BirdLife partnership brings nature back to quarries

When restored and maintained correctly, quarries are important sites full of biodiversity, and often home to many rare and threatened species. Through active restoration work, quarries become a mosaic of different habitats, benefiting both people and nature.

That’s why Sibelco has now entered a partnership with BirdLife, an organization that works towards the conservation of wild birds, their habitats and global biodiversity. Businesses can play a critical role in helping to protect and restore nature, and in fighting the climate crisis. As part of the BirdLife strategy on biodiversity, new collaborations with the private sector are fundamental to bring about transformative change.  


Martin Harper, the Director of BirdLife Europe and Central Asia explains further: “
The nature and climate emergency demands action by all of us. This is why we are delighted to support those in the private sector who are keen to deliver a nature positive and net zero future. Building on our experience of working with other companies, we are delighted to be forging a new partnership with Sibelco to help them achieve their ambitions biodiversity goals and make a tangible contribution to the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration

Biodiversity is a key priority for Sibelco.  This new collaboration brings our two organisations together to form a long-term and mutually beneficial global partnership that will reinforce the importance of biodiversity within the company and promote the development and restoration of key habitats.

Cathy Blervacq

Sibelco’s VP Sustainability

 As part of Sibelco’s 150
anniversary, Sibelco has also established a management agreement with Natuurpunt, BirdLife’s Belgian Partner in Flanders, for a portion of the Schansheide quarry in Dessel-Mol, in northern Belgium. The size of 48 football fields, the 35 hectare site comprises a combination of heathland, grassland, deciduous and coniferous forest, wetland and mudflats. The site will undergo further restoration and become a nature reserve. 

Stock images - Contact Amanda Roberts

The return of non-saleable sand and loam fractions via pipes from Sibelco's sand processing factory constantly creates new mudflats. In springtime, these become breeding grounds for Common Shelducks (Tadorna tadorna), Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius) as well as Northern Lapwings (Vanellus vanellus) which are currently in decline. Other migrating waders such as stilts, dunlins, and sandpipers will benefit from this location as a stop-over and feeding site.  

Stock images - Contact Amanda Roberts

In summer, the mudflats are the favourite resting place for Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) and Great White Egrets (Ardea alba).  During the winter period, the mudflats are visited by birds from the north. Greylag Geese (Anser anser) and Tundra Bean Geese (Anser serrirostris) use the mudflats as a place to sleep. Ducks and grebes will also visit the sites.  

Through the process of restoration and habitat creation we can often reverse the population decline of threatened species while keeping common species common. Sibelco is excited to embark on this journey with BirdLife to deliver impactful benefits for nature, together.  


BirdLife International is the Secretariat to the BirdLife International Partnership, which is a global Partnership of autonomous, national non-governmental conservation organisations, with a large grassroots membership, in more than 118 countries and territories. BirdLife works together as a Partnership to conserve wild birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, by working with people towards sustainability in the use of natural resources. BirdLife is the global authority on the status of bird species, has unparalleled technical expertise in bird and biodiversity assessment, and provides a global outreach through its national Partners and decentralised Secretariat with Regional Offices in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, the Pacific and the Americas.   


Stichting BirdLife Europe is the registered organisation operating as the European and Central Asian Division of BirdLife International and is one of the six BirdLife regional offices around the world. It is composed of an international team of permanent staff working on conservation, capacity building, policy, management, finance, fundraising, advocacy, science, communication, marketing and administration. Stichting BirdLife Europe supports the European and Central Asia Partnership of BirdLife International, which consists of 45 independent, grassroots Civil Society Organisations, governed by a democratic Working Programme.  

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