LIFE HABITATS CALANQUES - Integrated management in Mediterranean on remarkable coastal habitats suburban of Calanques related to southern Europe

LIFE16 NAT/FR/000593

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Contact details:

Contact person: Sandrine HALBEDEL
Tel: 33442909069
Email: s.halbedel@arpe-paca.org

Project description:


The Mediterranean basin is considered to be one of the planet's biodiversity hotspots and is, in particular, an exceptional zone for flora, with 10% of the world's plant diversity and many endemic species. The Calanques national park, established in 2012 and located in southern France, is a Natura 2000 network site, in which more than half of its coastal habitats are of Community interest (238 ha). These coastal habitats are based in peri-urban areas, and are subject to high anthropogenic pressure (e.g. urbanisation, tourism) that have led to dramatic change and progressive decline over 105 ha. Management to improve these degraded habitats and their declining species’ populations in peri-urban areas, especially at the town/country level, is incomplete, with further work also needed at the international level (i.e. knowledge, management and evaluation methods).


The objective of LIFE HABITATS CALANQUES is to restore and manage coastal habitats listed in Annex I of the Habitats Directive, along with their associated rare and endemic species. The project is a partnership between Agence Régionale pour l'Environnement (ARPE) and the Calanques national park with landowners and managers in the target Natura 2000 network site. It focuses on the Provence coastline of Europe's first peri-urban national park. The project team will compile a report on experimental conservation and management methods in Europe, and adapt the best available techniques for peri-urban coastlines. Moreover, the project will produce best practice guidelines for integrated coastal management, focusing on how to protect outstanding and fragile natural heritage while also developing economically-important recreational uses of the area.

Specific objectives include:

  • Restoring the ecological continuity of fragmented coastal habitats, to limit degradation and re-establish integrity;
  • Restoring those coastal habitats perturbed by the spread of invasive non-native plant species;
  • Strengthening the populations of vulnerable endemic species, increasing their viability, and re-establishing ecological connections between them;
  • Informing both the general public and decision-makers, and increasing awareness of the dangers to which the coastline is exposed; and
  • Sharing knowledge and experience at the European level.
  • Expected results: LIFE HABITATS CALANQUES will help restore habitats and species in an environment under strong anthropogenic pressure, identify best practices for the protection of peri-urban coastlines, and share its findings on Mediterranean coastal habitat conservation throughout Europe.

    Restoration of coastal habitats in the Calanques:

  • 92 ha of coastal habitats of Community Interest targeted (38% of coastal habitats in the Natura 2000 network site and 10 km of coastline to reconnect fragmented coastal habitats);
  • Restructured visitor routes to avoid sensitive areas of coastal habitats;
  • Habitat restoration to strengthen species’ structure and populations (e.g. at a large-scale for the milk vetch (Astragalus tragacantha) and on a smaller scale on the islands for the plantain (Plantago subulata);
  • Elimination of invasive alien plant species on the most sensitive sites (1.6 ha), and establishment of a technique for their removal on sea cliffs; and
  • Creation of permanent points for awareness development.
  • Changes in individual and group behaviour:

  • Integration of best practices in Mediterranean coastal habitat management and in planning policy;
  • Reduction of trampling, and of random wandering in natural areas that attract over one million visitors;
  • Elimination of private planting; and
  • Improved understanding of the problems involved in the management of coastal habitats and their representative species.
  • Tools for the transfer of experience and skills, at national and European levels:

  • Publication and distribution of a management guide;
  • Appropriation of management methods proposed by managers across Europe;
  • Establishment of a methodology for long-term, EU-scale monitoring of coastal habitats; and
  • Comparison of practices and protocols, and sharing of knowledge to promote replication of the project’s methods in coastal habitat management plans.



Environmental issues addressed:


Land-use & Planning - Sensitive and protected areas management
Biodiversity issues - Invasive species
Habitats - Coastal


botanical conservatory‚  introduction of plant species‚  protected area‚  urban planning‚  restoration measure‚  coast protection

Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv ...
  • COM(2011) 244 final “Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020 ...
  • Regulation 1143/2014 - Prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien ...
  • Marine environment and Coasts
  • "Protocol on Integrated Coastal Zone Management in the Mediterranean, ratified by the Council Dec ...
  • COM(2013)133 - “Proposal for a Directive establishing a framework for maritime spatial planning a ...

Target Habitat types

  • 02 - Specific (i.e.for technical reasons or specific issue)

Natura 2000 sites

SCI FR9301602 Calanques et îles marseillaises - Cap Canaille et massif du Grand Caunet



Type of organisation Development agency
Description Created in 1979, ARPE (AGENCE RÉGIONALE POUR L'ENVIRONNEMENT / Regional agency for the environment) is a public agency whose main mission concerns eco-development in the territory of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur in southern France. It includes the region and five regional departments as main members, along with the regional directorate for the environment, planning and housing (DREAL), the Rhone-Mediterranean-Corsica water agency, the French environment and energy management agency (ADEME), and the regional economic and social council.
Partners Le Naturoscope, Centre d’études et d’initiation à l’environnement, France Conservatoire Botanique National Méditerranéen, France Université d'Aix Marseille, France Ville de Marseille, France Conseil Départemental des Bouches du Rhône, France Parc National des Calanques, France Conservatoire du Littoral, France


Project reference LIFE16 NAT/FR/000593
Duration 01-JUL-2017 to 31-DEC -2022
Total budget 3,862,925.00 €
EU contribution 2,317,755.00 €
Project location Provence-Alpes-Côte d' Azur(France)


Read more:

Leaflet "Invitation presse: Lancement du programme europée ...
Project web site Project's website


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