The Annotated Ramsar List: France

27/08/2012

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The Annotated Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance

FRANCE / FRANCIA

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The Convention on Wetlands came into force for France on 1 December 1986. France presently has 43 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance, with a surface area of 3,557,820 hectares.

site; date of designation; region, province, state; surface area; coordinates
site; date de désignation; région, province, état; superficie; coordonnées
sitios; fecha de designación; región, provincia, estado; área; coordenadas

Baie de Somme. 30/01/98; Picardie; 17,320 ha; 50º14'N 001º33'E. Natural area of ecological, faunistic and floristic interest (ZNIEFF), Natural Reserve, Hunting Reserve, Maritime Hunting Reserve, Natura 2000 (SPA, SCI), IBA. The largest natural estuary in northern France, the site consists of vast sand, mud, and grassy areas. It is important for its biodiversity and avifauna, supporting over 120 nesting bird species, including various rare and threatened species. Situated on important bird flyways, the site is one of the most important European resting and feeding areas for migrating water birds. 365 bird species have been identified, making this area attractive for bird watching tourism. It supports the most important population of Harbour Seal Phoca vitulina in France with over 300 individuals. The site further harbours 275 species of plants, including various rare species such as the halophyte One-flowered Glasswort Salicornia pusilla. Human activities include sheep grazing, hunting, commercial fishing, shellfish farming, and tourism. The 'Maison Ramsar de la baie de Somme' is one of two study centers that exist at the site. Ramsar site no. 925. Most recent RIS information: 2012.

Baie du Mont Saint-Michel. 14/10/94; Basse-Normandie, Bretagne; 62,000 ha; 48º40’N 001º40’W. World Heritage site, Special Protection Area. The site represents large areas of saltmarshes with a very diverse morphology, and comprises sand/gravel beds of bivalves, reefs of Sabellaria alveolata, rocky islets, cliffs and dunes. It is ranked fifth in the world for its exceptional tidal range, and constitutes one of the best examples of Quaternary sedimentation in the world. The area features a great number of habitats with a high biological richness. It is the best French site for Halimione pedunculata, one of the most interesting and rare species of European saline grasslands. Up to 100,000 waders winter at the bay, including over 1% of the populations of Haematopus ostralegus, Calidris canutus, and C. alpina. Marine mammals such as dolphins Tursiops truncatus and seals Phoca vitulina also visit the site. Human activities include recreation, fishing, shellfish farming, waterfowl hunting, and sand extraction. In the terrestrial area there is intensive agriculture and semi-extensive herding of cattle. Ramsar site no. 709. Most recent RIS information: ?.

Basses Vallées Angevines. 01/02/95; Pays de la Loire; 6,450 ha; 47º34’N 000º28’W. Hunting Reserve. Vast alluvial plain encompassing the confluence of four rivers and supporting grasslands dominated by various communities of wet-meadow plants and sparse rows of ash and willow. The site supports various threatened, endemic or rare plants. The wetland is a stopover point of international importance for several Anatidae species and wading birds on the spring migration from their wintering grounds to their breeding grounds in northern and northeastern Europe, and it provides internationally important wintering and nesting habitat for several species of waterbirds. Human activities include agriculture, forestry, boating, fishing and bird hunting. Ramsar site no. 715. Most recent RIS information: 1994.

Bassin d'Arcachon - Secteur du delta de la Leyre. 27/10/11; Aquitaine; 5,175 ha; 44°39'52"N 001°01'51"W. Natura 2000 (SPA, SIC). Covering a substantial part of the delta, the site is important for many species dependent on the intertidal zone such as threatened fish species. The mosaic of habitats, also including seasonally flooded forests, meadows, salt marshes and fish ponds, acts as a stop-over and wintering site for migratory bird species, many of them protected on a European level. It offers habitat for numerous species of insects, reptiles and mammals, some of them threatened globally. Luscinia svecica namnetum, a species of Bluethroat endemic to the French Atlantic coast, also occurs here. The site is important in flood regulation and acts as a buffer zone between Arcachon Bay and its watershed. The Ornithological Park 'Le Teich' forms part of the site, contributing to its popularity as a tourist destination. Further human uses include aquaculture, salt production, agriculture and hunting. The abandonment of traditional management practices, the related overgrowth with invasive species, water pollution and siltation threaten the site. Ramsar Site no. 1996. Most recent RIS information: 2011.

Bassin du Drugeon. 02/02/03; Franche-Comté; 5,906 ha; 46°50'N 006°10'E. Proposed Site of Community Importance EC Directive. A peatland landscape complex in the Jura foothills with a rich variety of natural habitats including dry grasslands, alkaline moors, active mires, river floodplains, ponds and lakes. It holds important populations of threatened plants including Saxifraga hirculus, Liparis loeselii and Hamatocaulis vernicosus. Of conservation interest are the local populations of waterbirds, including corncrake Crex crex, spotted crake Porzana porzana, and snipe Gallinago gallinago, of the toads Alytes obstreticans and Bufo calamita, the newt Triturus cristatus, the rare butterfly Euphydryas aurinia, and a number of dragonflies. The Drugeon river course was restored in large parts during the 1990s with the help of European Union LIFE subsidies, including measures to improve its water quality, reduce water pollution, and make agricultural practices more environmentally friendly. The main land uses are agriculture and forestry, some hunting and fishing, cycling and walking, plus the beginnings of nature tourism benefiting from the newly established mire track. Ramsar site no. 1266. Most recent RIS information: 2002.

