on its hills that much of the wildlife can be found.
Recent biodiversity assessments have recorded more than 35,000 species of animals, plants, fungi and bacteria in the country. Nearly two thirds of these species are animals. Insects are the most numerous: 4,500 species of beetles, 4,500 species of flies and mosquitoes, 2,400 species of butterflies and moths, and more. Vertebrates are at the bottom of the scale, with only 73 species of mammals and 150 species of fishes. Biodiversity experts believe that there may be more species but these have not yet been recorded.
Biodiversity is under serious threat as a result of human activities. The main reasons for the decline of biodiversity are the destruction and fragmentation of natural habitats, pollution and eutrophication caused by agricultural and industrial practices, excessive water catchments in some areas, climate change and perturbations linked to leisure and tourism.
Belgium has developed a national biodiversity strategy and action plan. Environmental policy, including biodiversity policy is a regional competence in Belgium and therefore the regional governments play a major role in the conservation of species and habitats.
There are nine Members of IUCN In Belgium – see here. In addition, Belgium also hosts four international members of IUCN: Confederation of European Forest Owners, European Bureau for Conservation and Development, Federation of Associations of Hunting and Conservation of Wildlife of the European Union, and International Association for Falconry and Conservation of Birds of Prey.