Green List
Explore

Natural Reserve of Sainte-Victoire
Réserve Naturelle de Sainte-Victoire

france

First Listed

2021

Area
1.40km2

Why is it Green Listed?

The Natural Reserve of Sainte-Victoire (140 ha) is located in the north-east of Aix-en-Provence, at the foothills of the famous eponymous mountain,. Created in 1994, the main objective of this national natural reserve was to protect our rich paleontological inheritage, mainly constituted by dinosaur eggs, whose reputation is international. Since 2016, the Department of Bouches-du-Rhône has conducted or authorized, as manager, a number of scientific missions in partnership with various national or international institutions (academics, associations or communities); using advanced methods and tools in an innovative way (isotopic geochemistry, 3D digital tools). This in order to increase our knowledge of our natural inheritage and to sustainably protect it.. The singularity of our management is characterized by an equal attention to the protection of the biological and geological inheritage. This approach is in line with the law of 8 August 2016 for « the reconquest of biodiversity, nature and landscapes », which includes geodiversity within biodiversity.

We are glad that efficient management and good state of conservation of 7 new French sites have been recognized by the Green List Program! I have no doubt they will constitute inspirational sources and new references for future applicants. Diversity and richness of habitats, species, governance systems and protection status of French Continental and Overseas territories are now well represented by those 22 Greenlisted sites. They will very soon be engaged in the creation of the Francophone Green List network and globally contribute to the international influence of the Green List

Attaché emeritus of the French Natural Museum of Natural History and EAGL Chair France, Jean-Philippe SIBLET

Key Achievements

Conservation

  • 450 dinosaur eggs and more than 300 bones have been discovered and are being protected
  • Dinosaur eggs poaching impact is decreasing thanks to strong and steady surveillance patrols
  • New data on natural values (various taxa) have been acquired and will guide species and habitats monitoring in the next management plans

Good governance

  • Governance is correctly put in place with various stakeholders, in conformity with National Reserve
    legislation prescriptions
  • The RNN Sainte-Victoire is included in a larger designation : “Grand Site de France” Concors-Sainte-Victoire

Community benefits

  • Recreational interest for the public, in a dense urban area’s vicinity
  • Cultural valorisation around the famous French painter Cézanne
  • Sustainable forest management, with the objective of fire management

Site Attributes

WDPA ID

Size
1.40km2

Designation(s)
National Nature Reserve

IUCN Category
IV - Habitat/Species Management Area

Year Established
1994

Marine Protected Area
No

Governance Type
Collaborative governance

Site Agency
Département des Bouches du Rhône

Site Manager
Michel Bourrelly

Application
10.10.2018

EAGL Evaluation
04.03.2020

GL Committee Submission
09.2020

EAGL Chair
Jean-Philippe Siblet

ASI Reviewer
Mounia Essefiani

Site Summary

The Natural Reserve of Sainte-Victoire (140 ha) is located in the north-east of Aix-en-Provence, at the foothills of the famous
eponymous mountain. Created in 1994, the main objective of this national natural reserve was to protect our rich
paleontological inheritage, mainly constituted by dinosaur eggs, whose reputation is international. Since 2016, the
Department of Bouches-du-Rhône has conducted or authorized, as manager, a number of scientific missions in partnership
with various national or international institutions (academics, associations or communities); using advanced methods and
tools in an innovative way (isotopic geochemistry, 3D digital tools). This in order to increase our knowledge of our natural
inheritage and to sustainably protect it.

The singularity of this site management is characterized by an equal attention to the protection of the biological and
geological inheritage. This approach is in line with the law of 8 August 2016 for « the reconquest of biodiversity, nature and
landscapes », which includes geodiversity within biodiversity