Camargue. 01/12/86; Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur; 85,000 ha; 43º30’N 004º30’E. Biosphere Reserve, Special Protection Area EC Directive; National Reserve, Regional Natural Park, Hunting Reserve. The Rhône River delta, incorporating vast expanses of permanent and seasonal lagoons, lakes and ponds interspersed with extensive Salicornia flats, freshwater marshes, and a dune complex. The wetlands, subject to a salinity gradient, are partly supplied by rainfall, but the main source is groundwater pumped to sustain irrigated agriculture. The Camargue is of international importance for nesting, staging and wintering waterbirds. Among the various breeding species are Ardeidae (herons, bitterns, etc.), with extremely large numbers of Anatidae (ducks, geese, swans, etc.) occurring in winter. Human activities include tourism, hunting, fishing, agriculture and raising livestock. Ramsar site no. 346. Most recent RIS information: 1995.

Etang de Biguglia. 08/04/91; Corse; 1,790 ha; 42°36’00’’N 09°29’00’’E; Nature Reserve, Natura 2000 (SPA, SAC), Important Bird Area, Natural Area of Ecological Interest for Flora and Fauna. The Site is the largest coastal lagoon in Corsica, divided into two basins connected with the sea. It comprises shrub-dominated wetlands crossed by creeks within seasonally flooded agricultural land characterized by excavations and drainage channels. It is of international importance for the maintenance of biological diversity within the Mediterranean biogeographic region: it supports outstanding numbers of breeding and wintering waterbirds including grebes, cormorants, ducks, geese and swans as well as vulnerable reptile species such as Testudo hermanni and mammals such as Myotis capaccinii. Moreover, the coastal lagoon is an important spawning and nursery ground for critically endangered fish species such as Anguilla anguilla. The lagoon supports diverse and rare vegetation which varies from halophytic species and submerged vegetation fringed by reedbeds to maquis communities. The Site plays an important role in flood regulation and groundwater recharge. The main threats to its ecological character are illegal hunting and sedimentation. Human activities include tourism, fishing and agriculture. A management plan has been approved for the period 2014-2018. Ramsar Site no. 520. Most recent RIS information: 2014.

Etang de Palo. 15/09/08; Corse; 212 ha. 41°57’N 009°24’E. SPA, ZNIEFF (Zone Naturelle d’Intérêt Ecologique, Faunistique et Floristique). A very well preserved natural freshwater lagoon on the east coast of Corsica, temporarily connected with the sea through a seminatural narrow channel that gets timely opened to regulate the concentration of nutrients, thus avoiding eutrophication events. The lagoon is the fourth largest on the island; with its sandy beaches and surrounding vegetation, it constitutes an important ecosystem for its ecological, faunistic and floristic values. It hosts rare plant species such as Kosteletkya pentacarpos and supports five protected bat species, including Barbastella barbastellus, Miniopterus schreibersii, Myotis capaccinii,and Myotis emarginatus. The site has high hydrological value in helping the recharge of the aquifer, slowing down the water flow into the sea, and thus also reducing erosion phenomena. Agriculture and aquaculture are the main activities practiced in the surrounding area. Ramsar site no. 1829. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

Etang d’Urbino. 15/09/08; Corse; 790 ha ; 42°02’N 009°29 E. SPA, ZNIEFF (Zone Naturelle d’Intérêt Ecologique, Faunistique et Floristique). On the east coast of Corse, the second largest lagoon on Corsica with a maximum depth of 9m. The site is separated from the sea through a narrow strip of sand where Juniperus macrocarpa, J. phoenicea and Pinus pinaster dunes are found. The lagoon plays an important role for avifauna – it is a stop-over for many migratory birds on their route towards the south, and it is also habitat for many birds during the reproduction and breeding season. Inventories reveal the presence of 113 different bird species, of which 37 breed here. Netta rufina and Tadorna tadorna are two species no longer common on Corsica but that still find good conditions for reproduction here. Aphanius fasciatus is an endemic fish species typical of the northern part of the Mediterranean. Mismanagement of the aquaculture activities practiced within the site could lead to anoxia events and spell ecological disasters. Ramsar site no. 1831. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

Etangs de la Champagne humide. 08/04/91; Champagne-Ardenne; 255,800 ha; 48º35’N 004º45’E. Special Protection Area EC Directive; Regional Natural Park, Hunting Reserve. A vast lowland complex of rivers, reservoir lakes and forests, ponds, canals, gravel pits, reedbeds, wet meadows and alluvial forests. Three major vegetation zones are present. The site is important for wintering and passage migratory waterbirds, especially geese, ducks and cranes (Anatidae and Gruidae); and for nesting birds, such as herons Ardea purpurea and Botaurus stellaris. It is the only regular French wintering site for the globally threatened sea eagle. Numerous species of plants, birds and invertebrates are rare, vulnerable, threatened or restricted. Human activities include livestock rearing, fishing, forestry, hunting and tourism. The site has experienced the conversion of hay meadows to arable land and river regulation. Ramsar site no. 514. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

Etangs de la Petite Woëvre. 08/04/91; Lorraine; 5,300 ha; 49º02’N 005º48’E. Special Protection Area EC Directive; Regional Natural Park. A clay depression consisting of a high density of lakes formed in the Middle Ages by draining the marsh to create fish rearing ponds. The lakes and ponds are interspersed by woodland, pasture, wet meadows, reedbeds and arable land. The complex supports a rich nesting avifauna, and is important for staging and wintering various species of migratory waterbirds. Human activities include fish farming, agriculture and hunting. Management measures include regular mowing, extensification of meadows (cutting hay late in the season), creation of mud flats, and restoration of a dry lake bed. Ramsar site no. 515. Most recent RIS information: 1995.

