Buying meadows for Black-tailed godwit conservation in France!
The “Marais Breton” (46.987867, -1.960771) is one of the last strongholds for breeding Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa limosa in France. The area supports up to 60% of the French population (~150-170 pairs). Whilst the importance of other sites in France continues to decrease, the population in the Marais Breton remains stable and even increasing mainly due to conservation action by The Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux LPO Vendée (local delegation of the Birdlife partner in France).
For several years now, LPO Vendée has been working with young livestock farmers to improve farming practices – extensive, organic, pesticide-free farming – that provide environmental benefits, especially on wetlands. These wildlife-friendly farmers (“Paysans de nature”), for whom protecting biodiversity is equally important as producing better agricultural products, consider the space left for wildlife on their farms. For instance, several of the farmers deliberately flooded meadows in spring to make land suitable for the settlement and breeding success of waders and waterfowl (including Black-winged Stilt, Black-tailed Godwit, Common Redshank, Ruff, Common Snipe, Northern Lapwing, Northern Shoveler, Pintail, Eurasian Wigeon, Teal and Garganey).
In addition to land management, LPO Vendée also acts in an advisory role to provide assistance and support to these farmers for better integration of biodiversity and farming. The project has been successful to date, with farmers also involved in biological monitoring, as well as public outreach activities. They have therefore become real ambassadors of nature conservation and volunteer wardens of a new kind of nature reserve.
In this context, along with 2 other organizations from the “Marais Breton” and 3 young farmers, LPO Vendée is purchasing 200 acres of flood meadows close to the current breeding area of the population of Black-tailed Godwit. This vital work has the potential to extend the existing breeding habitat by 35%, but will not be possible without the generous support of the public so the LPO Vendée has launched a crowdfunding campaign on the French platform Ulule. The campaign has already raised €10,000 but their target is €15,000 euros to extend this conservation work.
You can learn more and contribute to the campaign here: https://fr.ulule.com/ferme-cochets/
If you wish to contribute by bank transfer, please contact Perrine Dulac at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LPO Vendée will be very happy to welcome IWSG members wishing to visit the area!
Featured image: Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa limosa ©Rémi Bontemps.