Introduction

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A real concentration of Alpine and Mediterranean habitats, Mont Ventoux Biosphere Reserve centres on the “Géant de Provence” (giant of Provence – Mont Ventoux), and is characterized by an impressive overlapping of flora and fauna species. Mediterranean habitats and species are juxtaposed with their Alpine counterparts, due to a steep elevational gradient, in addition to strong contrasts between the southern and northern slopes.

Mont Ventoux is a land of contrast, in terms of both its altitude (1909 m) and its geographic location – midway between temperate and Mediterranean climates. The massif thus has a surprising diversity of habitats which are home to many plant and animal species, some of which are extremely rare.

Administrative authority: Syndicat Mixte d’Aménagement et d’Equipement du Mont Ventoux (authority on development of the Mont Ventoux region)

Since 1990, this authority has been in charge of planning, coordinating and implementing Mont Ventoux Biosphere Reserve projects.

Since 1996, a Management Committee, comprising elected representatives, administrators, managers, users of the Reserve and local associations, has been assisting the administrative authority in its choices. The Committee drafted the Reserve’s management plan, planning the projects to be implemented to protect and enhance natural heritage sites and landscapes, and support sustainable economic development and education. Finally, a Scientific Council, composed of representatives from both natural sciences and human sciences, also provides the Biosphere reserve with guidance.


 

Number of municipalities34
Population45,000
Area    90,000 ha
RegionsProvence Alpes Côte d’Azur
DepartmentsVaucluse (84)
Creation date1990

Territory

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carte du territoire

The site has been significantly shaped by the human hand, as evidenced by the extensive reforestation of the massif initiated in the late 19th century. Its foothills are decidedly rural, dominated by agriculture (vineyards, fragrant plants, fruit, etc.), tourism, and the service sector. Yet the future of the agricultural economy remains uncertain, following the wine industry crisis, the decline in lavender cultivation, international competition, etc. The challenge for agriculture now is the development of links between the production of quality local products (both in terms of taste and "health effects") and a strong relationship with the landscape and environmental awareness, across all industries.

Spared from mass tourism, Mont Ventoux Biosphere Reserve prefers “active tourism”, which is respectful of the environment and its inhabitants. Development of this sector depends on natural resources (i.e. outdoor physical activities), which is reinforced by its image as an excellent cycle tourism destination.

The remarkable nature of the species and habitats that make up the Biosphere reserve allowed it to be nominated for inclusion in the Natura 2000 network.

The main conservation objectives of Natura 2000 sites, which cover more than 4,000 hectares in total, are preservation of open spaces, maintenance of forest dynamics in reforestation areas, conservation of semi-natural forest habitats, compatibility of recreational activities with conservation of habitats and species, as well as improving public awareness and visitor experience.

Various programmes have thus been established to meet the sites’ environmental challenges:

  • redressing scrub encroachment by clearing, cutting down, and chipping trees or controlled burning
  • maintaining open spaces created by livestock farming
  • designating old growth management areas and/or senescent tree management areas
  • monitoring habitats and species
  • providing facilities for outdoor sports and protected species conservation
  • maintaining a network of nest boxes for bats
  • conducting public awareness and communication campaigns

Activities  

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Plan National d'Actions Vipère d'Orsini

Espèce peu connue, la Vipère d'Orsini est un serpent de petite taille des Préalpes provençales. Menacée d'extinction à l'échelle internationale pour des raisons diverses telles que la raréfaction de son habitat, le développement du tourisme et de l'urbanisation en montagne, ainsi que les actes de destructions volontaires et les prélèvements illégaux, l’espèce a fait l’objet d’un Plan de Restauration. Différents organismes se sont ainsi associés pour mener des actions telles que des suivis et recherches de population, des opérations de restauration d'habitat, des missions de surveillance et de sensibilisation, des conceptions d'outils de communication… en vue de préserver les populations existantes.

Sur le site du Mont Ventoux, le SMAEMV/Réserve de Biosphère était responsable de la concertation et des actions de surveillance et de sensibilisation, en partenariat avec l'Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage.

Plan National d'Actions Chevêche d'Athéna

Encore commune en France il y a 60 ans, la Chouette Chevêche (Athena noctua) est un petit rapace nocturne qui connaît malheureusement un déclin de ses effectifs en France de l’ordre de 20% à 50% depuis une trentaine d’années en raison d’une raréfaction des cavités (vieux arbres fruitiers, cabanons,…) qui lui sont nécessaires pour se reproduire. Dans le cadre du Plan National d'Actions, un recensement des mâles chanteurs de chevêche mené en 2010 dans le Vaucluse a permis d’identifier certaines communes du mont Ventoux comme les principaux bastions de l’espèce, dont la commune de Mazan marquée par une forte densité de cabanons et de vieux arbres creux (cerisiers, amandiers).

Le programme pédagogique "Ecocitoyenneté et Solidarité à l’Ecole"

En collaboration avec de multiples partenaires locaux en Education au Développement  Durable (EDD), la Réserve de Biosphère portée par le SMAEMV a impulsé, à l’attention des écoles des 34 communes de son périmètre, un programme pédagogique intitulé « Écocitoyenneté et solidarité à l’école ». Elle propose ainsi aux enseignants un cadre et des outils pour sensibiliser et former les élèves aux grandes questions écologiques de ce siècle.

Slideshow

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Chargement légende

Wine cellar, Beaumont du Ventoux_P.Aguilar - SMAEMVField of lavender_P.Aguilar - SMAEMVOlive grove_P.Aguilar - SMAEMVCombe de Fonfiole_P.Aguilar - SMAEMVFigurine manufacturing_P.Aguilar - SMAEMVForest in autumn_P.Aguilar - SMAEMV
Forest in autumn_P.Aguilar - SMAEMVBee-eaters_P.Aguilar - SMAEMVCycling, an activity that defines the Ventoux region_P.Aguilar - SMAEMVRhaetian Poppies, Provence_P.Aguilar - SMAEMVTraditional markets_P.Aguilar - SMAEMVAn ancient forest on the north side_P.Aguilar - SMAEMV
An ancient forest on the north side_P.Aguilar - SMAEMVGrape harvest_P.Aguilar - SMAEMVVillage of Brantes_P.Aguilar - SMAEMV