Biodiversity in quarries
The aim of the Life in Quarries project is to develop methods to optimise the biodiversity potential of mining sites operating in Belgium. The innovation consists in implementing biodiversity management measures during operation through “dynamic management”, but also during the rehabilitation at the end of mining activities through “permanent nature”.
The integration of biodiversity management during the operational phase of a quarry requires the development of new biodiversity development approaches and an administrative and legal management.
A network of temporary habitats is managed dynamically in time and space across the quarry in parallel with the extractive activity, ensuring a constant availability of suitable habitats for the development of biodiversity.
The dynamic management of biodiversity is intended to target several rare and protected species in Wallonia which will benefit from habitats generated by mining activities for the development. This is the case, among others, for the sand martin, lizards, wall lizards, natterjack toads or typical algae typical of poor environments such as characeae.
Since 2012, the industry, represented by Fediex and Pierres et Marbres de Wallonie, has been committed to an industry charter aiming to promote the development of biodiversity at its sites in Wallonia.
This charter, concluded initially within 3 years, has been extended to 2020 thanks to the Walloon Ministry of Nature.
The mining industry is the first sector to sign such a charter with the Region. This charter forms part of the future plan “Nature everywhere for everyone” within Wallonia.
Based on this charter, the industry agrees to undertake three key types of actions:
- Raising awareness among its members;
- Dissemination of recommendations to integrate the protection of biodiversity in business plans;
- Introduction of training for its members. This training has been organised by Fediex for three consecutive years (2013-2015) in collaboration with Pierres et Marbres de Wallonie and the Gemblous Agro-Bio Tech Biodiversity and Landscape Unit. It is part of the Faculty continuous training programme. No less than 56 people have participated to this training since its launch in 2013. Biodiversity promoters are now present by 49 sites.
With the aim of implementing concrete actions on the ground and providing technical support to quarry operators, the LIFE in Quarries project is a logical extension of this approach. The co-funding representing the object for the European Commission and the Walloon Region should allow the establishment of a sustainable biodiversity management strategy of these sites.