The High Fens NP – Belgium

One of the most rare habitats in Europe and often overlooked; fens provide a rare spectacle of flora and fauna species. While most of them have been drained, in a Belgian protected reserve wooden walkways and paths traverse the many bogs and birch-dominated landscape.

Threats to the ecosystem

Despite among Europe’s rarest landscapes and Natura 2000 sites, the park management seems inadequate. I encountered areas with broken boardwalks (not on the images as access was apparently prohibited), poor signposting, and areas with erosion (due to diverted walking paths). The pressures on the ecosystem are significant. Nitrogen deposition and drainage have led to the birch forest and spread of Fallopia japonica (invasive species) and Molinia caerulea (purple moor-grass). Woodland dominated landscapes and invasive species increase the risk of fires.