NATURAL VALUES: Palaeontological knowledge.
MONITORING OF VALUES
THRESHOLDS OF SUCCESS
CONDITION OF VALUES
SUMMARY OF TRENDS AND RESULTS
Strengthen the research effort on geo-heritage: • Scheduled methodological excavations (20 days per year) and one-off rescue excavations in order to improve paleontological knowledge in the RNSV Strengthen the protection of geoheritage : • Daycare patrols (WE and public holidays), • Closure of wild trails, • Fire prevention patrols: from 1/7 to 15/09,
• < 20 days per year : Undesirable • 20 days per year : Acceptable • 20 days per year and additionnal one-off rescue excavations : Good • > 20 days per year and additionnal one-off rescue excavations : Optima • One or more poached/eroded site : Undesirable • Any poached/eroded site : Optimal
GOOD The current effort is a very good condition of values in comparison of other protected territory. one-off rescue excavations allow the collect of fossils before their natural destruction by erosion. Unfortunately, the 100% optimal threshold of success is also conditionned by taxonomic factors which are not relying on the optimal effort. OPTIMAL The number of patrols and surveillance days exceeded forecasts with the recruitment of an assistant to the Curator and the support of departmental services.
The aim is to increase this quota, thanks to the collaboration with different partners (volunteering, universities, associations) in order to to hasten the process (excavations, preparation) and increase the potential of discoveries. Maintaining the monitoring effort. The aim is to have no poaching at all Reinforcement of the signs, installation of new eco-counters to follow the frequentation and installation of photo-traps.
NATURAL VALUES: Dinosaur nesting site
MONITORING OF VALUES
THRESHOLDS OF SUCCESS
CONDITION OF VALUES
SUMMARY OF TRENDS AND RESULTS
Mapping of dinosaurs' eggs outcrops : • Identify fossiliferous outcrops on RNSV Improve knowledge on dinosaurs' eggs : • Attribution of each oospecies a known dinosaur species (7 different oo-taxa)
• <50% of Known outcrops area is mapped : Undesirable • 50% to 75% of known outcrops area is mapped : Acceptable • >75% of known outcrops area is mapped : Good • 100% of known outcrops area is mapped : Optimal • <50% of species known in RNSV : Undesirable • 50% to 75% of species known in RNSV : Acceptable • >75% of species knownin RNSV : Good • Reach number of species known in RNSV : Optimal
GOOD Good knowledge of fossiliferous outcrops throughout the RNSV 0,150 km² of the outcrops have been mapped so far. ACCEPTABLE The excavation days are enhanced with the support of the Museum team. Since 2015, 2 oo-species are now well-known (thousands of eggs, dozen of clutches) and are involved into deep sicentific researches (in progress). In addition, 2 other indeterminated forms are currently under study and will complete our knowledge on oo-diversity based on complete material (eggs and clutches). These data are very new and contrast with very superficial knowledge based on 2000's (and later) scientific studies: sampling of eggshell fragments.
The RNSV is one of the most important sites in the world for its richness in dinosaur eggs. 450 eggs discovered since 2010 in an BGC2 area (divided into 3 sectors). Among remaining sites not yet mapped are included historical "egg sites" found in 50-70's and one-off collect sites studied by scientists in 90-2000's Discoveries of new fossiliferous sites is continue through time due to the soil erosion. The mapping effort has to be continue in order to detect potential new outcrops. Each year new discoveries confirm the interest of the site. Deepening of knowledge on recent discoveries (2 wellknown oo-species and the 2 other oo-taxa). The aim is to reach the same result to the 5 other oo-taxa sampled in the RNSV. Beginning of a PhD thesis work to understand the paleobiology of egg-layers based on clutches configuration. The aim is to make matching eggs and egg-layers. The continuation of the annual excavations will allow the reach of the optimal threshold of success. However this is conditionned by the geologic stage and the palaeoenvironment context
NATURAL VALUES: Dinosaur fauna
MONITORING OF VALUES
THRESHOLDS OF SUCCESS
CONDITION OF VALUES
SUMMARY OF TRENDS AND RESULTS
Mapping of fossiliferous dinosaurs' bones sites : • Identify fossiliferous outcrops on RNSV Improve knowledge on dinosaurs : • complete the theoretical anatomy of dinosaurs known in the RNSV
<50% of known fossiliferous area is mapped : Undesirable 50% to 75% of known fossiliferous area is mapped : Acceptable >75% of known fossiliferous area is mapped : Good 100% of known fossiliferous area is mapped : Optimal • any discovery, current knowledge : Undesirable • at least one partial skeleton of each taxon, no sexual distinction : Acceptable • Partial skeletons of each taxon, with some specific bones to explain variability (specific, sexual, ontogenic) : Good • Complete skeleton of each taxon and for each sex : Optimal
GOOD • As for dinosaurs' egg mapping, there is a good knowledge of fossiliferous outcrops throughout the RNSV. 0,150 km² of the outcrops have been mapped so far. ACCEPTABLE / GOOD The excavation days are enhanced with the support of the Museum team. Since 2015, a taxon (Rhabdodon) is known at ~ 40% completeness of theoretical skeletal anatomy. Bone diversity includes data on sexual and ontogenetic variability [Good condition of values] Some isolated and fragmentary bones are known for at least 3 other dinosaur taxa [Acceptable condition of values].
