Europe

Belgium

Young fox Photo: Arnout Vanderhaegen
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: The Agency for Nature and Forest (ANB), Brussels Environment, Directorate-General for Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment, Institute of Zoology - Department of Science and Environmental Management - University of Liège, Antwerp Zoo, Belgian Science Policy Office (Belspo), the Regional Landscape Kempen and Maasland, the Federal Public Service Health Food Chain Safety and Environment, and WWF Belgium

In addition, Belgium also hosts four international members of IUCN: Confederation of European Forest Owners, European Bureau for Conservation and Development, European Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation (FACE) , and International Association for Falconry and Conservation of Birds of Prey.

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Latest news

  • Restoration works on calcareous grassland on the Mount Saint Peter

    Exceptional nature in East Belgium: the Mount Saint Peter

    25.03.2013

    The Mount Saint Peter is located at the border between the Wallonian and Flemish Regions of Belgium, not far from the Netherlands. This site, exceptional at European level, consists of a large limestone mass overlooking the Meuse and Geer river valleys. This is the latest story of the Country Focus on Belgium.

  • Moor Frog

    Connecting nature and people in Belgium

    20.02.2013

    Transforming old industrial areas into green areas, providing employment to local people and integrating nature with human activities and the urban environment is what IUCN Members strive to do in Belgium.  

  • Sonian Forest in autumn color, Brussels‘ most important green space and forest Natura 2000-site

    Capital of the European Union, champion of biodiversity policy

    19.02.2013

    Despite the high level of urbanization and a population of more than a million, the Brussels Capital Region situated in the centre of Belgium is a green area with nearly 50% of its surface free of constructions.

  • Ladybird climbing on Marguerite (Leucanthemum vulgare)

    Building “green infrastructure” in Brussels

    19.02.2013

    An important and innovative aspect of the new nature legislation adopted by the Brussels Region in 2012 is the importance given to the implementation of an ecological network to protect urban biotopes and landscape elements.

  • Silver-studded Blue

    Hoge Kempen: from industrial exploitation to nature conservation

    06.02.2013

    The Hoge Kempen National Park, in the east of Belgium, is a unique nature area, covering more than 5,700 hectares of woodlands and heathland which are all protected and managed by the Flemish Government Agency for Nature and Forestry, an IUCN Member. The Park is a project by the NGO Regionaal Landschap Kempen en Maasland, also an IUCN Member.

  • Vallei kikbeek

    Together for more and better nature: Hoge Kempen National Park

    06.02.2013

    Having habitats and species in a favourable conservation status in the highly fragmented region of Flanders is a huge challenge. In this video, the Flemish Agency of Nature and Forests presents its efforts in managing the habitats and species of the Hoge Kempen National Park, in eastern Belgium.

  • Hoge Kempen National Park, Belgium

    Belgian Member runs for European Landscape Award 2013

    06.12.2012

    Last week, the Flemish Minister for Heritage Geert Bourgeois announced the Hoge Kempen National Park – a project of IUCN Member, the “Regionaal Landschap Kempen en Maasland” (RLKM) – to become the Belgian candidate for the European Landscape Award in 2013.  

  • A green future and benefits for all: conference in belgium

    29.11.2010

    The Directorate General for Environment of the Federal Public Service for the Environment, in cooperation with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) will organize the conference "Closing the International Year of Biodiversity 2010: How to better communicate the value of biodiversity? – A green future and benefits for all – Biodiversity and social responsibility" on 14 December 2010 at Bois du Cazier, Belgium.

  • Anne Franklin

    Biodiversity and the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences

    29.11.2010

    Discover the "I give life to my planet" campaign, a booklet with 336 tips for biodiversity, and a host of resources from the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, where CEC member Anne Franklin is CBD focal point.

  • Building on long standing foundations: Strategic Partnership Agreement signed between IUCN and Belgium

    24.02.2009

    The European Parliament witnessed the signing of a Strategic Partnership Agreement between the Belgian Federal Ministry for Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment and IUCN Regional Office for Pan-Europe upon the occasion of the event on the European Biodiversity Action Plan co-organized by Countdown 2010 and the EP Intergroup on Sustainable Development .

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