© E. Sergysels
Erected at the corner of Avenue Astrid and Avenue des Frondaisons, behind a clump of beautiful poplars, the Pavillon des Eaux et Forêts (architect Henry Profiter), comprised three large divisions: the official participation of the Ministry of Agriculture, Hunting and Fishing. The Pavilion was built entirely of Belgian wood: the exterior facades were made of elm "bastaings", the roof of split larch shingles, the panelling and the ceilings of spruce, plane tree, ash and francpicard.
In the foreground, a rotunda 11 metres in diameter housed a series of aquariums populated by the collections of Belgian fish farmers. This exhibition extended along the entrance hall. Ingeniously illuminated, it allowed the various species of the country's aquatic fauna to evolve freely.
Stands were devoted to fishing gear, equipment and breeding material.
From this hallway, a large bay gave access to the Hunting Hall where, under glass cases, the renowned products of the national armoury were displayed. The room was decorated all around with hunting trophies and was completed by a diorama showing "The Duck Hunt" by the painter De Kat.
Thanks to the cooperation of the hunters, the most beautiful pieces of hunting pictures were brought together here. In the category of "Brocades", two of the exhibits represented records for Belgium: the one for height with 32 cm. 1/2, and the one for strangeness with a 14-pointed one.
These splendid trophies testify to the results obtained thanks to the rational measures adopted by the masters of Vénerie. We now shoot with bullets; on the other hand, the improvement of food in all its forms, the regeneration of game by the introduction of new blood, the constitution of large reserves, have considerably enriched our game stock.
Entomology, grains, mushrooms, etc., were also represented in this room.
A low passageway separated it from the one reserved for the participation of the Ministry of Agriculture. At the intersection of the two wings, the reconstruction of a corner of the Ardennes forest, with its particular fauna and flora, showed the visitor most of our game animals, as well as their most dangerous enemies. The animals were classified under three headings:
1) the Belgian forest fauna: stag, wild boar, wild boar, pheasant, rabbit, partridge, woodcock, roe deer, capercaillie, hare, ermine, polecat, ferret, badger, fox, blackbird, black-headed warbler, greenfinch
2) Enemies of game: otter, hobo, long-eared owl, owl, roe deer, falcon, merlin, cuckoo, grey hawk, common buzzard, common kestrel, peregrine falcon, common sparrowhawk, wildcat, weasel, marten, polecat, badger, fox, weasel, squirrel, magpie, jay;
3) the enemies of fish: grey heron, white stork, otter, kite, oystercatcher, coot, crane, moorhen, avocet, polecat, kingfisher, redshank, spotted redshank, redshank, henbane, common buzzard, common crow, marsh buzzard, cormorant, red kite, bittern, red godwit, black-headed gull, water blackbird.
Charts indicated the forest wealth of each province; specimens of our various wood species, suggestive documentation on the fight against tree diseases, and a series of display cases devoted to insect pests made this pavilion a particularly instructive centre.
The most recent forestry statistics, those of 1930, indicate that our forests have a total surface area of 21,000 hectares, of which 39,380 hectares are full deciduous forest, including the Soignes forest and those of the Ardennes; 82,410 hectares of coppice under forest; 99,420 hectares of coniferous forest, scattered in clumps of varying size from the Dunes to the top of the Hautes-Fagnes; 590 hectares of seedlings and deciduous plants; 39,200 hectares of simple coppice situated in the Basses et Moyennes Ardennes.
Without including the massifs of the annexed country, the area under coniferous trees increased by some 20,000 hectares between 1910 and 1930; it had increased from 30,130 hectares in 1895 to 55,490 hectares in 1910.
The Ministry of Agriculture has, since 1885, afforested large tracts of uncultivated land abandoned by users, enlarged the forest area, and enriched the forest by increasing the number and size of trees.
The Administration of Water and Forests has created 13 forestry inspectorates sharing 46 cantonnements, divided into a varied number of brigades, each comprising several triages.
The total number of forestry officers is approximately 750. These jobs are given to those who have obtained a certificate of competence in forestry. Inspectors, deputy directors and general guards must hold a diploma in agricultural or agronomic engineering issued by the Institutes of Gembloux, Leuven and Ghent.
This Administration is also responsible for the general management of hunting and river affairs, and for the supervision of fishing. It has often already provided for the stocking of young fish in the rivers. It has also organised a consultancy service for private individuals in all matters relating to forestry, as well as a special service for scientific experiments in forestry.
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The Water and Forest Pavilion was inaugurated on 23 May by Mr. De Schrijver, Minister of Agriculture, who was received by Mr. Charles Terlinden, president of the group.
In response to his welcome address, the Minister expressed his admiration for the magnificent ensemble created in this Pavilion, which gave a complete overview of the fauna of our forests and plains, in a very appropriate setting.
© Le Livre d'Or de l'Exposition Universelle de Bruxelles 1935