In the All4Biodiversity programme, various parties work together to improve the quality of nature reserves in the Netherlands.
The Netherlands has many natural areas with interesting plants and animals. However, the quality of nature is under pressure now. And this will only accelerate in future due to climate change: extreme drought and higher temperatures. This applies, for example, to roadside verges alongside the highway network.
Since 1999, we have monitored plant growth changes in the Monitoring Network Roadside flora and have identified a downward trend in the number of species and flowers. Verges are often covered with grass, increasing road safety and stability, but they also offer opportunities for nature, functioning as a habitat for many species of plants, insects and small mammals.
So in the All4Biodiversity Programme Rijkswaterstaat has teamed up with Wageningen University & Research (WUR) to study various forms of mowing management. This involves assessing which measures can best capitalise on the effects of climate change, while also increasing the biodiversity of plants and insects in our roadside verges.
Important research points for future management are to find answers to the effects of a longer growing season and longer periods of drought on biodiversity and functioning of ecosystem services (with potential risks of fire hazard). The results of this study will be published in 2024, and will be used to optimise mowing policy.
With this, we can make a positive contribution to recovery of the biodiversity and also make infrastructure climate-proof, allowing for greater levels of water infiltration, erosion resistance of the soil and reduced risk of roadside fires.
A sustainable living environment
The combination of strengths and cooperation within the All4Biodiversity programme, plus the help of WUR, means that we at Rijkswaterstaat can better perform our duties as manager of a sustainable living environment in the field of climate change and biodiversity. The research provides new knowledge that can be applied to the management of roadside verges, and gives us input for further cooperation and knowledge sharing in this area.
2020 – 2026
Provincie Zuid-Holland (Dutch), Samen voor Biodiversiteit (Dutch), Provincie Friesland (Dutch), Provincie Gelderland, Provincie Noord-Brabant, Provincie Limburg, Ministry of Nature, Agriculture and Food Quality, BoerenNatuur, Natuurmonumenten (Dutch), Staatsbosbeheer (Dutch), Vogelbescherming (Dutch), Naturalis.