|Protected Areas in Belgium
Nature conservation policy, including the establishment and management of protected areas, lies with the legal competence of the three regions of Belgium (Brussels Capital Region, Flanders and Wallonia). Different policy approaches therefore govern issues relating to nature protection according to the responsible authority, and as a consequence, various different categories of protected areas can be found in Belgium.
However, the 1973 Law on Nature Conservation provides for the establishment of three main types of protected areas:
*Nature Reserves: at present there are 97 state-owned Nature Reserves in Belgium. The law also provides for "authorised nature reserves" (at present 263), privately-owned and managed, which may be eligible for government subsidies towards administration and management.
*Forest Reserves: forests, or parts of forests, protected for their distinctive or important indigenous tree species; at present there are 3 state-owned Forest Reserves.
*Nature Parks: areas governed by special arrangements designed to conserve the environment, the indigenous flora and fauna, the air, water and soil. The law makes a distinction between national nature parks and regional nature parks. At present there are 2 Nature Parks.
Sources: UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre