Lizards’ Lane is a narrow, roughly 22ha strip of land to be developed and managed as an ecological heathland corridor to enhance the viability of local populations of amphibians and reptiles. It is situated in the municipality of Soest, the Netherlands. The corridor consists of mixed broadleaved-coniferous forest and heathland, with 6 different landowners.
Currently, the land is managed by the owners, each of them having different management objectives. The remnant heathlands bordering the strip harbour some rare plant and animal species, some of which are Red List-ed. However the viability of these populations is at stake due to individual management regimes, fragmentation and insufficient financial means.
Landowners are committed to conservation and agreed that with the construction and focused management of an ecological heathland corridor, a migration passage for reptiles and amphibians, they could contribute to the conservation of biodiversity and enhance the viability of such populations. Additionally, such a corridor would provide them with social and economic benefits.
In this project measures for both development and land conversion coincide.
Following the conservation principles, conservation actions (measures) have been identified and combined with actions following the stakeholder consultation and SWOT analysis. They will be applied to develop and manage Lizard Lane.
The main conservation actions are (not necessarily in this order):
- Removal of all unexploded ammunition – to be executed everywhere where tree stumps and soil top layer will be removed; this is a critical success factor as it is a prerequisite for the removal of tree stumps and of the soil top layer;
- Identifying and conserving iconic trees;
- Felling of trees and tall shrubs;
- Removal of tree stumps of all exotic tree species (in particular Quercus rubra and Prunus serotina);
- Removal of the top soil layer - this layer varies in thickness between 5 and 20 cm; it is important to create some variation to enable local variation in vegetation development; where suitable, applying heathland turf to accelerate the development of heathland;
- Planting of bushes at the borders of the Lizard Lane boundaries (camouflage and from ‘U’ to ‘V’ shaped corridor) ;
- Constructing a dike at 2 locations to shield railway track and trains for which removed soil will be used;
- Construction of (ideally) 3 faunal passages; and
- Creating openings in fences to enable smaller animals to pass through.