The Auvergne Rhône Alpes Hunters- Large-scale French restoration Epic

December 15, 2022 FACE

680 km of hedges planted by hunters since 1990 in Auvergne Rhône-Alpes (France) to restore ecological continuity and local biodiversity.

Hedgerows are an important source of biodiversity, providing habitat, food and breeding grounds for many species. In agriculture, they can provide protection against bad weather and sun for livestock and crops, as well as protection against soil erosion and pollution, particularly from nitrates. The production of wood by hedgerows not only offers an economic advantage to their operators but also plays a positive role on the climate through carbon sequestration. In addition to these aspects, hedgerows today constitute an important landscape heritage in our territory.

Despite the multiple ecological, agricultural and economic roles of hedges, the hedgerow system remains fragile in France and several hundred kilometres of hedgerows continue to be degraded each year.

In Auvergne Rhône-Alpes, the first hedgerow plantings by the hunters’ federations were carried out in the 1990s. It is to provide shelter and restore movement corridors for hunting wildlife that the FDCs are working to re-establish a functional hedgerow network. Thus, several kilometres of hedges are planted each year in the region by hunters. In Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, a total of more than 680 km of hedges have been planted by the hunters’ federations since the 1990s, including 110 km planted during the 2021-2022 season. Due to the strong common interest of the hunters’ federations, the creation of a regional project setting up a regional working group on hedges, collective training of technical services, is a good way to improve the knowledge and skills of each federation to guarantee and promote sustainable management of hedges in AuRA. Thus, in 2021, a regional coordination unit in favour of hedges was set up within the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes Regional Hunting Federation. This project is entirely financed by the eco-contribution fund managed by the Office Français de la Biodiversité and the Fédération Nationale des Chasseurs.

POLICY RELEVANCE

Nature Restoration Law: The European Commission has put forward a proposal for legally binding EU nature restoration targets in 2022. Restoring EU’s ecosystems will help to increase biodiversity, mitigate and adapt to climate change, and prevent and reduce the impacts of natural disasters. This story stands as an excellent example of how hunters are already contributing to delivering the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy for 2030. It accurately describes what can be accomplished for biodiversity and how to achieve those results.

Conclusion
Nowadays, the increase in public policies in favour of hedges has led to a clear increase in the number of hedges planted in recent years by the hunters in France. Increase in the number of hedgerows planted in recent years by hunters’ federations in France. Every year, several hundred planting projects are carried out throughout France thanks to hunters to funding programmes, notably from Europe, the French State, the Regional and Departmental Councils, but also from regional and departmental councils, but also local authorities, associations and private
and private organisations.

Country: France
Species: European Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur), Chêne vert (Quercus ilex) bouleau blanc/Silver Birch (Betula pendula)
Species characteristics: Management of habitats and wildlife, Research and data collection
Type of actions: Management of habitats and wildlife, Nature education and awareness,
Leading partner: Office Français de la Biodiversité and the Fédération Nationale des Chasseurs.
Other partners: Hunting organisations, Local governments

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