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Eco crossings over and under ring road paying off for wildlife

17:45 25/06/2020

The Groenendael ‘ecoduct’ introduced two years ago to help wildlife get from one part of the Sonian Forest to the other is working to plan, according to environmental organisation Natuurpunt. Not only are a diverse number of species finding their way to the green overbridge, fewer animals are getting killed on the Brussels ring road.

The ecoduct (pictured) crosses over the ring road at Groenendael, part of the municipality of Hoeilaart, on the southeast border of Brussels. It was the site of many accidents involving drivers and wildlife.

The ecoduct was a major project, involving not only the construction of the overbridge but the planting of some 10,500 trees and shrubs and the laying of 24 kilometres of eco-fencing. The fencing helps to keep animals off the R0 and guide them in the direction of the overbridge.

The eco-fencing also works to connect the ecoduct to other crossings on the R0, one of which –  a tunnel at the complex Quatre Bras interchange in Tervuren – was originally built for people but was made more nature friendly to encourage wildlife to make use of it. A third tunnel under the R0 is much smaller, consisting of a pipe big enough for small mammals to get through.

Foxes and deer benefit most

Natuurpunt has completed a study of all of the crossings that included camera footage of exactly what species are using them. They found that the ecoduct was being used by larger animals such as deer and wild boar, but also stone martens, polecats and a great number of species of mice.

Salamanders and frogs are also making their way to other parts of the Sonian Forest. The Groenendael ecoduct, in fact, is equipped with small ponds to encourage amphibians to use it.

“Foxes and deer showed up on the ecoduct camera the most,” said Natuurpunt in a statement. “We also saw stone martens and polecats, though the polecats mostly used the smaller pipe crossing. There weren’t any big surprises, but the camera at the pedestrian tunnel at Quatre Bras did show that more wild boar are coming into that area.”

Natuurpunt hopes to further defragment the Sonian Forest for the sake of the wildlife. “During our research, we paid special attention to roadkill victims,” it said. “During the entire period, we saw hardly any animals that had been killed by cars along the motorway where the eco-fencing is placed.”

Photo courtesy Steven Vanoncklelen/Twitter

Written by Lisa Bradshaw

Comments

Frank Lee

In other news, it has been confirmed that one lane will be kept on both the Rue de la Loi and the Rue Belliard, on which cars will be allowed to pass at night when all the people on bikes or on foot are gone.

Jun 26, 2020 13:05
Anon3

Now if they only start giving courses to children and adults on proper civic behaviour when in the forest. Don't toss away empty glass/plastic bottles, tins, broken glass, used food containers, soiled nappies, tissues and other papers,, etc. etc. and don't dump your rubbish on the car parks. And make sure cyclists are kept off paths clearly marked as no cyclists allowed. Cyclists in the forest behave as badly as car drivers in town. They act as though they are entitled and think they own all they see. They can make a pleasant stroll into a terrifying experience.

Jun 28, 2020 16:01