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“One in three native plant species is declining or threatened” |  local

“One in three native plant species is declining or threatened” | local

The effects of climate change are negatively affecting local plant species. About one in three native plant species are declining or threatened with extinction, Natuurpunt reported Monday. Many species at risk are suffering from drought and heat or have disappeared locally due to heavy summer floods.

Heavy rains are expected to fall more frequently and with greater intensity in our regions due to climate change. This leads to floods, causing great damage to nature. The only place in Flanders where red grass grows under anoxic conditions has disappeared after the (abnormally nutritious) flood water supply. Several small groups of beavers have disappeared, and species such as toothwort, blue button, tormentor, dog violet, stone carnation and swamp violet have also died en masse following floods in the Dimer Valley.

More space for streams and rivers

According to Natuurpunt, to prevent often deep and prolonged summer floods, it is necessary to restore a more natural valley system with sufficient sponge action. Streams and rivers should also be given the necessary space in the future. When creating flood zones, the most vulnerable and valuable plants must be taken into account, believes Nature.

Peat retains water and can therefore help prevent flooding during periods of heavy rainfall. In addition, they form a huge carbon storage reservoir, although the peat must remain moist. According to Natuurpunt, many Flemish peat areas are currently suffering from drought.

More exotic plants

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However, the changing climate is not just creating losers. Nowadays, the list of wild plants in Belgium includes more exotic species than those found naturally in our country. A small portion of these species are invasive and threaten native plants. For example, wild rice was found last year on the banks of a branch of the Lie River near the city of Ghent. Grass species replace diverse, flowering shrubs that are important for insects. Natuurpunt says quick action is crucial.