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A Benchmark Region for Marine Protected Areas

Corsica harbors an outstanding array of biodiversity preservation initiatives. Its six nature reserves, both marine and coastal, cover close to 200,000 acres.

corse scandola red rock oliver bonnefant oecScandola Nature Reserve. © Olivier Bonnenfant / Office de l'environnement de la Corse

The island’s western coast features an impressive UNESCO World Heritage Site: the Gulf of Porto (itself part of the Corsica Regional Nature Park), encompassing Calanche of Piana, Gulf of Girolata and Scandola Nature Reserve.

The northeastern part of the island harbors Biguglia Lagoon Nature Reserve, a Ramsar-listed wetland site. Its management goals combine river-basin conservation and the sustainable economic development of an agricultural and residential coastal plain.

corsica fishing oecTraditional fishing boat in Strait of Bonifacio Nature Reserve. © Office de l'environnement de la Corse

These various protected areas provide shelter to distinctively Mediterranean species of fauna and flora, such as posidonia meadows, red corals, groupers and giant limpets. They also contribute to the region’s economic development by safeguarding traditional industries, like small-scale fishing, and encouraging new activities that respect natural habitats, such as wildlife tourism.

Efforts to develop the island on a sustainable basis were reinforced in 2002, when a legal review gave the Corsica Territorial Collectivity new responsibilities for creating and managing nature reserves, leading to the forging of closer links with the Agence des aires marines protégées (French Marine Protected Areas Agency).


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