Eco-grazing or extensive grazing is making a strong comeback for the
management of public, private or protected areas with high ecological value.
This enthusiasm is due to its economic, social and environmental benefits. In
addition, grazing allows the management of inaccessible or impractical
environments through a mechanical management.

We talk about eco-grazing when the objective is to maintain or improve the biodiversity of
a site. To achieve this goal, several guidelines must be respected:

  • No fertilization and pesticides: Soil fertilization benefits only a small number of fastgrowing plant species. If soils are fertilized, these species will tend to “choke” the
    other plants. As regards the pesticides, they are unsurprisingly harmful to many
    plant and animal species;
  • Reduced livestock density: the grazing period, the length of time and the number of
    animals are decisive factors in ensuring the extensive nature. A precise grazing plan
    must be established according to the plant species present on the parcel;
  • Limitation of drugs: drugs given to animals are found on the ground via their
    droppings. These drugs, such as dewormers for example, can have an impact on
    wildlife in the grasslands;
  • Favoring rustic sheep breeds: These breeds are naturally more resistant to diseases
    and adapted to climatic conditions. This choice also helps to save local breeds
    abandoned by modern breeding;
  • Maintenance of refuge zones, elements of the ecological network: wherever
    possible, these restorations are coupled with other actions, such as the digging of
    permanent ponds, the installation of hedges, shelters, or scree to diversify habitats
    and create a real ecological network.

These voluntary initiatives can be supervised by Natagriwal and are subsidized the agrienvironmental program (MAEC) which consists of putting in place practices favorable
to the protection of the environment (preservation of the biodiversity, the water, the soil,
the climate), the heritage conservation (animal or plant) and the maintenance of
landscapes.

ECO-GRAZING IN THE QUARRIES

The peripheral zones of the quarry sites constitute an important opportunity for the
restoration of limestone or acid-loving grassland depending on the type of rocks
concerned. The restoration of these environments involves different types of work such as
clearing, deforestation, seeding or hay transfer and control of invasive plants (eg buddleia,
acacia, …). Then fencing allows for long-term grazing management in association with
local stakeholders. The arrival of the first sheeps (the Soay sheep, the spotted Ardennes
and Ardenne reds) in some LIFE quarries signals the culmination of this major project.