This article was written in cooperation with Margot Leemans and Alec van Havre.
How to unlock the natural potential of the area
Fern growing in a wet forest (top left), purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) occurs in wet grasslands and fens (top right) and a field on Alan’s land (bottom). Photo credit: Valérie Vandenabeele
When Alan took over the management, he started to take care of the overdue management of the forests. The pine trees were cleared out to allow more light to pierce through to the bottom, providing light for low shrubs and plants to grow. The heather that disappeared started forming a new purple carpet under the trees. There was also a natural regeneration of the oak-birch forest.
Step by step, Alan transformed the uniform pine tree forests into a heterogenous complex of pines and indigenous hardwoods. With is work, he transformed the former poplar forests lower in the valley into alder and willow forests.
Pine trees on land dunes. (left) Creating open spaces in the pine forest. (right) Photo credit: Valérie Vandenabeele.
Alan checking a heather plant. Photo credit: Valérie Vandenabeele.
Good quality compost from grassland waste. Photo credit: Valérie Vandenabeele
The Contact Point for Private Management – Nature and Forest (APB-NB) was established in 2014 as an umbrella
organization of the Flemish Forest Groups and the Flemish Landowners Organisation. The purpose of the APB-NB
is to take the role of focal point for private managers willing to contribute to European nature objectives. The APBNB
provides two-way information between the government and individual private site managers. The APB-NB
provides a customized service for the individual private site manager. The APB-NB is also responsible for policy
development, advice, communication, research, guidance and information.