The army and biodiversity
In France, 47 military sites, covering a total area of 80,000 hectares out of the 275,000 belonging to the army, benefit from an agreement with the local Conservatoires d’Espaces Naturels. These sites are important biodiversity reserves, and more and more of them are being protected and managed ecologically by these environmental associations on land protected from urban, industrial and agricultural activities.
The collaboration between the army and the CEN is not new – the first agreement dates back to 1991 – but it has intensified every year since 2009. On 28 January in Saumur, an awareness-raising morning was organised as part of World Wetlands Day, followed by a participatory work camp.
It was an ideal opportunity to learn more about the ecological issues at stake at Saumur and other French military sites. Why did the army partner with an association rather than manage the site in-house? Are environmental protection and military activities compatible? What are the communication challenges for the army? Why should the general public be interested?
Juliette Cottin, rédactrice
Quentin Hulo, photographe