Etangs du Lindre, forêt du Romersberg et zones voisines. 02/02/03; Lorraine; 5,308 ha; 48°47'N 006°48'E. Regional Nature Park (in part), proposed Special Protection Area and Site of Community Importance EC Directives. A complex of shallow lakes, marshes, reedbeds, mires, small rivers and associated forests, pastures, hedgerows, and cultivated areas that provide a variety of habitats. Small continental salt grasslands are of particular biodiversity value. The forest contains many rare plant species and an important population of wild cat Felis silvestris. The lakes serve as important moulting areas for shoveler Anas clypeata and as breeding and wintering sites for many other waterbirds. Non-intensive fish farming, hunting and nature tourism are the main human uses besides agriculture and forestry. Each year, a popular event celebrates the annual fish harvest in the lakes. Ramsar site no. 1267. Most recent RIS information: 2002.

Etangs palavasiens. 15/09/08; Languedoc-Roussillon; 5,797 ha; 43°30’N 003°51’E. Natura 2000, Nature Reserve. A complex of seven main coastal brackish and saline lagoons typical of the Mediterranean biogeographic region, with dunes and sandy beaches that separate them from the sea. The site represents an important bird habitat during the migration period, in particular for the Caspian Tern (Sterna caspia) and the White Stork (ciconia ciconia), but it is also an important breeding site for Little Tern (Sterna albifrons), with more than 80% of the French breeding population, and the Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber roseus). The high habitat diversity of the lagoons supports many Mediterranean amphibians, reptiles like Emys orbicularis, fishes such as Anguilla Anguilla and Atherina lagunae and the endemic and endangered insect species (Metrioptera fedtschenkoi azami and Gryllotalpa septemdecimchromosomica) In the site fishing and hunting are practiced, and it is also very popular for tourism and leisure activities. Ramsar site no. 1832. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

Golfe du Morbihan. 08/04/91; Bretagne; 23,000 ha; 47°35'N 002°47'W. Nature Reserve, Natural area of ecological, faunistic and floristic interest (ZNIEFF), Biotope Protection Order, Hunting Reserve, Natura 2000 (SPA, SCI), IBA. A large, almost enclosed, estuarine embayment and saltmarsh complex at the mouths of three rivers. Exposed at low tide, vast mudflats connect the bay with the Atlantic Ocean. Important in preventing coastal erosion, and the basis of the wetland's productivity, the intertidal flats support large areas of Zostera beds and an extremely high density of invertebrates. Up to 100,000 waterbirds winter annually at the site, and numerous species of migratory waterbirds stage and nest in the area. Many species of flora and fauna are protected under national and EU legislation. Oyster farming produces an annual harvest of more than 10,000 tonnes. Other human activities include commercial and sport fishing and tourism. Environmental education opportunities and several observatories exist. Ramsar Site no. 517. Most recent RIS information: 2012.

Grande Brière. 01/02/95; Pays de la Loire; 19,000 ha; 47º22’N 002º10’W. Including Marais du bassin du Brivet Natural Regional Park, Hunting Reserves. Flat peatland, vast alluvial marshes, reedbeds, floodplains, stretches of open water and canals. This is the second largest French marsh after the Camargue. The site consists of open water supporting aquatic vegetation, reedbeds, inundated forests and floodplains. The marshland complex, exploited for peat extraction and grazing, has been abandoned over time, resulting in a significant colonization by moisture-loving vegetation (reeds, willows, elms) leading to a loss of biodiversity and a reduction in open water areas. An important site for numerous species of wintering and nesting waterbirds, the site is also very important for the Otter. Human activities include extensive livestock rearing and hunting, fishing, reed cutting for thatch, conservation education, and tourism. Ramsar site no. 713. Most recent RIS information: 1994.

