First restoration of edge
Located in an area of major importance for biodiversity called Calestienne, the high voltage line starting from the position of Couvin has an interesting configuration, allowing the establishment of lawns, open areas and interactions with forest environments by rehabilitation of edges through the various development of work safety.
In March, a corridor should be expanded to meet the emergency requirements of the implementation of network security, logging and milling was planned for about 300 m length and a width of 10 m. During the visit to set the limit, a report showed that on the 200 trees that should be cut and grind, only 15 had an immediate risk to the line, among others, 62 could eventually become dangerous, the rest was only jam blackthorn, hazel, hawthorn, ... definitely without any danger for the safety of the line. But above all, the area had great potential flora. Decision was therefore taken for a surgical work, for annealings (consist to incise the bark of a tree around its entire circumference and at twenty centimeter high to kill the tree or weakening it without having to cut it) and targeted culling. Last requirement, work must be completed by March 31. The project described below was conducted on March 30, the LIFE team had first to follow a security training ELIA March 28 and get a certification mandatory for all types of work on the outskirts of HV lines. The first phase of construction was the annealing of all trees that may become dangerous to maturity, 90 trees were ringed (34 ash trees, 29 oaks, 21 spruce, 3 birch trees, 2 hornbeams and 1 European Beech). This phase is really quiet and can be performed during all year, but only trees with thin bark, generally about 10 to 15 cm diameter. These standing dead trees will in the future host a rare and interesting wildlife, among other for examples beetles.
The second step was to work on individuals trees considered dangerous for the line (due to their height and distance from the line). These trees were systematically cut with the use of wires so that it falls in parallel to the edge, or in the interior of the forest zone, in order to keep the open area not invaded by the branches of the tree crowns. 15 trees were wired and their fall was oriented by a Tirefort ©. It is interesting to note that those dangerous slaughtered trees had ages between 45 and 55, this information will help for the planning of long term management of the area.
With the fact that the grinding wasn't use on all the area and with the upgrading of the edge, it revealed the presence of interesting species, preserved and for which the proposed management will be beneficial. It includes the February Daphne, the Wayfaring tree, the cowslip, the Common Buckthorn. A classic gyrogrinding would have killed this important biodiversity. The monitoring of spring and summer is going to give us, I am sure, very nice surprises permitted by the management of 300 m of edge during one day. I bet that future years we will prove that this type of action must be generalized to all sites.