The RNSV mapping for bones research is the same as for fossilized eggs. There is a good knowledge of fossiliferous outcrops. 350 bones discovered since 2010 in two areas (BGC2 and BGC3) Each year new discoveries confirm the interest of the site. Deepening of knowledge on the 4 taxa present in the RNSV (Rhabdodon, titanosaur, Arcovenator, Variraptor) The continuation of the annual excavations (at least 20 days/year) will allow the reach of the optimal threshold of success. However this is conditionned by the geologic stage and the palaeoenvironment context.
NATURAL VALUES: Remaining palaeobiodiversity
MONITORING OF VALUES
THRESHOLDS OF SUCCESS
CONDITION OF VALUES
SUMMARY OF TRENDS AND RESULTS
Excavations and collect of other material to complete knowledge on paleoflora and paleofauna in the RNSV: • Among complementary collected material, pollen, charophytes, inchnofossils, invertebrates and other vertebrates remains are sent to laboratories for identification. • The establishment of a list of flora and fauna as complete as possible is consituted in order to approach optmimally the paleobiodiversity known in Provence.
• List of less than 25% paleobiodiversity known in Provence : Undesirable • 25% to 50% : Acceptable • 50% to 75% : Desirable • > 75% : Good • Complete list of paleoflaura and fauna known in Provence : Optimal
ACCEPTABLE Scientific studies carried out on the RNSV have enabled to update and identify many taxa (flora, fauna, invertebrates and vertebrates, ichnofossils). Current floristic and faunal list : • Discovery of numerous pollen and charophytes • 2 taxa of turtles (Solemys + 1 indeterminated bothremydid). • 1 taxon of indeterminated varanoid • 3 ichnofossils of indeterminated arthropods (burrows, cocoons) • 4 species of gastropods
Each year new discoveries confirm the interest of the site. Deepening of knowledge on all these discovery in order to clearly identifiy (as precesily as possible) each taxon (flora and fauna). The identification process is conducted by scientists from international university laboratories (Belgium, Spain, France). The 100% optimal threshold of success is conditionned byhe geologic stage, the palaeoenvironment context, taphonomic factors and by the capacity of specialists to identify fossils.
ECOSYSTEM SERVICE VALUES: Public reception
MONITORING OF VALUES
THRESHOLDS OF SUCCESS
CONDITION OF VALUES
SUMMARY OF TRENDS AND RESULTS
• Free and organized events for schools around the RNSV, and only with authorisations. • Public guidance out of the core of the RNSV (sensitive palaeontological area)
• <1 guided visit per week for schools: Undesirable • >1 guided visits per week for schools: Good • >1 guided visits per week for schools and annual cultural events : Optimal
OPTIMAL In 2019, more than 3340 persons were guided by internal service (departmental ecoguides): 38% for elementary school and 32% for middle school. In 2020, despite of covid containment, more than 600 persons were guided during the first trimester, with 27% of primary school and 59% of middle school. The authorization process makes it possible to limit flows and maintain the activity.
The main objective is to educate and sensitize young public to the need to know and protect the geo-heritage of the RNSV. Public reception and guided visits are under complete control of the RNSV manager. The second objective is to deviate visitors pressure and focusing to the interpretation path and to valorize the future information area in the reserve extension (a lesser sensitive area). There is an increasing general trend for the reception of school public between 2015 and 2019 (from 1944 to 3383 persons). The economic value based on this specific ecosystem service will be the subject of a deepen analysis in the frame of deployment of the interpretation path in the next management plan.
ECOSYSTEM SERVICE VALUES: Hunting
MONITORING OF VALUES
THRESHOLDS OF SUCCESS
CONDITION OF VALUES
SUMMARY OF TRENDS AND RESULTS
• Activities take place on the outskirts of the Reserve
• Hunting activities inside the prohibited area without manager supervision during hunting season: Undesirable. • Hunting activities only in the authorized area with manager supervision during hunting season: Acceptable • Any hunting activity in the authorized area during hunting season, with continue manager surveillance: Optimal
OPTIMAL The hunting management plan is discussed with local hunting association. The activity is deviated to the outskirts of the RNSV. The RNSV territory is only devoted to scientific and monitoring actitvities.
Renewal of the hunting agreement in the same terms than current. Future RNSV extension will pass under the same regime of integral protection
ECOSYSTEM SERVICE VALUES: Mediatic covering of the excavation campaigns
MONITORING OF VALUES
THRESHOLDS OF SUCCESS
CONDITION OF VALUES
SUMMARY OF TRENDS AND RESULTS
• Regular information about excavation campaigns (and resulting discoveries) are outreached in order to control the visibility and the risk in preventing poaching activities. • Surveillance tours are strengthened during excavation campaigns.
• Any information and surveillance tours during excavation campaign: Undesirable • Outreaching information and surveillance tours during excavation campaign : Optimal
