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With over 100.000 members and 6.000 volunteers, Natuurpunt is the largest Belgian nature conservation organization. The long term protection of important habitats, species and landscapes is the main goal. To achieve this, we buy and manage nature reserves, study species and habitats, raise awareness and run educational programs for a general and specific public and lobby local and regional governments.
For the achievement of reserves two important guidelines are followed. The slogan of Natuurpunt -Nature for everybody – is put into practice by starting up small educational nature reserves in a large number of villages. Furthermore Natuurpunt is managing sites with a high biodiversity or special importance, in particular Natura 2000 sites designated for the EU Bird- and Habitat Directive. Natuurpunt is managing parts of 20 of the 23 SPAs in Flanders. In addition, a large proportion of the area managed by Natuurpunt is assigned as Site of Community Interest (SCI) under the EU-Habitat Directive.
Buying land is in the long term the best method to maintain the natural values in the intensively used Flemish landscape. Land prices are very high and thus acquiring land is only possible thanks to the generous support of the Flemish government. For an area designated as Special Protection Area up to 90% of the necessary budget is subsidised.
Natuurpunt has about 500 reserve projects with a surface of 22.500 ha (1.1.2017).
Every nature reserve managed by Natuurpunt has a reserve manager working on a voluntary base. Large scale activities as mowing of meadows, building hides is mainly done by one of the 19 professional teams. Most other activities are undertaken by several thousand volunteers.
Natuurpunt runs 14 visitor centres near important nature reserves. Most nature reserves are open to the public and all have free entrance.
Natuurpunt has about 200 local branches which run thousands of activities such as guiding in nature reserves, biking, exhibitions and lectures. Volunteers are also lobbying local authorities and monitoring species and habitats. Natuurpunt has more than 125 local and regional working groups on forests, policy, nature reserves and nature study.
Natuurpunt has a policy department which brings nature topics onto the political agenda. Specific attention is given to effects of manure on the landscape, structural planning, dune and water management, forest management and protection of international important areas.
The main sources of income for Natuurpunt are subsidies for management and acquisition of nature reserves from the Flemish government, EU-Life funding and provinces. Other funds are collected from sponsorship and membership fees. More than 60% of the budget is spent on the management of nature reserves and 30% on communication with members and volunteers.
Natuurpunt is the Flemish branch of Eurosite and BirdLife Belgium which is the Belgian Partner of BirdLife International. We work closely with our partner Natagora in Wallonia.
source of the text: https://www.natuurpunt.be/pagina/natuurpunt-english
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