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Arboretum Beauregard - Arboretum de Beauregard- the local plants at service for the restoration of the usual nature

LIFE99 ENV/F/000497

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Maurice DESAGHER
Tel: +33(0)4/ 90 84 49 20
Fax: +33(0)4

Project description:


In Vaucluse, for more than one century, agriculture has stopped using local vegetation in its fundamental functions: - Riparian woodlands were often removed or enriched by exotic vegetation without taking care of the consequences which can be measured today with the increase of the hydrological and phytosanitary risks. The excessive use of the hybrid plane tree followed by the disease of the "colored canker" (fungal disease) has today caused the destabilization of hundreds of kilometres of banks and has had a very strong negative impact on the landscape. - The fruit or enclosure hedges of the past were gradually replaced by single-species alignments with allochtonous or hybrid plants. In Provence, the phenomenon is very visible in agricultural landscape: regular alignments of tall poplars or American species of cypress block fields. These hedges have become commonplace in the landscape and are very sensitive to epidemics. - The site is situated in the northern limit of the natural distribution area of the olive tree. During the last decades, it has suffered considerably, including from climatic and economic problems, causing the progressive disappearance of orchards and of traditional terrace cultivation. The Beauregard Arboretum serves as an experimental site for research which has been conducted with the Porquerolles Botanical Conservatory for the past four years, on tree breeding (genetic upgrading) and improvement of the natural landscape for damaged natural habitats (riverbank woods, hedges and related habitats).


The project submitted by the Vaucluse General Council covers the development and installation of a 5-hectares site for public information and enjoyment of the natural habitat along the banks of the Ouvèze River. This project includes: - development of the site to welcome the general public; - reconstitution of the damaged riverside tree population; - planting of an arboretum of river bank trees and vegetation; - creation of an olive grove orchard featuring every variety of olive trees grown in France; - planting of fruit trees and rows of trees; - experimental ornamental planting; - publication of public information documents; - publication of scientific works in the framework of international co-operation. The planting to be done will show the advantages of using wild native species to reconstitute the river bank forests. Likewise, the utilitarian planting (hedges) and the ornamental planting (urban or rural development, roadside planting) will also be done using local vegetation. Other planted areas will pay homage to the cultivation of forgotten varieties of fruit trees (olive trees, fig trees, mulberry etc). The objective is to show the everyday user the value of "ordinary nature" (as opposed to protected sites), in particular for people living near river, the importance of the natural heritage for which they are responsible, and the need to maintain and use native species. Conservation, and indeed enrichment of biodiversity and of the local landscape are among the most important consequences for the environment. The positive results obtained by this program are a reference, demonstrating what can be done with native vegetation, such as: * salvaging vanishing natural habitats or genetic improvement of damaged habitats, * reviving and restoring of habitats upset by infrastructure installations (roads, etc.) * ornamental planting adapted to the soils, the climates, the landscapes


