Stage 10: Périgueux > Bergerac
Overview of a Perigourdain site
The stage on 11 July crosses the Vallées de Beunes Natura 2000 site (FR7200666). This site is part of the Perigord Sarladais natural unit, which is characterised by sharp terrain, valleys and steep combes.
It truly is a ecological mosaic that is symbolic of internationally renowned Perigord.
What natural landscapes and habitats are there to explore?
The Vallées de Beunes site has various natural habitats, in a succession of dry limestone rich hills with Mediterranean vegetation and valleys dotted with wetlands, which are sometimes peaty. The grasslands and dry moors are environments of major ecological interest. They develop on the sunny, limestone-rich hills and have a particular scenic value. The site also contains alkaline low marshes, known locally as "fenasses", which are wet meadows that form unique and remarkable environments in terms of flora and fauna.
On this iconic Natura 2000 site there are also many megaphorbias (lush meadows between wetlands and forests), alder groves, holly oak forests, and stonewort ponds.
What species are found there?
As regards fauna, the site is a refuge for species that have become rare. Mammals such as the otter can still be observed, as well as several species of bats of European interest. Remarkable invertebrates have also long sheltered there, such as the southern damselfly, the orange-spotted emerald dragonfly, the marsh fritillary butterfly and the white-clawed crayfish. There are also several fish species, such as sculpins and lampreys, and birds such as kingfishers and water rails.
Rare plant species can also be observed, represented by a multitude of orchids that embellish the landscape with their colours.
This natural and landscape richness is an asset in the development of this rural and tourist region, whose cultural heritage is equally exceptional.
State of conservation and conservation measures
A continuous degradation of these natural environments has been observed, the main cause of which is the decline of agriculture. Restoring and maintaining a good state of conservation in these environments, particularly grasslands and meadows of Community interest, require the pursuit of traditional agro-pastoral farming methods.
Another issue is water, which is key to maintaining many habitats on the site. Managing water systems is therefore essential. Checking water levels is vital:
- water levels should not be too high so as to allow the fenasses to be maintained and prevent them from changing into marshes or wooded areas.
- water levels should not be too low to avoid causing the depletion or permanent disappearance of the fenasses.
12 municipalities and 5510 ha
7 habitats of Community interest
15 species of Community interest, including 5 species of birds