OPTIMAL Good relationships between RNSV manager and media in ordergo along the same line: no sensational but posiitve and preventive information broadcasted.
This condition will be maintained and adapted to the level of activities on the RNSV. More photo-traps and surveillance tours will be planed in the future managing plan. Participation to various media (journal, tv) will be improved in valorizing positively the geo-heritage out of the territory limits.
ECOSYSTEM SERVICE VALUES: Maintenance of game crops
MONITORING OF VALUES
THRESHOLDS OF SUCCESS
CONDITION OF VALUES
SUMMARY OF TRENDS AND RESULTS
• Maintaining the presence of messicole plants in the RNSV and control over the introduction of invasive plants.
• Any game activity and disapearing of a field favourable to the development of messicole plants. : Undesirable • Game activity without control, allowing the introduction of prohibited seeds : Undesirable • Maintenance of the game crops with monitoring and management of messicole and undesirable plants : Optimal
OPTIMAL There is currently no invasive plants in the game crops area. The monitoring of butterfly, locusts, pollinating insects and messicole plants are progress. The population are in good condition.
Renewal of the hunting agreement in the same terms will allow the maintain of the current condition. The manager control will be continue and adapted in function of the situation on the game crops. The monitoring will be continued in the next managing plan of the RNSV.
ECOSYSTEM SERVICE VALUES: Forest management
MONITORING OF VALUES
THRESHOLDS OF SUCCESS
CONDITION OF VALUES
SUMMARY OF TRENDS AND RESULTS
• Limitation of logging inside the RNSV. • Interventions only to prevent wildfires and accident with public.
• Any control increasing the risks of wildfires, accidents and saproxylic insects infestation: Undesirable • Management of the loggings to prevent the risks of wildfires, accidents and monitoring of sparoxylic insects population: Optimal
OPTIMAL Following a windfall, the uprooted trees were left in place and are the subject of a study (installation of insects et mushrooms)
The strong forest dynamics and the the aging of mature stands imply a reflection to keep areas open and have a mosaic of environments. The monitoring of uprooted trees and saproxylic insects will be continued. A inventory and monitoring program on the presence of roosts in trees for bats will be engaged in the next manage plan of the RNSV.
CULTURAL VALUES: Scientific culture (paleontology / geology)
MONITORING OF VALUES
THRESHOLDS OF SUCCESS
CONDITION OF VALUES
SUMMARY OF TRENDS AND RESULTS
Development of additional partnerships with other local actors (universities, museums, associations, amateurs). Active participation in local paleontological research and dissemination of results to the general public. Production of conferences, books, exhibition and cultural events
• Any partnership, exclusion of local actors from programs: Undesirable • Developement of various partnerships implying of a network of institutions and persons : Optimal • Any communication, results are secretly kept or are poorly diffused to the general public : Undesirable. • Active participation and good communication with the public: Optimal.
OPTIMAL Excavations are organized with the Museum of Aix. Animation of the network of amateur paleontologists around the Curator of the RNSV. Coorganization of an international meeting of paléontology (Congrès de l'Assocation Paléontologique Française, 2019). OPTIMAL Production of free booklets 'Cahiers de la RNSV' edited by the Manager (CD13) which are focus on the RNSV natural inheritage, and edition of a book on Geology of Bouches-du-Rhône department (free for students). Participation in science and heritage days. Creation of public events: conferences, exhbitions (Mesozoic Arc), and cultural event presenting in preview the new scientific data from the RNSV research program
Collaborations with scientific centers (CEREGE) and museums (museums of natural history of Aix-en-Provence and Marseille), local museum (Musée de la Mine de Gréasque) and associations (Réserves Naturelles de France, Association des Géologues du Sud-Est) will be continued. Scientific and cultural meeting are opportunites to develop the RNSV network. Continuation of the partnership effort. 3 new issues of booklets 'Cahiers de la RNSV' are in preparation In this way, visits organized during the IUCN Congress 2021 will be the opportunity to discover paleontological activities on the RNSV.
CULTURAL VALUES: Promotion of geo-heritage within the Cézanne landscape
MONITORING OF VALUES
THRESHOLDS OF SUCCESS
CONDITION OF VALUES
SUMMARY OF TRENDS AND RESULTS
• Any promotion of geo-heritage : Undesirable. • Promotion de géohéritage: Optimal.
OPTIMAL • Elaboration of the interpretation schema of the RNSV • Regular exhibitions at Maison Sainte-Victoire or elsewhere (sub-prefecture in Aix-en-Provence, Foire International de Marseille) in order to promote the RNSV paleontological / geo-inheritage. • Production of books on the hiking in SainteVictoire landscape while discovering RNSV paléontological / geo-inheritage géologiques des BdR, - • Discovery hikes supervised by CD13 agents with highlighting natural inheritage of the RNSV • Creation of two 2 gourmet products based on fossil from the RNSV during the event ''Marseille Provence Capital of gastronomy 2019'': the rosé wine 'