A win-win partnership for forest economy and biodiversity

 A win-win partnership for forest economy and biodiversity
  • Meeting point : Ermitage de Franchard
  • 2.30 – 4 PM
  • By Gaëtane Hay, Cheffe du service Accueil Biodiversité de l’agence ONF Ile de France Est
  • English translation : direct

Context/ Background: For a very long time, foresters have sought to put an end to the practice of grazing in the forest which compromised afforestation. In the forest of Fontainebleau, this pastoral practice was reduced with the important afforestation carried out in the 19th century. But, the areas that were being sought to forest have since revealed their richness in terms of biodiversity and the forester now seeks to preserve a mosaic of habitats.
In charge of the forest of Fontainebleau, ONF has been experimenting, since 2015, with ecopasture. A partnership with a young shepherd authorizes him to graze his flock of sheep on sites of great ecological interest. This aims to ensure the conservation and restoration of open areas: heaths, lawns ... interesting in terms of biodiversity.
These unwooded landscapes, where heather and calluna extend, shelter a rare and singular biodiversity. Many protected birds like the Dartford Warbler and Caprimulgus europaeus enjoy these environments. 
With grazing, ONF wants to control vegetative growth. By consuming plants, sheep are helping to maintain biodiversity on these sites. This action complements the environmental work - brush clearing and mechanized methods - undertaken by ONF.

The visit: A visit of the grazed sites in the presence of the shepherd will show the open environments concerned by this practice. Some exchange on the methods of implementation of the pasture in forest environment and in particular the needs for research of zones of external pastures will be discussed.