Impluvium d'Evian. 15/09/08; Rhône-Alpes; 3,275 ha; 46°22’N 006°36’E. Natura 2000. Close to Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) near the border with Switzerland, the site is located in the heart of a plateau where the popular mineral waters of Evian have their origin as rainwater is absorbed in the soil. During the infiltration process it is purified and redistributed underground, feeding the aquifer. The site is composed of seasonal and permanent freshwater marshes, forested and non-forested peatlands, rivers and streams. Although the site does not support an outstanding number of species, it provides an important habitat for invertebrates, in particular for two butterfly species Coenonynpha tullia and Boloria aquilonaris whose populations are in decline every where else in the region. Liparis loeserii, a very rare orchid, is still well represented in the site. Urban development and water abstraction are possible threats for the maintenance of the hydrological balance of the site. Ramsar site no. 1833. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

La Brenne. 08/04/91; Centre; 140,000 ha; 46º44’N 001º15’E. Special Protection Area EC Directive; Regional Natural Park, Natural Reserve, Hunting Reserve. A plateau region with a complex of 1,500 semi-natural lakes and ponds, formed in the Middle Ages by levee construction. Vegetation includes dense belts of fringing reeds, submergent and floating vegetation. The surrounding landscape consists of forests, heathland, wet meadows, dry grassland and cultivated land. The varied flora includes 1,000 species, 23 of which are rare. The diverse fauna includes 50 dragonfly species, 10 reptiles and 14 amphibians. An important area for passerines and for breeding, nesting and staging numerous species of waterbirds. Human activities include agriculture, forestry, fish farming, hunting, quarrying, and tourism. Ramsar site no. 518. Most recent RIS information: 2006.

La Petite Camargue. 08/01/96; Languedoc-Rousillon; 37,000 ha; 43º30’N 004º15’E. State Maritime Zone. Coastal ponds, brackish lagoons, and marshes fed by coastal watercourses. The site includes agricultural areas, sedge meadows, reedbeds, sansouires (Salicornia steppes), salt-resistant vegetation, coastal forest, and salt pans. The shallow lagoons provide priority habitat for spawning and hatching sea fish. Human activities include a small-scale fishery, cattle ranching, peat extraction, fruit production, salt extraction, and reforestation. The site has Roman and mediaeval ruins. The Station Biologique de la Tour du Valat research centre provides important opportunities for research and environmental conservation. Ramsar site no. 786. Most recent RIS information: 1993.

Lac de Grand-Lieu. 01/02/95; Pays de la Loire; 6,300 ha; 47º05’N 001º40’W. Nature Reserve. The site’s area fluctuates depending on climatic conditions. A shallow lake, dominated by macrophytic vegetation and three large floating forests and exhibiting features of a tropical wetland. Shaped by tectonic movements some 120 million years ago, the lake was well preserved until the 1960s, when the hydrologic regime was radically altered by large-scale human intervention. Coupled with agricultural pollution and urban effluent, these disturbances caused severe nutrient-enrichment. Over 200 species of birds, including 110 nesting species, and internationally important numbers of numerous species of migrating waterbirds and wintering Anatidae use the area. The site supports 500 important plant species, including many that are threatened or protected at national or regional levels. Human activities include fishing, hunting, hay production and grazing. It is also important for its archaeological, historical and ethnographic values. Ramsar site no. 714. Most recent RIS information: 1994.

Lac du Bourget - Marais de Chautagne. 02/02/03; Rhône-Alpes; 5,500 ha; 45°44'N 005°51'E. Proposed Special Protection Area and Site of Community Importance EC Directives. One of the largest French Alpine lakes (4,500 ha). Apart from the lakeside town Aix-les-Bains, more than half of the lake shores remain natural, either rocky or covered with reedbeds (stretching along 11 km shoreline). Tourism and leisure activities are important, but restricted to specific lake areas only. Adjoining the lake outlet are the Chautagne marshes and peatbogs. The submerged lake vegetation and animal communities are very well developed and in good condition. During winter, and especially during cold spells, the lake harbours more than 20,000 waterbirds that also use the nearby part of the Rhône river, including up to 16,000 pochard Aythya ferina (Criterion 6). Bourget lake provides an important spawning area for the fish Coregonus lavaretus (one of the two French top sites), Salvelinus alpinus and Lota lota. Ramsar site no. 1268. Most recent RIS information: 2003.

Le marais audomarois. 15/09/08; Nord-Pas-de-Calais; 3,726 ha; 50°46’N 002°16’E. Natura 2000 SPA, Nature Reserve. A unique human-made place where cultural and natural heritage have been mixing together for the past 13 centuries. With its 56,000 inhabitants, the site is a green lung which supports high biodiversity within a very urbanized and densely populated area. Through canals (700km), draining channels, and hydraulic systems that allow water level control, people were able to cultivate and live in this area. The aquatic flora represents one-third of the French species and the site also supports different life history stages for 26 fish species. Amongst 13 bat species, the rarest bat of France, Myotis dasycneme, is regularly found here during the reproduction period. Ramsar site no. 1835. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

Les étangs de Villepey. 15/09/08; Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur; 255 ha; 43°24’N 006°43’ E. Natura 2000 SPA, ZNIEFF (Zone Naturelle d’Intérêt Ecologique, Faunistique et Floristique). On the Côte d’Azur between the Camargue region and Italy, in a very urbanized area, one of the last remaining Mediterranean lagoons and its intertidal sand flats, shores, estuarine waters and dune systems. The site supports a number of rare, vulnerable and endangered flora and fauna species. Amongst the protected species are Rhinolophus ferrumequinum, Anguilla Anguilla and Alosa fallax, populations of which are declining everywhere else.Potential factors that could impact the ecological character of the site adversely are extractive activities, run-off of pollutants from industrial activities, and urban development. Ramsar site no. 1836. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

