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Linking sustainable practices throughout Europe

«Ordinary» biodiversity as a bedrock of the Common Agricultural Policy

Rural topic(s): Conservation and management of natural resources

Type: Réflexions de membres du FS ou d’autres acteurs locaux

Date of writing: August 16, 2012

Author(s) of the proposal: Alain Roujas


Alain Roujas - founder and animator of “La Clairiere des Insectes” - welcomes local organic farmers, students and school kids to his educational project in the Pyrenean foothills south of Toulouse. They come to learn how best to curate and to boost endemic biodiversity on farms and in household gardens. His tips encouraging farmers to create wildlife havens alongside their crops, to open up forest clearings and to maintain hedgerow networks that connect together as nature corridors.


«Ordinary» biodiversity as a bedrock of the Common Agricultural Policy

Alain, a passionate insect follower from childhood, argues for “ordinary” biodiversity, rather than higher-profile heritage species under threat, to provide the bedrock focus for environmental politics, including the Common Agricultural Policy. Without a healthy base, all species face major challenges, not just the rarest ones.

“La Clairiere” sits in a cleared hectare or so of naturally regenerated oak and sweet chestnut forest on what was farmed land until the 1950s. Its work includes cataloguing and publishing details of the animals and plants observed in a naturally species-abundant zone at the crossroads between two seas, a major mountain chain and the plains of southern France.

The project took root with the help of a European Social Fund grant, which paid Alain’s salary for a year as it started out. The result is a community resource that draws several thousand visitors a year, boosting local tourism and helping generate community income in service industries. For all the benefit of the one-time subsidy, “La Clairiere” aims for self sufficiency by meeting the demand for knowledge, education and instruction in ways to promote and protect local species.


A fine example of an own-initiative effort to encourage local biodiversity and to teach a wide array of society members about its value. An inspiring place with an inspiring creator.


Author visit on August 14, 2012 that included extended conversation, questioning and video interviews in the context of the Sustainable Mystery Tour 2012.


Scale of intervention : Local

Keywords: Biodiversity, agricultural policy, conservation and management of natural resources, Sustainable Mystery Tour 2012

Places: France

Actors: association

See also:

Success stories: