The Regional Biodiversity Atlas (ABC) is a species census and awareness-raising project for local biodiversity initiated by the Environment Ministry in 2010. One of the challenges faced by the Atlas is that of improving knowledge and awareness of the natural heritage of local communities in order to better protect it. Some species remain particularly poorly recognised as they have never or hardly ever been inventoried. As an example, the ABC taken at Nogent recorded species that had never previously been counted in the Loiret as well as species that had not previously been recorded in that community. This knowledge of local biodiversity could help improve measures to limit the erosion caused by global change, as is the case in more ecologically advanced countries such as Switzerland.
Over 200 communities have taken part in this unique project completed with the help of volunteers including natural science professionals and associations. The Irstea centre at Nogent-sur-Vernisson, with its specialists in French forest plants and animals, was invited to participate at the very start of this project. Nogent had already been identified as a community harbouring the largest number of vascular plant species recorded in the department, and its natural heritage is now the best known in the department.
All georeferenced data will soon be sent to Loiret Nature Environment and Nature Centre who are coordinating the project on behalf of DREAL Centre. The data will then be used to enrich the INPN (national inventory of natural heritage) and CBNBP (national botanical conservatory of the Paris basin) databases. Finally, a project pamphlet will be edited for release to the general public in 2013.
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