Les Hautes Fagnes
Les Hautes Fagnes Ramsar Site is the largest peatland in Belgium and includes around 125 hectares of active raised sphagnum bogs of great ecological interest. The diverse peat habitats host particularly rare species of flora and fauna. The Site is the last refuge for the black grouse Tetrao tetrix in Belgium and plays an important role in the conservation of protected species of insects and birds; a significant number of threatened birds use the site for nesting (including the northern shrike Lanius excubitor and the ring ouzel Turdus torquatus) or as a wintering ground during migration (including the common crane Grus grus and the Western marsh harrier Circus aeruginosus). Threats to the ecological character of the Site include industrial atmospheric pollution, groundwater contamination by the salt spread on the roads during winter and drainage for the plantation of resinous trees. The “Haute Fagnes” LIFE-Nature project has led to important restoration measures on 2,800 ha of peatlands, and consequently an increase in the number of nesting couples of diverse species including the Eurasian hobby and the little ringed plover. A large network of educational activities and scientific research was established around the Site. The Management Plan is currently being revised.