Orchids transplanted for Oosterweel
Protected orchids that stood in the way of the Oosterweel connection, one of Europe’s biggest road construction sites, have been moved by biologists and replanted. They are doing even better than before.
In February biologists from Antwerp University dug out five hundred large Common Twayblade (Neottia ovate) on the left bank, to replant them a kilometre further on. It is a very delicate operation, but since the plant is protected in Belgium, unlike as in the Netherlands, it was the only option – or change the plans for the Oosterweel connection.
The biologists are quite proud. A recent count has shown that there are 865 plants in the 26 trial sections of 1 by 4 meter, of which 339 in bloom. According to researcher Steven Jacobs, the explanation is obvious: the orchids grow from rootstocks, and not every orchids comes up every year.
But one measuring session is not a reference. It is still possible for their growth and glowering to slow down year after year. “That is why we have spread the risk and will continue to monitor the plants for at least three years. In this way we also learn about the precise conditions that determine the success of a plant.”
The biologists are quite proud. The Holding Company Antwerp Mobility (Beheersmaatschappij Antwerpen Mobiel), a Flemish Government controlled body also known as BAM, finances the operation and reports “to be pleased that the great efforts to protect orchids are bearing fruits.”
Natuurpunt, an independent voluntary association that protects vulnerable and endangered nature in Flanders and that closely follows up on the Oosterweel dossier, in collaboration with BAM, is also pleased.
According to the current schedule, works on the Oosterweel will be completed by 2026.