RESTAURATION OF CALCAREOUS GRASSLAND
This site was part of a quarry operated by Carmeuse until the end of the 80s. After the depletion of the deposit, the mining activity having disappeared, pioneer vegetation invaded the site and its surroundings.
In the course of the 2000s, the Carmeuse biodiversity expert realized the potential value of the slope of the site that is exposed south and set up a major project for the restoration of the calcareous grassland. The work consisted in cutting down and disposing of any woody vegetation that had recolonized the grassland over time and that could ultimately make it disappear completely. Disposing of woody residues allowed avoiding an excess of organic matter and preserving the typical characteristics of these warm and dry habitats.
This intervention also helped put the soil into light. A specific flora and fauna recolonized the area. To date the site houses a wide variety of butterflies, crickets and grasshoppers, the harvest mouse and different species of orchids, including a dozen beautiful himentoglossun hircinum.
The restoration of this part of the site is closely followed by naturalists Carmeuse is working in partnership with. Mowing is planned every two years and the product is carefully exported outside the restored perimeter to avoid soil enrichment.
Eventually, Carmeuse plans to replace the mechanical maintenance (biennial mowing) of the grassland with grazing Soay sheep (Carmeuse already has a growing herd in another one of its quarries), which will perform this task perfectly without any human intervention.