Data on French metropolitan and overseas biodiversity
All around the World
France, with its geographical position in Europe and outer seas has a very rich natural and cultural heritage.
France regroups very different regional and biological areas in a very small space.
The Departments, Territories and the overseas collectivities, exist under different latitudes, The Mascarenes the Guyana Shield, Caribbean, South Pacific, the Austral and Antarctic Islands, and the North American Boreal region.
In continental Europe, France is at a crossroad between different bio-geographical influences, and comprises 4 out of the 11 types of bio-geographical regions (Alpine, Atlantic, Mediterranean and Continental regions).
France is located in 5 out of 34 different hot points of global land-based / terrestrial biodiversity and recognized by the WWF and the UICN and four of these hot points are located in the overseas territories.
The French maritime space is covers over 11 million of square meters and is the 2nd biggest in the world.
Because of all these factors France has a much bigger responsibility to take towards biodiversity
Diversified natural habitats
The diversity of territories and bio-geo-climatic influences results in the diversity of ecosystems and green landscapes.
It would be impossible to set a list of all the different types of ecosystems that exist in France. Some are emblematic, particularly rare or endangered and need particular attention, it is the case of mangroves, coral reefs, seagrass beds, wetlands, some agropastoral environments, caves and groundwater environments.
With 10% of the global reef resources (4th ranked) the French over-seas territories contributes largely to the richness/ the abundance of global and national biodiversity.
The surface of a natural habitat is nevertheless not enough to analyze its ecological state.
It is necessary to take into account how it has spread, how it functions, its dynamics and its capacities to evolve.
For example, the evaluation of the state of conservation of urban forest habitats of community interest showed that in 2007 approximately 65% of them were in a bad/ adverse/ unfavorable status of conservation, whereas the rocky habitats (cliffs, caves..) and sclerophyllus habitats (dry heaths, Mediterranean forests etc..) were in a rather good state of conservation.
A large number of species
Within these ecosystems, France has a very rich and diversified fauna and flora on the continent as well as overseas territories. The national inventory of the natural heritage in the metropolitan areas was identified/mapped in 2011 and showed a high number of diversified species. It was composed of 11 934 plant species, 43 727 animal species and 14 183 mushrooms.
In the overseas territories, despite our limited knowledge, the inventories recall of must more diversity than in the metropolitan area.
We found, for example at least 50 times more endemic plants.
Overseas biodiversity is particularly fragile because part of it only lives on islands.
The populations that live there are often small and isolated, these endemic species - that only live on islands - are very numerous.
A widely unknown genetic heritage
The genetic heritage of species present in France is still not well known, if we don't take into account (the) breeding species, the planted and cultivated varieties including the old ones.
Its diversity is the necessary condition for the species to adapt in a changing environment.
All the elements that constitute biodiversity are linked one to another. So if one of the elements disappears all the system can be put into jeopardy. For example, the decline in pollinators insect could lead to the decline of the plants they pollinated.
Biodiversity, (an asset) valuable to man
Biodiversity, which can be either genetic, specific, animal, plant, microbial, a part of the ecosystem, or the landscape, is one the main components of the diversity of the cultures in France.
Traditional knowledge of French populations is partly linked to their knowledge about biodiversity, as much in the metropolitan areas and the overseas territories, from food to medicine, and also clothing, construction or development of competence and farm and breeding practice.
Indeed, biodiversity is the main direct or indirect way to of a very important number of human activities and benefits from which we profit.
For example, farm activities need a live ground, that is the result of micro-organisms activities.
Biodiversity also needs genetic animal and plant diversity in its resources, that we have to preserve, and manage dynamically in order to provide varieties that will be adapted to the diversity of tomorrow's farmers.
The exploratory study that evaluated the services provided by the French ecosystems has identified 43 ecosystem services from 3 categories :
§ The supply services : cultivated fruits and cultivated vegetables, wood for construction or energy, fish resources, medical resources, and drinking water.
§ The regulation services, that deals with snow slide risks in certain forests, also regulation of flash floods in water courses, mitigation of climatic variations, beneficial biological organism etc
§ The cultural and aesthetic services, landscapes for leisure, cultural or spiritual values of certain natural habitats, etc.
An ecosystem can provide different services depending on how it is managed :
All ecosystems services can't be obtained all at once, in the same place, and compromises must be found.