The main focus of this excursion is to show participants examples and results of national and regional collaboration in defragmentation of valuable natural areas in the province of Noord-Brabant. During this excursions an overview is presented of the Dutch National Defragmentation Program (MJPO) in this area. The locations that will be visited show the important cohesion of this program with regional and local initiatives. We will visit green bridge “Leenderbos” (across provincial highway N396) and green bridge “Groote Heide” (across national motorway A2) just south of Eindhoven. The managers of the regional nature reserve authority - Brabants Landschap - will show how these wildlife crossing structures fit in the regional ecological network. Both green bridges were built in 2013. During the visit you will see how the vegetation developed on top of the crossing structures, how the green parts of the structures are maintained and how the bridges are used by animals the first five years after construction.

Combined with a lunch, you will be informed about the re-introduction of red deer in nature reserve “De Scheeken / Het Groene Woud”, which is located between the towns of Liempde and Best, just north of Eindhoven. The re-introduction program started in 2016 and is a project of Brabants Landschap, together with the NGO ARK Nature Development. What obstacles have been encountered during the re-introduction and how are the red deer doing in their new habitat? What are the experiences and the developments of the first years of red deer in this area? In the area where red deer has been re-introduced, wildlife passages play an important role. We will pay a short visit to small tunnels for amphibians, tunnels for small mammals underneath the railroad, and some other specific measures related to the re-introduction programme. Not all these measures have been effective; during the visit we will discuss strong and weak points of the measures taken.

In the area two green bridges have been planned, as part of MJPO. The first – green bridge “Het Groene Woud” – has been constructed in 2005 and connects the natural areas across motorway A2. The second – green bridge “De Mortelen” – is currently being constructed across the 4-track railway line between the cities of Eindhoven and ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Due to the rutting season we are not allowed to visit overpass “Het Groene Woud”, but we will visit the construction site of the “De Mortelen”. There you will be provided with information on the construction of this overpass, including details on the planning of the project, engineering challenges when designing wildlife overpasses across railway lines, mitigation measures for wildlife during the construction phase, the way Brabants Landschap - owner and manager of the natural areas around the railroad - is involved in this project and how people who live next to the construction site are involved.

Time of departure:    9:00

Time of return:          17:45

Duration:                    8:45 h

Transportation by:     bus, foot

Capacity:                     50

Key words:                  green bridge, design & construct, red deer

Organization:              ProRail, in collaboration with the National Road Administration,

                                     Brabants Landschap and the MJPO.