Between biodiversity, biomass and informal public spaces : which maintenance for the Likoto Spontaneous Green Network?

The Saltus Project deals with natural areas and informal public spaces growing along and near the green verges of urban and suburban great infrastructures. It focuses on the Lille Kortrijk Tournai (Likoto) Eurometropolis wich is deeply provided with such environments.
The En marge research (PIRVE 2015), based on a pluridisciplinar survey, has shown the multifunctionality of such places (at the same time biodiversity reservoirs, marginality places welcoming numerous social practices, and appreciated part of the urban landscape) as well as their connectivity. It showed that those environments constitute a potential and unplanned « spontaneous green network ».
The En Piste Research (ITTECOP 2018) has built a pluridisciplinar and unified methodology for such environments ‘survey. It has constituted a research team including naturalists, planners, engineers, natural spaces maintainers, artists and members of the local areas and infrastructures services involved. A merger with the regional network of the wood industry workers has suggested that a specific soft forestry maintenance could increase and articulate the different services brought by the spontaneous green network (biodiversity protection, soft urban mobility, green spaces, sport, wood and biomass production), although they are usually considered as antagonists.
New jobs can be created. The team has been joined by the Centre agro-paysager et forestier de Bavay, who organize school planting and gardening workshops in order to experiment different hypothesis for a multifunctional and inclusive maintenance.
Five experimental work sites have been identified, with the agreement of their owners and maintainers, in France as well as in Belgium
The methodology consists in a large pluridisciplinar initial survey of the five sites, followed by the gardening an forestry workshops testing various maintenance actions. The impact of those actions on biodiversity, social uses and wood productivity will be evaluated, in order to adapt the maintenance plan during the second year of the research. This process will be repeated during three years in order to find adapted procedures, which could be duplicated on other similar places.
Several work meetings will give its tempo to the research and will involve a large team of experts and members of the infrastructures and regional authorities concerned. The final meeting wants to be a national and cross-border event, as the birthday of the Likoto spontaneous green network, in order to stimulate similar projects in other european metropolises.
Several scientific publications are provided.

Saltus, based on a research work started since 10 years, permits to make real projects generally approved but which are still looking for concrete experimentations.