An extensive area of dry and wet heathland on the Kempen plateau, encompassing ponds, marshes, inland dunes, and conifer plantations.
A breeding and staging site for woodland and heathland species.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
One of the most significant threats to the extensive heathland and inland dunes is the future use of the military area (`Other' threat), as an increasing number of military areas are being sold and developed. 2,802 ha of IBA covered by proposed Site of Community Importance (Heide- en vengebieden tussen Houthalen en Gruitrode, 3,882 ha).
National None International High2,789 ha of IBA covered by Special Protection Area (Houthalen, Helchteren, Meeuwen, Gruitrode en Peer, 2,789 ha).