Peri-Urban Forest Ostend – Belgium

Peri-Urban Forest Ostend – Belgium
Area characterisation: 

Biogeographic region: Atlantic

Surface area: 120 ha

Country: Belgium

Region/Province: Flanders/West Flanders

The peri-urban forest is a new afforestation in the coastal and harbour City of Ostend (Belgium). Planting started in 1996, and the aim is to develop 120 ha of multifunctional forest. Actually, the forest cover is around 90 ha. The forest is a buffer zone between the residential area, the industrial zoning, and the creek area which is of historical and ecological importance. The peri-urban forest is part of a Green Ribbon network (Groen Lint) that surrounds the city core.

The forest is located on land owned by the City of Ostend and is managed by a cooperative business “Buitengoed”. Main partners in the cooperative are an insurance company, the public managing company of the industrial zone, a trade union, and a nature conservation organisation.


The peri-urban forest Ostend in Belgium aims to provide a publicly accessible space for recreation, offering educational facilities for local residents and tourists.

Through the afforestation of previous agricultural land and being part of a Green Ribbon (Groen Lint) network surrounding the city core, the peri-urban green space further aims to enhance biodiversity and ecological connectivity.

The afforestation in the coastal and harbour city was planned as a buffer zone between industrial sites and residential areas.


PRINCIPLE UF-NbS (Urban Forests as Nature-Based Solutions) ACTION(S)

  • Forest plantations

  • Vegetable garden where members can collect vegetables and fruits
  • Children’s farm.
NbS benefits 
  • Restoring ecosystems and their functions
  • Greater ecological connectivity across urban regenerated sites
  • Improve connectivity and functionality of green and blue infrastructures
  • Increase Biodiversity
  • Increased cultural richness and biodiversity
  • Enhancing sustainable urbanisation
  • Increase accessibility to green open spaces
  • Increase amount of green open spaces for residents
  • Increase social interaction
Transferability of the result: 

This case is particularly interesting for the main actor, the Cooperative Buitengoed. This is a joint undertaking by the public management agency for the industrial site, an insurance company, a trade union, and a Nature Conservation NGO. The City is facilitating and supporting the cooperative. However, it turns out that the Cooperative business is not self-sustaining, and alternative management approaches are being developed. The case is also interesting from a tourism industry perspective. The case illustrates how a tourist city can expand its touristic offer with new urban green space.


Community Fundraising:

Citizens can support the establishment and management of the peri-urban forest through several actions

  • Becoming member-shareholder of the cooperative Buitengoed
  • Becoming annual member of the Buitengoed cooperative
  • Acting as a volunteer

Project delivered services and monies raised by project:

The peri-urban forest is focussed on delivering the ecosystem services recreation, buffering, and biodiversity. Food production is also delivered, through the urban collective vegetable garden and the income from selling meat produced by the cattle that is grazing in the nature domains in the city.

City, regional general funds

The City of Ostend has bought the land, and has lend the land.

The Flemish Region is co-funding land acquisition, tree planting, and the nature management interventions.

The public company that is managing the industrial zone in the City has contributed to the starting capital for the Cooperative Buitengoed.

Private sector investment:

Two private investors have contributed to the starting capital for the Cooperative Buitengoed.

International Funds:

Interreg IVA 2 Seas, “21st Century Parks” –

Interreg IVA 2 Seas “Urban Habitats”

NbS classification 
  • Urban forest

Guido Vandenbroucke, Director Buitengoed

Further information

The compilation of this case study description has been funded by the Horizon 2020 CLEARING HOUSE project. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 821242.

Sustainable Development Goals 
  • 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • 15. Life On Land
Key Performance Indicators: