Site monitoring programme in the Camargue, France

Site monitoring programme in the Camargue, France

27 March 2007

How much is your Ramsar site changing ?

This is the question that Tour du Valat Biological Station investigated in 2006 for the Camargue (Rhône delta), the first Ramsar site to be designated in France. For a number of decades, over 40 institutions have been monitoring hundreds of indicators on hydrology, habitats, fauna and flora, human activities, pollutions etc. However the results were dispersed over hundreds of publications, unpublished reports, public or « closed » databases..., and usually inaccessible to a wide audience.

A collective endeavour, the « Camargue Observatory », was therefore launched in 2001 by six key technical and land-managing bodies located in the delta. Within this framework, the compilation of this data was launched in 2006. The first thematic synthesis have just been put online (sorry, in French only!), and the last ones will follow in the coming weeks : see the downloadables on :

An extract of the meta-database (« Who is monitoring what, where, since when … ») is available online, too. It lists all the ca. 2000 parameters which are (more or less) regularly monitored.

It must be stressed that this compilation of both routine surveillances and proper monitoring programmes is only a first contribution towards the Camargue Observatory, the ultimate aims of which are to assist (i) decision-making on the delta and (ii) the evaluation of relevant public policies. Consequently, the next crucial stage will be the development of relevant indicators, some of which may be built incorporating some of the 2000 parameters, whilst some others will need new monitoring procedures.

We would be glad to hear of similar monitoring initiatives worldwide : please contact Christian Perennou at :

Christian Perennou
Chef de Projet / Project Leader
Station Biologique de la Tour du Valat

Le Sambuc, 13200 Arles - FRANCE
Tél. ++33 (0) 4 90 97 29 82 ; Fax ++33 (0) 4 90 97 20 19

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