The Life Défense Nature 2 Mil project kick-off seminar took place on 12 June 2013 at one of the project's four experimental sites, the Aspretto naval base. Despite the air-traffic control strike, around 40 people attended the event in these magnificent surroundings.
The morning session was highly educational and instructive:
- Civilian and military representatives from the French Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) realigned the ministry's biodiversity preservation policy under the environment arm of a more general sustainable development policy (see slide show) and presented examples of the environmental management activities carried out by natural space managers at military camps (see speech from LCL Mattéi). At some camps, biodiversity management forms part of the day-to-day management activities.
- Representatives of Conservatoires des Espaces Naturels talked about this local partnership established around 15 years ago, and which now features 29 partnership agreements across France (see points covered by the CEN Federation). They also discussed the shared values that have emerged with military institutions and the positive impact that these have had on the protected environments, resulting in a genuine partnership surrounding the Life project (see points covered by CEN Rhône-Alpes).
- The morning session also featured a comprehensive presentation of the Life Défense Nature 2 Mil project. This presentation demonstrated the exceptional biodiversity found at military bases, covering the species and habitats at the four experimental sites. It also focused on the national ambition to publish and circulate results through cross-disciplinary actions (see CEN Rhône-Alpes slide show).
The afternoon session focused specifically on the Aspretto naval base, where an Audouin's Gull colony has been introduced, in the hope that it will breed. The Regional Directorate for the Environment, Planning and Housing (DREAL) talked about the history of the colony on the sea wall (see DREAL slide show)) and CEN Corsica gave a presentation on completed and planned activities to protect the colony as part of the Life project (see CEN Corsica slide show). We then had the opportunity to observe the animals in their habitat (adults and chicks).
You can download the press kit here.