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Conservation actions already undertaken

Thursday 14 March 2013, by Julien Lusson

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Mainly since the 1990’s, the Basses Vallées Angevines and the Loire Valley have benefitted from several measures and programmes which addressed the key environmental issues on the site. In the late 1970s, within a context favourable to the hunting of waterfowl, a development project for a national nature reserve had already taken in part of the site (4 500 ha): this project generated considerable local opposition from politicians and users, and failed in 1980 and 1981. Since the 1980s, however, the context has changed completely. The implementation of agri-environmental measures, and then Natura 2000, has empowered municipalities and caused them to be more involved in this area. When eventually the designation of the sites as a regional nature reserve had been achieved, a Charter between the Pays de la Loire region, the LPO, and the Hunters’ Federation, was produced in Spring 2011.

In 1990, the first agri-environmental measure was created, and, at the same time, a Community Action for the Environment (ACE) was launched from 1991 to 1995. It resulted in the acquisition of 350 ha of grassland to protect it from poplar plantation.
The Basses Vallées Angevines were one of the first French sites to benefit from agri-environmental measures under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) : opération OGAF-environment (1993), followed by the Opérations locales Agro-environnementales-OLAE (1998), Contrats Territoriaux d’Exploitation-CTE (2000) and Contrat d’Agriculture Durable-CAD, since 2004, and finally Mesures agro-environnementales Territorialisées-MAET. These measures have provided substantial assistance to farms and contributed to the maintenance of grassland valleys.

Owing to its significant biological diversity, the site has also benefited from a land acquisition policy by public and private organizations. The LPO has purchased land, 408 hectares so far. The ’Fondation pour la sauvegarde des habitats et de la faune sauvage’ has bought 180 hectares on the island of Saint-Aubin. The City of Angers and Angers Loire Métropole have carried out work mainly in the latter area, for the creation of a hiking trail. The LPO has been able to continue these actions on the site, particularly in the framework of the Loire Nature programme (2002-2007).

About the Loire Valley:- Following on from the implementation of agri-environmental schemes in the Basses Vallées Angevines, similar measures have also been applied in the Loire Valley from 1994 to the present day, with beneficial effect. Specifications here aim more at preserving the grassland habitats, in an area where early mowing is patently the reason for the scarcity of the Corncrake.