INTERVIEW WITH EMMANUEL FURTEAU
COORDINATOR OF THE SOUTH MOSELLE BIOSPHERE RESERVE
WHAT IS A BIOSPHERE RESERVE ?
"A biosphere reserve is a tool. A tool created 50 years ago within the framework of UNESCO's scientific programme "Man and the Biosphere". This programme - Man and the Biosphere in French - has spread 727 biosphere reserves throughout the world in 131 countries, including 22 transboundary sites. The South Moselle Biosphere Reserve was created on 15 September. This territory project has a surface area of 1400 km² for 138 municipalities. The missions carried out in the biosphere reserves are numerous, but they all have in common the cohabitation between Man, his activities and the natural and cultural heritage. A biosphere reserve is the recognition of an exceptional territory, and the will of the people who live there to preserve it for future generations. "
WHAT ARE THE OBJECTIVES?
"In partnership with the stakeholders of the area (about forty different structures), the South Moselle Biosphere Reserve has defined five major missions: to build a territorial project, to preserve its natural heritage, to support sustainable development, to promote and transmit its heritage, and to preserve its cultural heritage. In concrete terms, the aim is to preserve remarkable ecosystems and the species of fauna and flora they shelter, by developing and sharing sustainable management practices for natural or artificial areas. "
WHAT ARE THE MAJOR ATTRACTIONS OF THE TERRITORY THAT MAKE IT A BIOSPHERE RESERVE?
"Great diversity! The territory is made up of three major geographical areas: the Pays des étangs in the west, the agricultural valley of the Sarre in the middle and the Vosges foothills in the east. Each with its own natural, human and cultural attractions. In the west, in the Seille valley, grows the Salicorne de Vic, a species that is normally found in salty ecosystems by the sea! To have it here is rare in France and in Europe. The Pays des étangs and its forests form a canvas of wetlands ideal for more than two hundred species of birds. This area is recognised as a RAMSAR zone, i.e. of worldwide interest for its wetlands. In the Saar Valley, extensive farming based on animal husbandry still preserves beautiful and remarkable meadows of regional interest. To the west, the Vosges foothills are home to wooded ecosystems that are still preserved, where many remarkable species can be found - woodpeckers, hazel grouse, owls - with some old forest ecosystems that can shelter the emblematic lynx and capercaillie. Finally, the territory has a dense, often warlike history, numerous Gallo-Roman and Celtic remains, and dialects that it is high time to preserve."