Why such a centre ?
Its wide experience through the Life-Nature programme "Peatlands of France" (1995-1999) enabled Espaces Naturels de France, Fédération des conservatoires d’espaces naturels, coordinator of the programme, to be commissioned by the Ministry of Ecology and Sustainable Development for the setting up, management and animation of a national resource centre about the knowledge, the sustainable management and the assessment of mires on the French territory.
This centre was created according to the National Wetlands Action Plan launched in 1995 by the French government, and based on the fact that one third of the original wetland surface had disappeared in France within the past 30 years.
The implementation and the management of the Resource Centres were devoted to national or regional structures known for their accurate experience in the field of the management of the different types of wetlands in France. They receive financial support through the National Office of Water and Aquatic Biotops (ONEMA).
Five Resource Centres have been implemented : they respectively focus on :
- Atlantic marshes,
- Mediterranean lagoons,
- Inland wetlands (lakes, ponds, marshes), flood plains,
- Mires, wet heaths,
- Mangroves and wetlands of overseas territories
The general aims of the five resource centre focus on four main items :
- to identify and develop tools for monitoring and assessing measures taken in favour of wetlands,
- to promote the coherence of public policies,
- to start the environmental restoration of wetlands,
- to implement information and increase the environmental awareness.
The need for developing and supporting new projects for a sustainable management of wetlands quickly appeared. Thus, the task devoted to the five Resources Centres, including the Mire Resource Centre, aim at :
- gathering and giving access to the knowledge about the management and development of wetlands, implementing a who’s who in the field of mire conservation, then gathering and enabling the access to the useful information,
- promoting a sustainable management through the support of favourable local policies, through advices and help, and also through the development of partnerships between managers,
- assessing the results of and collaborating to the measures of the National Wetlands Action Plan, by a periodic assessment of the actions implemented, by informing about the problems identified and the solutions found to face them.
The " Mire " Resource Centre is located in Eastern France, in Franche-Comté, a region rich in mires. Animated by a staff of four people, the Centre is supported by a network of correspondents : scientists, managers of various organisations, and members of the Administrations involved in the sustainable management of mires in France. This network receive a bimestrial electronic letter "Tourbières infos", which enables a fast information flow about the main regional or national actions in the field of the sustainable management of mires.
A documentation centre is open in Besançon (Dept. Doubs) ; animated by a documentalist, it gradually gathers an important information collection devoted to the ecology and management of mires. The access to the documentation basis is also possible (through Internet). This Centre publishes bibliographical synthesis about useful subjects for managers. It also publishes, for instance, the newsletter "l’Echo des Tourbières", and animates this web site for public information.
The staff of the Centre gives scientific and technical support to local managers having to face particular problems. They particularly support regions whose "mire-rich areas" did not benefit from enough actions, in terms of inventories as well as of management programmes.
The Resource centre proposes actions for increasing public awareness and actions targeted to the different users and managers of mires. In the field of Forestry, training courses, help for the management or the restoration of sites will be enhanced through an agreement with the National Forestry Board (ONF). In the field of agriculture, a special care concerns the re-conduction and enhancement of the agri-environment trials, using tools like Natura 2000 management contracts, … As for peat extraction, the Resource Centre promotes "Peat free composts". In relation with the extraction companies and the "Natura 2000" sites managers concerned, advices to develop new products and to restore damaged sites are given.
Finally, the Resource Centre links the field managers and the concerned administrative services to reveal local situations and difficulties and propose measures for the public policies related to wetlands to be more coherent.
To provide its missions, the Resource Centre has a management committee, and a scientific council chaired by Dr André-Jean Francez (University of Rennes).
Project manager : Francis MULLER
Information manager : Ludivine COINCENOT
Technical and scientific officer : Grégory BERNARD
Secretary : Stéphanie BLAIS
Pôle-relais tourbières, Fédération des Conservatoires d’espaces naturels, MEFC, 7 rue Voirin, 25000 Besançon, France.
Documents available in English
Peat and Peatlands conference, Lamoura, Jura, France, October 2007.