Ecological management of the river The Arboretum of Beauregard site is located along the Ouvèze river. Since the arboretum is intended as an experimentation and demonstration site, plant engineering works have taken place to provide for river bank protection. The objective was to verify that this type of development performs well and is sustainable along the banks of a Mediterranean type stream susceptible to flash flooding. The plant engineering techniques known as the 'Lachat techniques" were used, sometimes in combination with civil engineering: - One portion of the river bank was consolidated with gabions and planted with willow cuttings; - One portion was laid out with willow fascine; - One portion was consolidated with plant fibre from indigenous herbaceous species; - One portion is testing the performance of chestnuts stakes. The cuttings were taken at the time of planting. With a view to maintaining and increasing the biodiversity, practically all the willows – approximately one-half dozen –observed in the department of Vaucluse were tested (Salix albal, Salix purpurea, Salix eleagnos, Salix cinerea, Salix triandra, Salix viminalis). In order to emphasize and accelerate the stability of the river bank, seedlings of indigenous herbaceous plants were planted. At first, good resistance to relatively small floods was observed. However, unfortunately, in late 2001 the river changed its flow route, and covered all the work done with gravel. How to reconstitute riparian vegetation ? The diversity in the topography has enabled to experiment with several types of riparian vegetation, taking into account the differences in the depth of the underground water table. A "riparian arboretum" has been installed for the general public. Here, the public can get to know, identify and appreciate the trees and bushes along the rivers and streams. Promoting the use of local vegetation in ornamental development The project, located along a major traffic zone, also includes a visitor's area. There is an access road, a shady parking area, and an information point. This area has been the most prominently developed and it includes the most formal planting. There are shade trees and avenue trees, hedges, wind-breaks, and decorative planting of all kinds. As visitors move on, they will discover increasingly free, natural planting. One thing is shared by all the plantings in this sector: they are all entirely made up of selected local vegetation. The objective here was to show, that it is not necessary to systematically turn to exotic plants in order to produce an interesting effect, and that the local plants are more likely to adapt to local conditions than are others. This part of the arboretum shows, in situ, various types of vegetation as follows : - ground cover on normal land; - ground cover for dry embankments; - ground cover for extremely arid embankments; - low trimmed hedges; - composite wind-break hedges; - free low hedges; - low copse on poor soil; - decorative low groves; - high groves. The plants are currently very young and it will take several years for the planned effect to be reached. Disease-resistant trees The project presents several varieties of trees, obtained by breeding for characteristics resistant to several serious diseases. Thus, some specimens which have so far avoided Dutch elm disease, are presented – RESISTA elms. They provide shade for the parking area. The collection of varietal olive trees The olive tree is enjoying a true renaissance in the South of France. It is sought for both its ornamental qualities and for the production of olive oil, a strong commercial success. The collection of olive tree presented at the Beauregard arboretum includes most of the varieties living in France. The Beauregard collection has 35 varieties including 15 of economic interest, and they will be part of the "Olive tree Charter", in order to preserve the genetic resources of the different varieties. The target public This project has been designed to provide managers of "ordinary nature" with the information they need to improve the management of our planted heritage. This mostly concerns rural landowners, in particular those who are located near streams and rivers. It also concerns everyone who establishes or renews hedges, whether farmers or garden owners and growers. The project also targets many different professional groups: nursery owners, landscape architects, engineering offices and businesses specialized in river works, road planners, urban planners, rural planners, olive tree growers and others. In the long run, when the site will have acquired a very interesting appearance due to the growth of the trees, the general public and school groups can visit Beauregard and find the information and documentation they need to consider and further study the subject.


Environmental issues addressed:


Water - River basin management
Land-use & Planning - Soil and landscape protection
Land-use & Planning - Spatial planning


reforestation‚  river management‚  environmental awareness‚  natural environment

Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Decision 93/626 - Conclusion of the Convention on Biological Diversity (25.10.1993)
  • COM(2001)162 -"Biodiversity Action Plan for the conservation of natural resources (vol. I & II)" ...
  • Land & Soil
  • Regulation 2078/92 - Agricultural production methods compatible with the requirements of the prot ...
  • Regulation 2080/92 - Community aid scheme for forestry measures in agriculture (30.06.1992)

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Conseil général de Vaucluse
Type of organisation Local authority
Description The beneficiary is the General Council of Vaucluse which has responsibilities in the field of environmental management and conservation with the setting up of departmental tax for sensitive natural areas.


Project reference LIFE99 ENV/F/000497
Duration 08-OCT-1999 to 08-OCT -2002
Total budget 320,142.94 €
EU contribution 115,785.03 €
Project location Rhône-Alpes(France) Languedoc-Roussillon(France) Provence-Alpes-Côte d' Azur(France)


Read more:

Publication Title: Local vegetation beneficiating the restoration of everyday nature Year: 2003
Publication: Book Title: Mediterranean riparian woodlands Author: H. et O. Décamps. Year: 2002 Editor: MedWet / Tour du Valat


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version