Les étangs littoraux de la Narbonnaise. 02/02/06; Languedoc-Roussillon; 12,334 ha; 43°03'N 003°03'E; Site du Conservatoire de l'espace littoral et des rivages lacustres, Regional Nature Park. Five Mediterranean lagoons which, though fed by freshwater, are still connected to the sea , the last natural connections to the sea that are still functioning on the French Mediterranean coast. Large areas of lacustrine vegetation and the salt gradient characterize the ponds and create an ample diversity of habitats such as reedbeds, rush, salt marshes, salt steppes and fixed dunes. The proximity of wet and very dry habitats, especially on the calcareous islets, is a great particularity of the site. Since ancient times salt production has formed the site and maintained its outstanding biodiversity. The plant species and their habitats have high value as a wintering and breeding place for birds as well as staging and feeding site for migrating species. Threats are perceived from degradation of the water quality and of water circulation in the lagoons, acceleration of human pressures, and recession of reedbeds. Tourist development and especially water sport activities threaten the highly sensitive ecosystems such as dunes and salt steppes. Land uses include vineyards, rice paddies and pastures, as well as urban utilization, besides the salines and natural habitats. Ramsar site no. 1593. Most recent RIS information: 2006.

Marais d'Orx et zones humides associées. 27/10/11; Aquitaine; 962 ha; 43°35'52"N 001°23'50"W. Nature Reserve, Natura 2000 (SPA,SCI). Mainly consisting of lakes, ponds, marshlands, wet meadows and surrounded by a network of canals, this site has been restored after extensive drainage for agricultural purposes in the past. It now acts as an important stop-over and wintering site for numerous species of waterbirds and is one of the few nesting sites for Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia. The site is also important for a large number of insect, amphibian, reptile, fish and mammal species, including threatened species such as the European Eel Anguilla anguilla and the European Mink Mustela lutreola, both listed as critically endangered in the IUCN Red List. The site plays a major role in flood control. Human activities include recreation, agriculture and research. Educational activities are undertaken regularly and an exhibition explains the history and restoration of the site. Ramsar Site no. 1995. Most recent RIS information: 2012.

Marais du Cotentin et du Bessin, Baie des Veys. 08/04/91; Basse-Normandie; 32,500 ha; 49º23’N 001º10’W. Special Protection Area EC Directive; Hunting Reserve, Natural Reserve, Reserves du domaine public fluvial, Arrête de protection de biotope. An extensive complex of marshes and associated floodplains converging at a coastal embayment. Vegetation consists of converted and unconverted wet grassland and the largest peatlands in France. The area is extremely important for breeding, staging and wintering numerous species of waterbirds, and provides habitat for a variety of passerines and various species of notable plants. Human activities include pastoralism, hunting and fishing. As agriculture declines, natural succession will occur, ultimately replacing flora and fauna presently of great conservation significance with woodland species. The principal aim of the park is to maintain extensive agricultural practices to preserve the marsh habitat. Ramsar site no. 516. [photos] Most recent RIS information: 1990.

Marais du Fier d'Ars. 02/02/03; Poitou-Charentes; 4,452 ha; 46°13'N 001°28'W. Nature Reserve (119 ha), Special Protection Area and proposed Site of Community Importance EC Directives. A complex of tidal sands and mudflats and diked marshes on the island of Ré off the Atlantic coast, including active and abandoned salt pans, freshwater marshes, reedbeds, oyster basins, extensive salt pastures, active dunes, dune forests, sandy and rocky coasts, and important seagrass beds (Zostera noltii). The site harbours a number of plant and animal species of conservation concern, including two regional endemics, the dune plant Omphalodes littoralis and the subspecies of the bluethroat Luscinia svecicanamnetum. More than 31,000 waterbirds use the site in winter. Four populations of them occur regularly above the 1% threshold: Branta bernicla bernicla, Recurvirostra avoseta, Calidris alpina, Limosa limosa islandica. Human uses include oyster farming and numerous leasure and tourist activities (cycling, walking, fishing, canoeing, angling, sailing, swimming). Two visitor centres provide education facilities. Ramsar site no. 1269. Most recent RIS information: 2002.

Marais salants de Guérande et du Més. 01/09/95; Pays de la Loire; 5,200 ha; 47º20’N 002º30’W. Game Reserve. The site consists of saltmarshes, traicts (mud flats) and dune belts formed around 7,000 BC. The marsh area is protected by an important dyke network, requiring constant maintenance to avoid submersion at high tides. The marshes are divided into a mosaic of pans separated by clay mudwalls fed with water by channels. The salt works date back to Roman times. The site exhibits an exceptional assemblage of great floristic wealth supporting numerous rare or protected plants. The very high level of primary production, the highly diversified aquatic environments, combined with greatly differing salinity levels, gives rise to rich algae and invertebrate communities which in turn support the numerous birds species present. The site is important for numerous species of nesting, feeding, resting and wintering migratory birds and waders. The area has a remarkable ethnological and sociological history. Human activities include salt production, hunting, fish farming, shellfish hatcheries. Ramsar site no. 746. [info] Most recent RIS information: 1994.

