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Pioneering French wetland joins the European Rewilding Community

The Tour du Valat Property within the Camargue area in southern France is demonstrating how wetlands might be rewilded for the good thing about nature and other people. Membership of the European Rewilding Community will improve the property’s rewilding efforts.

Natural grazing and waterbirds at Tour du Valat estate
Rewilding of the Tour du Valat Property has seen the restoration of a spread of habitats, in addition to pure processes reminiscent of flooding and pure grazing.

Jean Jalbert


Wetlands on the sting

Coastal wetlands are vastly beneficial ecosystems – they not solely help a various vary of wildlife, but additionally assist to filter water, take in and retailer vital quantities of atmospheric carbon, and shield communities from flooding and storm surges. But half of all such wetlands disappeared over the course of the 20th century, squeezed out of existence by human land use on one facet, and sea stage rise on the opposite.

The decline of coastal wetlands within the Mediterranean has adopted this development. Between 1960 and 1990 they halved in measurement, because the pressures of urbanisation, tourism, agriculture and business took their toll, and coastlines retreated. Local weather change continues to disrupt water balances, leaving remaining wetland ecosystems more and more degraded and fragile.


Studying by doing

The aim of personal French basis Tour du Valat, which started life in 1954, is to preserve Mediterranean wetlands by higher understanding how they operate and bettering their administration. The distinctive 2600-hectare Tour du Valat Property, which is situated within the huge Camargue wetland on France’s Mediterranean coast, acts as the inspiration’s testing floor. Right here it carries out varied socio-economic, cultural and scientific actions, refining administration of the location to maximise its worth to each nature and other people, and enabling the inspiration to advocate for and advise on wetland conservation. Numerous habitats inside the property have been restored, as have pure processes reminiscent of flooding and pure grazing.

The Tour du Valat Property has simply grow to be the most recent member of Rewilding Europe’s European Rewilding Community (ERN). With many different members concerned in wetland rewilding and administration, the initiative’s inclusion will strengthen the community’s collective experience and assist the inspiration because it continues to rewild the property.

“We’re thrilled to be becoming a member of the ERN as a result of the expertise and information of different members will assist us to advance the restoration of nature on the property,” says Arnaud Béchet, a Analysis Director in Ecology at Tour du Valat. “We consider nature restoration is a incredible alternative to bolster the socio-economic resilience of an space just like the Camargue, which is dealing with unprecedented international pressures, reminiscent of local weather change and urbanisation.”


The shiny ibis (pictured) is one among many species depending on the habitats of the Camargue.

Nelleke de Weerd


Distinctive biodiversity

The Tour du Valat Property covers a complete space of 2649 hectares in two completely different areas of the Camargue. The principle space, which extends over greater than 2500 hectares, is situated on an previous arm of the River Rhone (this is named the Tour du Valat Property). Of this, 1845 hectares is listed as a regional nature reserve, which is situated inside a RAMSAR website, a Natura 2000 space, a Pure Regional Park, and a Biosphere Reserve.

Pure habitats on the property are typical of the Camargue, together with non permanent marshes and fossil dunes (hardened sand dunes formed by the wind), in addition to giant expanses of sansouire (saltmarsh). These habitats are residence to an extremely numerous natural world, together with 590 plant species, over 300 fowl species, and greater than 1600 invertebrates. These all depend upon a fancy net of interactions which have developed to deal with salinity, winter floods, and summer season droughts.


The Tour du Valat Property is residence to an extremely numerous natural world.

Tour du Valat


Rewilding efforts

Ongoing work is being carried out to revive a extra pure circulation of water on the Tour du Valat Property. Elevated flooding within the winter helps the location to host giant waterbird populations, which have made the Camargue well-known for birdwatching. Areas of reedbed have been restored to help the Eurasian bittern. On greater floor, areas of dry grassland have been restored, resulting in common breeding of the collared pratincole and the return of the little bustard.

Conventional Camargue horses and bulls are raised on the property. These giant grazers are key components of the Camargue’s cultural id, however in addition they play a necessary ecological function by enhancing biodiversity via their low-intensity grazing.

In 2021, the Worldwide Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) admitted the Tour du Valat Property to the IUCN Inexperienced Listing of Protected and Conserved Areas – the worldwide customary for recognising the best-managed websites on the planet.


Camargue horses grazing in the Camargue wetlands
Giant grazers reminiscent of Camargue horses are a key ingredient of the Camargue’s cultural id and assist to reinforce biodiversity via their grazing.

Nelleke de Weerd


Wetlands-based local weather change adaptation

Scaling up nature restoration is our greatest likelihood of efficiently mitigating the worst impacts of local weather change. Investing in nature-based options – together with the smarter administration of wetland and agricultural land – has the potential to ship 30% of the local weather options we want by 2030.

The administration of wetlands and coastal ecosystems additionally must adapt to the brand new realities of a warmer planet, with extra local weather extremes, significantly within the Mediterranean. The enduring panorama of the Camargue, for instance, is threatened by lowering freshwater enter from the Rhone, brought on by hotter summers and disappearing alpine glaciers, in addition to sea stage rise. Rewilding offers nature extra space to regulate, which in flip safeguards the advantages that nature gives to folks.

By pioneering science-based interventions, showcasing options, and delivering highly effective advocacy, the Tour du Valat Property is making the case for the form of funding and motion wanted to scale up rewilding, which may ship game-changing advantages to folks and nature. Rewilding Europe is proud to welcome the property to the ERN as an inspirational instance of rewilding in motion.


A platform for alternate

European Rewilding NetworkAs we speak rewilding is gaining momentum as a progressive and efficient method to conservation in Europe. Underpinning this development, the burgeoning ERN continues to foster collaboration and amplify outcomes.

Based by Rewilding Europe in 2013, the goal of the ERN is to reinforce the efforts of every member by facilitating the alternate of expertise, perception and expertise. Members meet commonly, often through webinar, whereas nature-based companies also can apply to Rewilding Europe Capital, Rewilding Europe’s enterprise mortgage facility.

Rewilding Europe extends a heat welcome to all European rewilding initiatives that target sensible, result-oriented rewilding and encourages them to use for ERN membership.


Need to know extra?

• Tour du Valat

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