Protecting the environment is one of Candriam Institute for Sustainable Development’s four essential pillars. In the context of the climate emergency and the rapidly increasing risks caused by biodiversity loss, we chose to target our latest actions specifically at maintaining and restoring natural habitats. We have identified three initiatives led by nature specialists, anchored in our surroundings, because we believe in the power of each small and concrete step. On the World Environment Day we are happy to introduce them to you!
Restoring the hydro-ecological functions of the Retz Forest in France
The Forest of Retz is one of the largest forests in France, covering some 13,000 hectares in the Department of Aisne, less than 100 km northeast of Paris. Over the past centuries, more than 70 ponds were formed naturally or artificially to water animals such as game, horses and dogs. The forest is certified “forêt d’exception” for its beech grove - among the largest in France -, its plants, insects and amphibians of heritage interest, which are threatened of extinction.
Maintaining and restoring the forest will allow to secure the ponds which otherwise would disappear, endangering the balance of the environment. Over the long-term, we expect to maintain the functionality of wetlands and thereby the ecosystem balance, preserve species and habitats, and improve habitat patterns.
We selected this project led by the endowment fund ONF-Agir pour la Forêt.
Taking care of our planet and shaping a better future for the next generations are initiatives we can only support, so we decided to join!
Nature conservation: Zwarte Beek in Belgium
The Zwarte Beek is one of the last remaining peat bogs in Flanders, shelter to a great variety of vegetation, including dry and wet heath, dunes, marsh vegetation, meadows, forests… Rare species live there, like European cranes and wolves. Unfortunately, desiccation, fragmentation and disturbance are threatening its balance, resulting in CO2 and nutrients stored in peats being released into the environment. If not maintained, rare peatlands degrade into overgrown vegetation with a loss of biodiversity.
This second project consists in facilitating the purchase of extra land in Lummen territory, restoring the peat area and water balance by stopping drainage in the infiltration areas.
Thanks to this, the area will be able to hold large quantities of water (up to 2,000,000m3), retain CO2, restore the sponge effect of the stream valley, which will result in growth of the peatland.
Our partner, Natuurpunt, is a civil society organization that stands up for nature and biodiversity and for the right of all people to this in their environment, with a focus on the Flemish region.
Extending and maintaining a nature reserve network: « Marais en Lorraine » in Belgium
It is in the Lorraine area that Natagora started its vast protection projects more than fifty years ago. Since then, 5,800ha have become “natural reserves” across Wallonia, including close to 1,000ha in Lorraine. The status of “Natural reserve” is the strongest existing legal status to protect an area, meaning that its protection is the priority, before any other usage – agriculture, hunting, fishing, leisure…. Natural reserves are key to protecting specialist species that depend on very peculiar ecological conditions and cannot propagate easily. Some species only survive in such protected areas.
The projects aim to redeploy biodiversity, in balance with human activity, through extending the nature reserve network and supporting its maintenance. As a result, rare plants such as the sundew, marsh epipactis or bladderwort, as well as butterflies, dragonflies and reptiles, find refuge there.