Resources for the Protection of natural forests: A big thank you!
Thanks to you, the Ulule crowdfunding campaign launched at the end of the year was able to raise over 7,000€, acting as a sort of early Christmas present providing the funds needed in order to purchase the lands of the ancient and wild Auvergne forests so that we might protect them.
The stakes of this project are high: not only are the ancient forests which it aims to protect areas of great biological diversity, they are also crucial for carbon storage. The valleys play a significant role in giving the landscape a unique character, with their twisted and dead trees inspiring a wealth of local myths and legends. These forests are still, for the time being, wild, but they are becoming threatened by ever-increasing exploitation. The aim of this campaign is, therefore, to secure ownership of the forest land in order that we might allow the environment to develop naturally and free from any economic pressures, which is the only way to guarantee sustainable conservation.
The project does, of course, come at a cost though, which is why the Auvergne Conservation Agency and Envol Vert have appealed to the public’s generosity in order to raise the necessary funding. Thanks to the support of numerous benefactors, over 124 people have got behind the campaign and we will be able to purchase 20ha in the Chavanhon and the Bas-Alagnon by the summer of 2014. A further 21ha are being negotiated across the 4 different sites which the project covers. Thank you for your financial and moral support, which is a daily help as we strive to preserve areas of not only natural biodiversity, but also of our mutual heritage.
Consolidation of knowledge
Alexandra, our research officer, volunteered to participate in our project based in the glacial valleys of Haut Forez. The project’s overall aim is to strengthen the protection of forests with a unique natural character in three of Haut Forez’s glacial valleys (Fossat, Reblats and Pégrol woods) in order to preserve the typical landscape of the area, the water quality and the animal and plant biodiversity found there.
Our first priority has been to deepen our understanding of the ecology of these zones, with a view to forming a project strategy which targets the key actions which we need to take. Working in partnership with the Auvergne Conservation agency, Alexandra began by forming a bibliographic summary of the ecological data currently available to us. It tuned out that the woods of the Pégrol valley had not been as well researched or documented as the other two valleys. Alexandra, along with the Conservation agency, therefore arranged a day of study and data collection of the natural environment (looking at the natural habitats, the fauna and flora, the state of the forest…), which would allow her to map out the natural habitats of the Pégrol woods as accurately as possible.
Alexandra’s research shows that the study the diverse natural habitats present in glacial valleys, and which are of use or interest to local communities, is an effective way to monitor the presence (or absence) of rare species. The trends observed here enable us to prioritise any projects for further research or exploration in the area, so that we might protect it as best as possible. Alexandra has now moved on to producing her final report, which will show that the three forests of the glacial valleys in Haut-Forez represent an area of outstanding natural value. Indeed, subsequent analysis of the data collected reveals the presence of a significant number of species and natural habitats of community interest in the area.
It is, therefore, important to protect these species, and to continue to implement our recommended policy of non-intervention in the area. Indeed, this policy will allow for the natural development and emergence of a diverse forest ecosystem, creating a space in which the natural fauna and flora can thrive. The next step will therefore be to form a strategy for the management of the three glacial valleys, highlighting the key ways in which we need to take action towards protecting the forests.