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LIFE+ NATURE PROGRAMME DEVOTED TO THE PYRENEAN DESMAN

The LIFE+ project (LIFE13NAT/FR/000092) seeks to improve in a sustainable and concrete manner the conservation status of the Pyrenean Desman on 11 Natura 2000 sites, and further down the line, to extend it across the Pyrenees by replicating the methods and tools developed on the initial sites. The objectives of the project are:

  • to adapt certain practices in order to reconcile the conservation of the Desman with human activity, that is mainly, hydroelectric installations - which are present across the Pyrenees, small installations to capture and release water, and outdoor sports;
  • to arrive at a situation where this species is taken into account systematically in the management of Pyrenean water bodies, both in the case of building or renovation works, and in everyday habitat management;
  • to develop, test and evaluate measures to manage these habitats, which will be transferable to the whole chain of the French Pyrenees – or even across Europe – and will improve each site’s hosting potential, to support the ecological continuity of waterways and to offer refuge areas in the event of strong environmental disturbances; and,
  • to raise awareness about the species and to inform locals and the general public about the need to protect this fragile Pyrenean animal.

These objectives are broken down into 29 actions as outlined in the actions/activities section.

A PARTNERSHIP PROGRAMME

The CEN Midi-Pyrénées has sought to bring together a network of 5 partners specialised in the study and management of water bodies and who are recognized as such locally (FRNCPNR des Pyrénées CatalanesFédération Aude ClaireANA et PNP). This network will in turn rely on numerous partners who manage water bodies and conduct scientific research.

A sixth partner, the LPO, has also been brought into the network for its experience in terms of environmental education and of coordinating a network of 50 structures specialised in raising awareness about biodiversity in the Pyrenees.

Additional partners are also significantly involved in the technical and scientific aspects of the project (see Partners/ Partenaires section).

What SITES WE WILL BE WORKING ON

The activities will be implemented across a network of 11 Natura 2000 Pyrenean priority sites for the conservation of the Desman, which comprise:

  • areas of higher elevation, which host source populations of the species (Alpine biogeographical region),
  • connected sites in the eastern part of the mountain chain, where the highest density populations are to be found (Alpine/Mediterranean region), and
  • areas where the species appears to have undergone a marked decline, notably to the west of its habitat range (Atlantic region).