Located on the edge of Brussels, the 4400-hectare Sonian Forest (Foret de Soignes) is an ancient, unique and highly diversified expanse of beech woodland and Natura 2000 conservation site. It includes five nature reserves, two forest reserves and two archaeological reserves. A popular destination for both visitors and local residents, it is home to populations of roe deer, red fox, pine marten, beech marten and European beaver, as well as 18 species of bat, palmate newts and an endemic ground beetle.
The Sonian Forest may be rich in wild nature, but its location in the middle of a densely populated area poses numerous conservation challenges. It also gives rewilding efforts here a unique character. With the land intersected by numerous roads and railway lines, the main issue to contend with is a phenomenon known as ecological fragmentation. MORE