Mares temporaires de Tre Padule de Suartone. 02/02/07; Corse; 218 ha; 41°28'N 009°14'E. Réserve naturelle. Comprising four temporary pools and their catchments and two temporary streams in the southeast of Corsica, dominated by several types of scrub, rock rose, and spring grasses. The existence of the pools in an almost semi-arid granitic landscape, rich in species adapted to extreme conditions, is a rare geomorphological phenomenon in the region. The pools support a great diversity of species of which most are rare and closely associated with this type of environment, including four amphibian species that are protected at national level. They are naturally formed wetlands representative of the Mediterranean as their hydrological functioning is intimately bound to the climate of the region, enjoying shallow water at 25 to 50 cm depth from late autumn to late spring and drying out from evaporation during the month of May. The principal land use is the grazing of cattle and, to a lesser extent, goats, though these seem to have declined since 2000. The site is the only site of temporary pools in France that has been classed as a nature reserve and benefits from effective management and awareness-raising efforts. The threat from four-wheel sport vehicles has diminished since the arrival of a site manager. Ramsar site no. 1651. Most recent RIS information: 2006.

Rhin supérieur / Oberrhein. 05/09/08; Alsace; 22,413 ha; TRS centre 48°25’N 007°45’E. Natura 2000 SPA, National Nature Reseverve. The upper part of the river Rhine’s western bank, along nearly 170km. The  hydrological regime has been strongly regulated in the 19th century and the site consists of many different natural areas such as relict swampy forests and meadows, but also humanmade habitats including dumps, canals and  agricultural lands. The site support a large number of internationally protected species such as Bufo calamita,Castor fiber,Lutra lutra and  Myotis myotis, and it provides nesting, resting, and wintering habitats for many birds, indeed every year an average of 55,000 migratory birds stop here. The Rhine also supports migratory fish species such as Salmo salar, Alosa alosa, Salmo trutta,Lampetra fluviatilis and Anguilla anguilla. Navigation, water sports, agriculture, hydroelectric power stations are only few of the main land uses. Canalization and deforestation could represent serious threats for the area. Part of the Transboundary Ramsar Site with Oberrhein / Rhin supérieur in Germany (2008). Ramsar site no. 1810. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

Rives du Lac Léman. 08/04/91; Rhône-Alpes; 1,915 ha; 46º21’N 006º23’E. Special Protection Area EC Directive; Natural Reserve, Hunting Reserve. Several physically separate zones on the shores of Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) consisting of alluvial terraces, gravel islands, lacustrine dunes, extensive reedbeds and parts of the Dranse, Redon, Foron and Vion rivers. Lac Léman is the second most important wintering area for waterbirds in France. Breeding and staging birds use the site, which also supports various mammals and a rich flora including several rare plant species. Land use includes commercial fishing, fish farming, agriculture, and tourism. Significant shoreline development is causing a decline in nesting birds. Ramsar site no. 519. Most recent RIS information: 2009.

Salins d’Hyères. 15/09/08;   900 ha; 43°05’N 006°11’E. Natura 2000 SPA; ZNIEFF (Zone Naturelle d’Intérêt Ecologique, Faunistique et Floristique). One of the largest Mediterranean coastal wetlands in France, constituted of two separate sites: Salin des Pesquiers and Vieux Salins. The area is of a great importance for many birds during their migration season, but also for breeding and wintering. It regularly supports 218 bird species, amongst them Grus grus, Lanius senator, Calandrella brachydactyla, and Hirundo daurisa. Exploited for salt from 1848 until 1995, the salins d’Hyères were acquired by the Conservatoire du littoral and represent a mosaic of different habitats very important in supporting a wide range of other fauna and flora species. These wetlands are the only site in continental France where Matthiola tricuspidata and Tamarix Africana can be found. The site is located in an urban area where the main economy is based on coastal tourism. Possible threats are the spreading of exotic species and algal bloom. Ramsar site no. 1838. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

Tourbière de Moltifao. 27/10/11; Corse; 33 ha; 42°28'52"N 009°09'13"E. Forest Nature Reserve (RBD), Biotope Protection Area, Natura 2000. The largest active raised bog on the island of Corsica southeast of the French mainland, located in the watershed of the Asco valley. In terms of flora, several species are protected on a national, European and international level, including three Sphagnum species and the orchid species Liparis loeselii, listed as vulnerable according to the IUCN Red List and subject to a national action plan. In terms of fauna, numerous regionally and nationally protected species are present, including 9 bat species (e.g., Greater mouse-eared bat Myotis myotis), 4 reptile species (e.g., the European Pond Turtle Emys orbicularis) and 2 amphibian species. More than 80% of the bird species occurring in the site are protected on a national level, and several endemic species are present, such as the Corsican Fire Salamander Salamandra corsica. Traditional hunting is practiced in the site and it has been used for environmental education activities since 2008, mainly on World Wetlands Day. Threats include river bank erosion caused by flooding, the spread of the invasive plant Ailanthus altissima, and the use of agricultural fertilizers upstream. A management plan exists for the Forest Nature Reserve. Ramsar Site no. 1994. Most recent RIS information: 2011.

