France Designates Two Ramsar Sites
27 January 2012: The Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention) has announced that the Government of France has designated two Wetlands of International Importance, bringing its total number of Ramsar Sites to 38.
The first site, "La Vasière des Badamiers" on the Indian Ocean island of Mayotte, consists of a mud flat area partially covered by mangroves. The site serves as a refuge as well as a breeding, feeding and wintering site to many bird species, fish and turtles. It is also internationally important for the migration of some seabirds, as well as for the presence of several species endemic to the Comoros Islands and Madagascar. Threats to the site include siltation, coastal erosion and urban development.
The second site, the Tourbière de Moltifao, a Forest Nature Reserve, is located on the island of Corsica. It provides habitat to several species of flora that are protected at national, European and international levels, as well as numerous regionally and nationally protected species of fauna. Over 80 percent of the bird species occurring in the site are protected on a national level, and several endemic species are present. Threats to the site include: river bank erosion caused by flooding; the spread of the invasive plant Ailanthus altissima; and the use of agricultural fertilizers upstream.
France's designations contribute to one of the goals contained in the Ramsar Convention's Strategic Plan for 2009-2015, which is to reach a protected area of 250 million hectares by 2015. [Ramsar Press Release]