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Conservation action already undertaken

Thursday 14 March 2013, by Julien Lusson

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The Moyenne vallée de la Charente was one of several French sites to develop a Life programme for the Corncrake in the mid 90s (RSPB, 1994 - 1996). Since then, a management plan has been written and applied by the LPO.

The implementation of the first agri-environmental measures on the site was carried out simultaneously with the development of the Natura 2000 management plan and following the Life programme for the Corncrake launched by the LPO within three municipalities (Les Gonds, Courcoury, Chaniers). Thus particularly conservation measures developed during the LIFE and the Natura 2000 processes informed the implementation of agri-environmental measures.

An analysis of contracts made with farmers to promote agri-environmental measures, averaged over the period 1996-2008, shows the following figures: about 221 ha / year (14 % of the area under contract) was under farming contracts ensuring a level of conservation deemed favorable for the Corncrake, and 284 ha / year (18% ) under moderately favorable contracts; with a huge drop in both categories since the late OLAE in 2004. Between 1996 and 2008 huge payments (3 351 054 € in total) were gambled on a voluntary scheme in this area but, despite the sums involved, this has proved a failure: of about 1374 ha / year under contract since 1996 (on average), only 27 ha / year were actually managed in a manner favorable to the Corncrake.