Ecoregions of Belgium

July 5, 2012, 8:04 am
Content Cover Image

Source: NASA

Belgium has two ecoregions:

Atlantic mixed forests

The Atlantic mixed forests ecoregion includes coastal vegetation formations of dunes and heathlands with vegetation that thrives in salty soil. Sand dune systems occur along the southwestern coast of France, the region known as Les Landes, covered by both natural and planted forests of maritime pine (Pinus pinaster). They are rich in plant life, and home to a number of endemics. Bird diversity is particularly high--over 440 species have been recorded in the Netherlands alone. Most of the ecoregion’s mammals are widespread in other parts of Europe. Several are listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources Red List, including otter, European mink, and several species of bat. Only fragments of natural vegetation remain in this ecoregion, as most of the area was converted long ago into intensive agriculture or pasture.

Western European broadleaf forests

The south is included within the Western European broadleaf forests ecoregion. This region includes the middle of France, extending into Germany.   Warm, moist air from the Atlantic Ocean dominates this inland ecoregion. Small mountains (no higher than 5,000 feet [1,500 m]), hills, and valleys are found throughout the area. Yearly temperatures are steady, precipitation is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year, and frosts occur for one to three months.  This ecoregion maintains healthy bird populations, but most of the larger mammals are in decline and have been extirpated from many areas.  Throughout this ecoregion, the landscape is dominated by urbanization and agriculture, including vineyards and other monocultural plantings. Most streams have been altered for use in irrigation, and many valleys are flooded by dams constructed for increasing power and water supplies.

Context

Ecoregions are areas that:

[1] share a large majority of their species and ecological dynamics;
[2] share similar environmental conditions; and,
[3] interact ecologically in ways that are critical for their long-term persistence.

Glossary

Citation

Fund, W. (2012). Ecoregions of Belgium. Retrieved from http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/51cbf38d7896bb431f6ad5ac