 FRANCE (outre-mer)

Basse-Mana. 08/12/93; Guyane Française; 59,000 ha; 05º40'N 053º54'W. Parc Naturel Régional (2001). A plain of sandy barrier beaches, freshwater and brackish swamps, marine clays, mudflats, unexploited mangrove forests, swampland forests and pinot palm (Euterpe oleracea) stands. The alternation between erosion and large mud deposits (mudflat formation), preceding future coastal growth, is noteworthy. The site provides important habitat for nesting turtles, wintering grounds for numerous species of waders and feeding, staging, nesting and breeding areas for waterbirds. Human activities include nature tourism, beach activities, fishing, hunting, farming, and conservation education. Most land is owned by the state but the Kalinas Amerindian people have right of usage. The site is an important turtle study and protection station and contains various archaeological or funerary sites. Consumption of marine turtle eggs has diminished but remains within the traditional rights of the Kalinas. Ramsar site no. 643. Most recent RIS information: 2007.

Estuaire du fleuve Sinnamary. 15/09/08; Guyane Française; 28,400ha; 05°25’ N 053°05’W. The site, located in French Guyana coast, represents a combination of intertidal mudflats, active sand flats, mangroves, freshwater swamps and seasonally flooded areas that extend towards the delta of the Sinnamary river. It represents the preferred habitat for the aquatic mammal Trichechus manatus, athreatened species in the Caribbean region. It is an important area for migratory birds, and Calidris pusilla winters here with up to 1,000,000 individuals. The site also serves as nesting and foraging area for the Green Turtle (chelonian mydas) and hosts the spectacled and dwarf caiman. The mangroves play an important role in coast protection and spawning ground. The site also hosts an important archeological site “la roche Milot” from the pre-Columbian era. Although hunting is prohibited, illegal practices are observed in the site. Ramsar site no. 1828. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

Etang des Salines. 15/09/08; Martinique; 207 ha; 14°25'N 060°50'W. A coastal lagoon in the south of Martinique located in the Lesser Antilles archipelago at the limit of the Saint Lucia Channel. The waters getting into the lagoon from the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea create special ecological characteristics which favor diversified and rich aquatic populations. The site is the last stop for many birds coming from North America before crossing the Saint Lucia Channel. Mangroves provide feeding ground for many invertebrates and other marine species. The area used to play an important role for the local livelihood thanks to its salt production and exploitation between the 18th and 20th centuries, hence the name of the lagoon. Beyond several threats related to pesticide and pollutants run-off, the tourism-related developments are becoming a problem in the area as the site includes one of the most popular beaches in Martinique with more than two million visitors a year. Ramsar site no. 1830. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

Grand Cul-de-Sac Marin de Guadeloupe. 08/12/93; Guadeloupe; 29,500 ha; 16º19'26"N 061º35'28"W. National Park, Biosphere Reserve. A vast lagoon, several islands and associated littoral zones along the Caribbean Sea, bounded to the north by a large coral reef. The littoral zone consists of brackish marshes, wet meadows, mudflats, freshwater swamp forests and, most importantly, mangroves. At 29°C, it is some of the warmest water to be found in the region. The site is an important area for fish, especially as nursery. Out of 600 known species of fish in the Caribbean region, 261 of them have been identified at the site. Numerous species of migratory, non-migratory and nesting birds use the site, many of them globally threatened. Human activities include small-scale fishing in mangrove areas, agriculture and tourism. The site, especially the mangrove area, is valuable in terms of sediment trapping, water purification, and storm protection. Threats to the area include mangrove and coral reef destruction, illegal waste dumping, overfishing and certain types of tourist activities. (The site was extended in 2012 from 20,000 ha.) Ramsar Site no. 642. Most recent RIS information: 2012.

Île d'Europa (Terres Australes et Antarctiques françaises). 27/10/11; Terres Australes et Antarctiques françaises; 205,800 ha; 22°21'00"S 040°21'00"E. Nature Reserve, Important Bird Area (IBA). A low-lying island of coral origin in the Mozambique Channel with a central lagoon enclosed by mangroves. The island itself is surrounded by a "fringing reef", interrupted by sandy beaches, which constitute one of the world's most important breeding and nesting sites for the globally endangered Green Sea Turtle Chelonia mydas. The site also offers habitat to the globally endangered Madagascar Pond Heron Ardeola idea, Fin whale Balaenoptera physalus and Hammerhead Shark Sphyrna lewini. It supports a high number of nesting sea birds including two subspecies endemic to the Indian Ocean: Audubon's Shearwater Puffinus lhermiieri bailloni and Sooty Tern Sterna fuscata nubilosa. Reefs, mangroves and sea grass beds are critical in protecting and stabilizing the island's coastline and supporting nesting bird and fish species. Largely undisturbed by human activities, the island is of great scientific significance, constituting an open-air laboratory for the study of the natural evolution of island ecosystems and global change. Threatening factors include introduced species such as goats and rats as well as several plant species. Ramsar Site number: 2073. Most recent RIS information: 2012.

La Vasière des Badamiers (Île de Mayotte - océan indien). 27/10/11; Île de Mayotte; 115 ha; 12°47'S 045°16'E. The site consists of a mud flat area partially covered by mangroves. Sea grass beds and different species of algae play a key role in maintaining the ecological character of this highly productive and diverse ecosystem, which is used as a refuge as well as a breeding, feeding and wintering site by many bird species, especially waders, but also by fish and turtles such as the Green Sea Turtle. The site is internationally important for the migration of the Lesser Crested Tern, as well as for the presence of several species endemic to the Comores Islands and Madagascar like the globally endangered Madagascar Heron and the spider Idioctis intertidalis living in the intertidal zone. The site acts as an important filter upstream of the connected lagoon especially in terms of urban discharge. Siltation, coastal erosion and urban development threaten the site. An educational path to experience the mangrove ecosystem and natural environment of Mayotte is under development. Ramsar Site no. 2002. Most recent RIS information: 2011.

