Projects sites | France
- Action: Management through pasture
- Region: Champagne Morvan
- Biogeographical region: Continental
- Partner: Orient Forest Regional Natural Park, Conservatoire d'espaces naturels de Champagne Ardenne
- Site location: Brienne-la-Vieille
- Protection status of the area: Regional Natural Park
Ecological interest in the area
The following habitats are present here: pedunculate oak forest with oxlip (9160), ash and elm groves of slow rivers (91EO), white willow (91EO), calcareous grassland and scrubland (6210), but we would also highlight the presence of habitats such as:
- Intermediate forest areas (Corine biotopes code: 31.8D). This concerns the first stage of forest recolonisation with pedunculate oak. This habitat is composed essentially of shrubs whose size and density vary depending on the age of the clearing.
Heritage value: this habitat offers important hosting potential for birds.
- Scrubland (Corine biotopes code: 33.811). This luxurious and dense community is typical for edges or forest regeneration areas. It is made up of shrubs where the blackthorn (Prunus spinosa), black elder (Sambucus nigra), hornbeam (Carpinus betulus), single-seeded hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), European cornel (Cornus mas) and wayfaring tree (Viburnum lantana) are well represented. Often there are also many brambles. This habitat also offers important hosting potential for birds.
- Calcareous grassland and brushland facies (Corine biotopes code: 34.32, Natura 2000 code: 62 10). It is possible to observe different facies but in places where there is an influence from forest species (false brome (Brachypodium sylvaticum) in particular and shrubbery shoots) the following is notable: bordering the Aube and on the plateau, we find advanced mesophile calcareous grassland vegetation, tor grass (Brachypodium pinnatum), crown vetch (Securigera varia), oregano (Origanum vulgare), agrimony (Agrimonia eupatoria), tufted vetch (Vicia cracca), accompanied by the vegetation of paths and forest clearings: purple moor grass (Molinia caerulea), wild asparagus (Ornithogalum pyrenaicum) and timothy grass (Phleum pratense).
Heritage value: "calcareous grassland" is a priority habitat listed in Annex I of the "Habitats Directive".
The presence of areas of calcareous grassland larger than those at the current time has proven to be the most interesting element to highlight. These sectors presently host the only insect species considered to be vulnerable in Champagne-Ardenne, observed in 2006, including the steppe grasshopper (Chorthippus dorsatus) and the large conehead grasshopper (Ruspolia nitidula).
The line here passes close to calcareous grassland that has exceptional riches. It has been restored by clearing using heavy machinery and is currently managed through pasture.
Underneath the line the land is managed though regular clearing of invasive woody vegetation. The LIFE project will finance the infrastructure (which will presumably be mobile) that is necessary for this clearing to be replaced by pasture by the same sheep that are used to manage the calcareous grassland.
The process of making the most of the educational value of the site is already well under way; this will be completed with educational panels that will explain the way the land is managed through pasture underneath the lines.
These management techniques will be carried out in collaboration with the Orient Forest Natural Park and the Conservatoire d'espaces naturels de Champagne Ardenne.