In summer, the Episy marsh is teeming with dragonflies. The site hosts around forty species, or 70% of those found in Ile-de-France. At the beginning of December, the insects, birds and other reptiles which inhabit this sensitive natural space (ENS) located near Fontainebleau, in Seine-et-Marne, are discreet. Two Camargue horses and two Galloway cows graze one part of the wetland, the other being mown once a year. “We have reinstated these two practices of mowing and grazing to avoid the natural closure of the environment and allow a diversification of the fauna and flora”, explains Sylvestre Plancke, in charge of ENS management plans in the department.
The peat bog of Episy is a success story: since 2014, it has been on the green list of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which identifies the protected areas whose management is effective for the safeguard of species and whose governance is equitable. Less well-known than the Red List, which lists the most endangered species on the planet, this green list currently only has 49 members from fifteen countries, out of some 240,000 protected areas identified at scale. global.
An old observation
Launched in 2012, this label was born from a long-standing observation: while the surface area of protected areas continues to grow, biodiversity continues to erode. “This is because we are destroying more ecosystems outside protected areas, but also because some of these areas do not function as they should, affirms Thierry Lefebvre, responsible for the green list within the IUCN Protected Areas program. The objective is to create a dynamic to improve the management of these spaces, by setting up tools to be able to evaluate the effectiveness of practices and by establishing a culture of results. “
Switching from a quantitative approach to a more qualitative approach: the United Nations reiterated the need for this by taking stock in September of a decade of global conservation policies. While the area of protected areas increased from 10% to 15% of land and from 3% to 7% of seas between 2010 and 2020, progress in their representativeness or management has been much more modest. In 2020, only 11% of them assessed the effectiveness of their management. According to a 2019 analysis of 2,000 sites, less than a quarter of protected areas have adequate staff and budget resources. Other indicator: only half of the 252 natural world heritage sites, that is to say the most precious places on the planet, have effective management and protection methods.
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