Nature reserve Duling
The Duling (5.5 acres), founded in 1993 as a Flemish nature reserve, joins up with by the Hallerbos to the south. It consists of marshy meadows and wet alder and ash forests in the valley of the Rilroheidebeek.
Like the other streams, the Rilroheidebeek has a beautifully developed structure with many twists and a great descent. This natural structural diversity is very rare in Flanders. The area, like the Hallerbos, is listed as a European Habitats Directive area. This protection should ensure that the existing habitats and rare species such as Bullhead remain. Typical for these spring streams is their high calcium content (officially the habitat is called ‘Petrifying springs with tufa formation’).
Where lime and alkaline rainwater comes to the surface, species such as Great Horsetail and Greater Tussock Sedge grow. Where the calcareous water comes in contact with stagnant rainfall that is more acid, ideal habitats arise for Common spotted orchid and Bogbean Marsh. Hawk’s-beard and Cambridge Milk-Parsley benefit from the damp soil in swampy grasslands and forest edges. In spring sunlight reaches the forest floor so the beautiful spring flowers are given every opportunity to thrive.
The Rilroheidebeek is remarkably rich in larvae of caddis flies and stoneflies. It hosts, along with the other spring streams of Hallerbos, three very rare species of fish: the bullhead, brook lamprey and brook trout. It is unique in Flanders for these species to appear together.
The management of the reserve is aimed at restoring the species of the former hayfields and coppice forests. Many species declined when the former administration fell away. The coppice is now cut again and the hayfields are mowed twice annually. As a result, the Common spotted orchid has increased in number.
The poplar plantations were partly transformed into native deciduous forest by preserving the already present Common ash, Oak, Hazel and Hawthorn. Along the Rilroheidebeek , at the Duling, a mixture of open and closed vegetation is maintained because the fish benefit from a variety of sunny and shady spots in the stream.
Because of the limited space, the entire area is designated as a non-disturbance area and is not suitable for walking in freely. A guided tour can be requested.
Het Agentschap voor Natuur en Bos wil deze grote brok open ruimte met zijn hoge natuurwaarde door natuurontwikkeling verder uitbouwen tot een grote eenheid natuur in de natte sfeer, met afwisselend schrale graslanden, heidegebieden, venige broekbossen en eiken-berkenbossen.
The Agency for Nature and Forest wants to expand this big area of open space with its high ecological value by natural development, to a great unity of nature in the wet lands, alternating with arid grasslands, heathlands, peaty marsh forests and oak-birch forests.