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52% of Luxembourg landscapes are protected

In 2021, no less than 52% of the national territory was made up of protected areas. Luxembourg is even European champion in this area.

Natura 2000 areas

Laura Banner

In 2021, no less than 52% of the national territory was made up of protected areas. Luxembourg is even European champion in this area.

Luxembourg values ​​its landscapes. And this, more than any country in the European Union, according to Eurostat statistics. Spread over its entire territory, the Old Continent has no less than 27,000 Natura 2000 areas. These sites, whether terrestrial or marine, together make up the largest coordinated network of protected areas in the world, just that. .

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Covering an area of ​​1.1 million km² where nature is queen and biodiversity is sacred, these areas are however far from being equitably distributed between the Member States. Thus, if this impressive perimeter represents 26% of the total area of ​​the EU, Luxembourg has, for its part, the highest share of protected land, representing 52% of its territory.

With such a performance, the Grand Duchy easily places itself at the head of the most active EU countries in this area, Bulgaria and Slovenia, which complete the podium, each with a protection rate of their territory of 41 %. Luxembourg is also well ahead of its neighbours. The second country of the Greater Region, Germany, ranks 8th with 37.2% of protected area, followed by France, 13th, and its 27.6%. Belgium brings up the rear, far behind, 24th, with 14.6% of Natura 2000 areas.

Diversified landscapes

Just behind Belgium, three countries are particularly lagging behind. Thus, Sweden (13.9%), Ireland (14.1%) and Finland (13.2%) complete the ranking. Statistics that may seem surprising, given the image of these three countries, resolutely known for their large natural spaces.

In Luxembourg, these 52% of protected areas are divided into 67 Natura 2000 areas. In detail, 18 of them are “bird” sites, special species protection areas, while the remaining 48 are ” habitats’, nature conservation areas. From the upper valley of the Alzette to the limestone lawns of the Junglinster region, passing through the old mines and quarries located to the south-east of Differdange, the diversity of the protected landscapes is significant.

The latest zone was inaugurated on May 19. Located in Mertzig, the site of the forest massif and mardelles du Säitert covers an area of ​​45 hectares and will soon include an educational and inclusive trail. The objective: to introduce visitors to the natural riches of the forest. Rich in particularly old trees, and dotted with stagnant water called “mardelles”, this massif contains three forest habitats protected at European level, where several rare or threatened species have taken up residence. Among them, we find in particular the crested newt and two species of bats, the Bechstein’s bat and the Great bat.

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Very concretely, once designated, a Natura 2000 area benefits from measures aimed at promoting the maintenance of the biodiversity that composes it, while taking into account ecological, economic or even regional requirements. The long-term objective being the protection and conservation of “Europe’s most precious and threatened species and habitats”, and “guarantee the preservation of ecosystems for future generations”, explains the Ministry of the Environment. .

Thus, the forest massif and mardelles du Säitert will be the subject of various management measures, already applied within it, aimed at preserving the quality of the site. Improvement of the forest structure, designation of aging island and biotope trees, or even development of the forest edges, everything is thought out to protect the area. Far from being put under a bell, the place is on the contrary open to visitors, recalls the Ministry of the Environment.

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