“Defending the Camarque against the sea is not a vain struggle”

Tribune. The beautiful interview of the ecologist and geographer Raphaël Mathevet on the “ecology of the wild” in the Camargue in the World of August 4 calls out. Why try to keep the flamingo in the Camargue, when the species is naturally nomadic, he explains, and when the State has decided to “Renature” the middle? Combating coastal erosion and rising sea levels would be futile and costly.

We can move the kaleidoscope and give a completely different interpretation of the facts. In the Fangassier pond, 13,000 pairs of flamingos used to nest. Bird watchers and photographers loved this place which had a unique observation hut. Today the pond has become a land swept by salt and wind, which the flamingos have deserted.

No less beautiful

When the Coastal Conservatory bought back the land belonging to the Salins du Midi, in fact, it ceased to maintain the pumps and the dikes, and sea water entered. The conditions for the flamingos’ nesting have disappeared, because the entry of the sea led to the disappearance of the small pink shrimp on which they feed.

The avian emblem of Camargue then fell back to the west of the delta, on the side of Aigues-Mortes (outside the geographic Camargue located between the two arms of the Rhône), where the Salins du Midi continue to practice their activity. salt cellar, and salt concentration ponds create the right conditions for the flamingo.

Archives: The Camargue, fragile lace eaten away by global warming

Who decided that the Camargue did not deserve to be defended against the sea, that it was costly and unnecessary, when 15,000 people live there year round and are at the origin of the beauty of its natural heritage and cultural ? Why was the pond of Vaccarès, of which the centuries-old junipers of Phenicia were considered so precious, was it downgraded to a maritime zone, as if we accepted the disappearance of the mythical woods of the Rièges?

Defending the Camargue against the sea is not a vain struggle. Because the landscapes and the culture that we love so much in the delta are the product of human activities: the flamingos come from the salt industry, the breeding of bulls and horses, rice cultivation, which desalinates the land . These are productive and creative activities of wealth, which make the Camargue what another geographer, Bernard Picon, qualifies as an agri-industrial polder. The wild in the Camargue is made, but that doesn’t make it any less beautiful and attractive!

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