The Mediterranean basin is considered to be one of the planet's biodiversity hotspots and is, in particular, an exceptional zone for flora, with 10% of the world's plant diversity and many endemic species. The Calanques national park, established in 2012 and located in southern France, is a Natura 2000 network site, in which more than half of its coastal habitats are of Community interest (238 ha). These coastal habitats are based in peri-urban areas, and are subject to high anthropogenic pressure (e.g. urbanisation, tourism) that have led to dramatic change and progressive decline over 105 ha. Management to improve these degraded habitats and their declining species’ populations in peri-urban areas, especially at the town/country level, is incomplete, with further work also needed at the international level (i.e. knowledge, management and evaluation methods).
The objective of LIFE HABITATS CALANQUES is to restore and manage coastal habitats listed in Annex I of the Habitats Directive, along with their associated rare and endemic species. The project is a partnership between Agence Régionale pour l'Environnement (ARPE) and the Calanques national park with landowners and managers in the target Natura 2000 network site. It focuses on the Provence coastline of Europe's first peri-urban national park. The project team will compile a report on experimental conservation and management methods in Europe, and adapt the best available techniques for peri-urban coastlines. Moreover, the project will produce best practice guidelines for integrated coastal management, focusing on how to protect outstanding and fragile natural heritage while also developing economically-important recreational uses of the area.
Specific objectives include:
Expected results: LIFE HABITATS CALANQUES will help restore habitats and species in an environment under strong anthropogenic pressure, identify best practices for the protection of peri-urban coastlines, and share its findings on Mediterranean coastal habitat conservation throughout Europe.
Restoration of coastal habitats in the Calanques:
Changes in individual and group behaviour:
Tools for the transfer of experience and skills, at national and European levels: