Ramskapelle Demonstration Site (Belgium)The Ramskapelle demonstration site is situated in the north of the province West Flanders. It is a flat and open landscape with few hedges, some reed strips along ditches and small and larger watercourses.
Description of the demosite
The area is 499 hectares with a total of 28 farmers. Eleven farmsteads are located in the area. There are already a lot of agri-environmental schemes in place: bird seed mixes and grass margins provide some winter and summer food and breeding habitat for farmland birds. Common crops are cereals (winter wheat), sugar beet, potatoes and flax. Mostly arable farms, some are mixed and a few have livestock, pigs and one poultry farm.
PARTRIDGE objectives in the demosite
In the PARTRIDGE project we are working to provide more high quality habitat for partridge and other farmland birds. We aim at minimum 7% high quality habitat at the demosite. The focus is on improved flower mixes managed to ensure food, shelter and nesting habitat throughout the year. Besides this flower blocks we are also implementing beetle banks and patches of shrubs as a grey partridge measure as well as optimizing the use of winter feeders in the demo area. At the same time we aim to improve the quality of the existing environmental schemes.
To do this, farmers and farmer-hunters are cooperating in a farmer cluster group dealing with the aspect of terrain management. This farmer cluster group is actively involved in the project, discusses habitat and wildlife management on the terrain and proposes and implements new solutions to benefit grey partridges and other farmland wildlife.
The recovery of farmland bird numbers, game species and some ecosystem services are followed closely by standardized monitoring protocols.
Habitat measures – status 2020
Since 2019 nearly 15% of arable land In the demonstration site Ramskapelle is enhanced with high-quality wildlife friendly habitats. This is a mix of existing AES measures and innovative PARTRIDGE measures. In 2020 all previously implemented measures are maintained. · PARTRIDGE seed mix: 19,88 ha. Providing winter feeding, summer feeding as well as nesting habitat. The mix consists of buckwheat, flax, alfalfa, sunflower, oats, fodder radish, rye, chicory, cabbage, sweet clover, triticale, and teasel. Every year, 50% is mown and 50% is re-seeded. These multi-annual flower blocks offer everything a partridge needs.
- Cut grass margins: 1,14 ha . Grass margins cut after 15 June
- Floristically enhanced grass margins: 4 ha. Grass strip consisting of a grass / flower mixture that is mown after 15 July.
- Uncut grass margins: 45 ha. The strip is partly cut after 15 August. The uncut part provides coverage in the winter.
- Unharvested cereals: 4,72 ha. Cereals that are not harvested, but remain until 31 March as winter food for the farmland birds.
- Meadowbird measurements: 3,8 ha. Pasture with late mowing date so that chicks can fledge undisturbed
- Beetle bank: 0,15 ha. A bank planted with tussocky grasses to provide overwintering habitat for predatory ground beetles, other insects and spiders as food for the chicks (and source of pest control for farmers) and as nesting habitat for partridges
- Winter stubbles: 2 ha. After harvesting of grains in summer, stubbles remain on the field throughout winter, mainly offering cover.
The total area of high-quality habitat is realized by 12 out of the 28 active farmers in the demosite area. The hunting groups (6 groups) are responsible for providing extra winter food and for the predator management, which is done within the existing Flemmish legislative framework. They also play a role in providing some extra quality habitat for farmland birds and other wildlife.
Currently we are monitoring partridges, hares, songbirds and insects.
Since the start of the project we have organised 12 guided on-site farm walks explaining and showcasing our approach. So far about 200 unique individuals have visited our demonstration site.
For more information visit:
Habitat measures: Bram Conings Bram.Conings@vlm.be +3250458148
Farmer cluster group: Korneel Verslyppe Korneel.Verslyppe@agrobeheercentrum.be +32470363101
Habitat experiments and farm walks: Willem Vancolen firstname.lastname@example.org +3251273200
Winter feeding and predator control: Kathleen Vanhuyse email@example.com +3222420045
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