Based on extensive vegetation inventories and mapping, adequate management plans were developed. In a first step railway banks with potential ecological value were identified through interpretation of aerial photographs and GIS mapping. The outcome was validated and refined by field inventories, resulting in a detailed identification of the areas of ecological interest. Management plans were developed defining the most adequate management for the ecological interest areas. The proposals for management measures were developed on the basis of: a) the interest for biodiversity conservation of the land parcels contiguous to the railways: Natura 2000 sites, nature reserves, green sites with ecological interest; b) the occurrence of some species of community or regional interest in the surroundings of the railways; c) the potential of the existing habitats on the embankments; d) the potential for synergies with habitats on contiguous sites and for the establishment/improvement of the ecological corridors function of the railways. Proposals were developed for the whole network besides specific proposals for each of the 1,700 polygons described in the database linked with the GIS mapping produced in the context of the project. The main results of the study were summarised in a brochure (in Dutch and French) specifically aimed to support IBGE for the presentation of the study to the deciders of the management body of the railways (INFRABEL).
Location: Belgium (Brussels)