Protecting populations of open-terrain birds

Initial study (Action A2)

Vautour percnoptere GFrechet

Other than the shooting ranges and manoeuvre zones, which are managed and de-weeded, the general trend is one of encroaching vegetation on previously open terrain. This, in turn, is gradually depleting the natural habitats of remarkable bird species listed at the site.

Vegetation clearance and pastoralism-based land management activities are therefore required to restore and maintain open environments and encourage  An initial study will be carried out to ascertain the scale of these activities, identify overgrowth patterns, and determine the target locations and operations necessary to remove such vegetation overgrowth. The study will also measure the site's pastoral potential, identify livestock farmers to manage the land and locate the necessary pastoral equipment (water points and livestock enclosures). The restoration work will take the specific safety and military activity requirements into consideration.

 

Restoring the habitats of bird species of community importance (Action C2)

The aim of this action is to restore and conserve a high-priority habitant classified as "pseudo-steppe with grasses and annuals (Thero-Brachypodietea)" (EUR15 code: 6220).

This will involve several operations on the existing vegetation, including tree-felling and clearing using animals, uprooting, and grinding (with the by-products either exported or subject to controlled burning). These spaces will be maintained by a dedicated herd.   

The use of these areas as pastoral farmland will require the installation of certain items of equipment:

  • Installation of cattle enclosures in areas where human patrols cannot be deployed due to the presence of military activity
  • Construction of two dry-stone ponds to collect surface run-off water. These temporary water points will provide drinking water for the herd, and will also be of benefit to wild animals.

 

Restoring the food source of raptor species of community importance (Action C3)

Aigle Bonelli2 SK 2010

The European Rabbit is a prey species for the Bonelli's Eagle (and to a lesser extent, the Eurasian Eagle-Owl) that has long been present on the Saint-Nicolas plateau. However its population numbers are on the decline due to the advance of vegetation and the various diseases that affect this species. Work will be undertaken to re-establish population centres on the Garrigues camp, including the construction of eight dry-stone warrens in which individual animals can be acclimatised and housed. Some 400 rabbits will be released on a staggered basis.

When combined with pastoral activity, the creation of an experimental food plot supplied by the farmer will provide a food source for the Egyptian Vulture.

 

 

Useful links

Bonelli's Eagle National Action Plan website: http://www.aigledebonelli.fr

LPO Raptor Mission website, Egyptian Vulture National Action Plan section: http://rapaces.lpo.fr/vautour-percnoptere/suivi-et-conservation

 

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Camp des Garrigues