In the Netherlands, SUPERB will support a wide transformation by enabling nature to thrive once again in a mosaic of forested and agricultural lands in the country’s southernmost province of Limburg (municipality of Horst aan de Maas). In addition, we will monitor the soil conditions, tree vitality and biodiversity in recently restored Scots pine forests and in young forest on former agricultural lands in the province of North Brabant (municipality of Maashorst) and in the region of Kempen, on the border with Belgium.
About the demo
Although the sandy soils in the southeast of the Netherlands were once covered with extensive forests, nowadays the forests are small, young and part of an intensively used agricultural landscape. Decades of forest management in homogenous Pine stands aimed at production, changes to hydrological systems, and agricultural intensification led to soil degradation and acidification, depriving forests of their natural support systems.
Current challenges, especially climate change and biodiversity loss, demonstrate the need for a better-balanced use of the available land. The Dutch National Forest Strategy recognises these issues and aims to revitalise existing forests while planting another 37.000 ha of new forests. SUPERB will support this process, focusing on rehabilitation methods that address both revitalisation and the development of new forests such as regulating nutrient and water availability.
Promoting natural regeneration
Split into several sites
Type of restoration:
Restoration of fragmented old scots pine plantations to more diverse systems.
How the demo is now:
Surrounded by intensively used agricultural lands and heathlands, the demo area in the Netherlands is currently vegetated with Scots pine plantations planted around the 1900s and harvested since ca. 1930. The forests are partly degraded and partly recently restored, depending on the sites. The land belongs to the municipalities of Maashorst and Horst aan de Maas, nature conservation organisations, state forest services and private owners with both large and small properties.
In 2030, our forests’ vitality will be improved, reflected in reduced tree mortality, increased growth of species, better forest structure (including more dead wood) and enhanced biodiversity. In 2050, the presence of late-successional species such as Tilia cordata will have increased substantially, positively impacting forest ecosystems both above and below the ground. Our local communities (e.g. Horst and Oss) will benefit from enhanced economic activity in the recreational sector and wood production as well as a more pleasant living environment. On a regional scale, water boards will benefit from improved hydrological conditions, while society as a whole will benefit from the improved water supply in dry periods, as well as reduced downstream flooding in case of heavy precipitation.
Restoration upscaling potential (within and beyond SUPERB)
Dutch forest policy aims at rehabilitation of at least 250.000 ha of forests on sandy soils and additional afforestation on 37.000 ha.
SUPERB researchers Niels Strange from University of Copenhagen and Joseph William Bull from Kent University have recently contributed to the “Correspondence” section in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, elaborating…
The ThinkForest science-policy event organised within the #EUGreenWeek on 30 May in Sibiu, Romania, focused on forest biodiversity and forest restoration while marking the official launch of SUPERB. SUPERB, Europe’s…