Lagon de Moorea. 15/09/08; Polynésie française; 5,000 ha; 17°30’S 149°50W. A coral reef ecosystem developed in the tropical waters of Moorea island in the Archipel de la Société (Society Islands) west of Tahiti, also including beaches, permanent shallow marine waters, and saline lagoons. The coral reef system is one of the best known in the world –  it provides habitat for many marine endangered species such as corals, sponges, mollusks, crustaceous, and is also spawning ground for fishes. A number of waterbirds such as Pseudobulweria rostrata, Puffinus pacificu and Puffinus bailloni regularly reproduce here. Many of the human activities on the island are linked to the resources and services provided by this ecosystem for tourism, pleasure, and construction. One of the main threats is the increasing urbanization of the coastal zone. Ramsar site no. 1834. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

Les Lacs du Grand Sud néo-calédonien. 02/02/2014; Province Sud, Nouvelle-Calédonie; 43,970 ha; 22°08’23’’S 166°47’50’’E; Provincial Park, Nature Reserve, Habitat/Species Management Area, Protected area with sustainable use of natural resources. The largest freshwater reserve of New Caledonia, situated in the Great Lakes Region (Region des Grands Lacs) in South Province of Grande Terre, the main island. The site consists of tree-dominated wetlands, shrub-dominated marshes, and permanent and seasonal rivers, streams, creeks and lakes, including a reservoir. It is internationally important for the conservation of outstanding endemic species of flora and fauna; it supports vulnerable and endangered species which are important for the maintenance of biological diversity within the New Caledonian Moist Forests biogeographic region. The site, which includes an extensive underground karst system, plays an important role in flood regulation, water supply, maintenance of water quality and groundwater recharge. The artificial Yaté Lake, located at the centre of the site, provides 20% of the country’s energy needs. The area is also used for scientific research and outdoor recreational tourism including camping, hiking and kayaking. The main threats to its ecological character derive from fires, forestry, invasive species and mining in surrounding areas. Ramsar site no. 2194. Most recent RIS information: 2014.

Marais de Kaw. 08/12/93; Guyane Française; 137,000 ha; 04º38’N 052º06’W. Nature Reserve, Regional Nature Park. A vast grassland swamp, wide mudflats colonized by mangroves, and swamp forests bisected by small tidal rivers and dotted with ponds. The diverse wetland habitats and their continuity with the Amazon basin provide for a high diversity of flora and fauna exhibiting high levels of endemism and supporting various endangered species. The site includes internationally important habitat for numerous species of waterbirds using the site for feeding, breeding, and wintering. An important area for nature tourism, hunting, fishing, and scientific research. Ramsar site no. 644. Most recent RIS information: 2007.

Réserve Naturelle Nationale des Terres Australes Françaises. 15/09/08; Terres Australes et Antarctiques Françaises; 2,270,000 ha; [43°07’S 063°51’E]. Nature Reserve. In the southern Indian Ocean, two sub-Antarctic archipelagos – Crozet and Kerguelen – and the subtropical islands of Amsterdam and Saint-Paul. The site includes a great variety of inland and marine coastal wetland types such as peatlands, marshes, and lakes but also rocky shores, estuaries and fjords. The islands are widely separated by open sea, and so the centre coordinate given above is purely notional. The Reserve supports many endemic species, amongst which Anas eatoni drygalski and Anas eatoni eatoni are also considered Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List. The islands represent an important refuge and reproduction ground for millions of migratory birds. Many marine mammals such as the sea elephant (Mirounga leonina) and the Antarctic seal (Arctocephalus tropicalis) are well represented here with a population of 130,000 individuals in Kerguelen and around 27,000 in Saint Paul and Amsterdam. The major threat is due to the introduction of non-native species like cats and rats that they are leading to the population decline of many bird species. Ramsar site no. 1837. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

Zones humides et marines de Saint-Martin. 27/10/11; Saint-Martin; 2,997 ha; 18°05'N 063°05'W. Protected Biotope, Nature Reserve. Shallow marine waters, sea grass beds, coral reefs, mangroves, lagoons and a network of 14 ponds dispersed throughout the French side of the island. The ponds are influenced by the sea and serve as feeding, breedig and wintering areas for as many as 85 bird species, many of them threatened and some endemic. The marine part of the site harbours most of the coral reef areas surrounding the island and is habitat to several endangered and critically endangered sea turtles such as Leatherback Dermochelys coriacea. It constitutes a feeding and spawning area for more than 100 species of fish and is also important as shelter, nursery and migration path. The site fulfills a diverse set of ecological functions like water flow regulation, oxygenation of water, stabilization and storm protection as well as the reduction of pollutant loads entering the Sea. The marine part of the site is used for recreational activities such as diving, sailing, kayaking and surfing. Threats include poaching, water pollution from sewage, and extreme weather events as well as increasing water temperatures. Ramsar Site no. 2029. Most recent RIS information: 2012.

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