Project Life  in Quarries

The project

More than any other industry, the quarries maintain a close relationship with the ecosystems and the environment. Even though the exploitation of a quarry may inevitably trigger a significant disturbance in the topography and ground coverage, it enables the creation of suitable habitats. These habitats are have become very rare in Belgium following the artificialisation and normalisation of landscapes: cliffs and rock or sand arenas, screes, bodies of water, chalk grassland or lean meadows, etc.

This reality gave birth to the Life in Quarries project. The aim of this project is the development and continuation of this biodiversity potential in various working extraction sites in Belgium. Aware of the importance and of the challenges of biodiversity protection, the 3 CUP sites joined this project co-financed by the European Union, the Wallonia Region, the “secteur carrier” and several scientific partners.

Various biological inventories carried out by specialists confirmed that our working sites are suitable environments for the installation and development of certain high biological value animal and plant species: the pioneer species.

Actions plans were further implemented to enable the preservation and development of these habitats. This first step was the “test” phase, the basis for more efficient actions before building management plans and the realisation of our commitments in the long run.

Here are a few flagship actions carried out at our sites

During the inventories, one of our sites was identified as offering a great habitat potential for the crested newt, which still has not been (re)colonised. The lack of this species is probably due to the too long distances and too great obstacles between the source populations.

The reintroduction of specimens must be done using eggs from a neighbour population within a 15 km radius and in the same biogeographic region.

A network of ponds offering the crested newt’s ecologic living criteria has been set up. They are currently being planted, which will enable the reintroduced specimens to develop.

Another example: the development of old lime kilns for bats

Our old lime kilns turned out to constitute habitat potential for the bats during nesting or reproduction season. Various species were actually observed on more than one occasion. The Life project team’s objective was thus to secure these habitats and create a summer shelter or hibernating site for the bats.

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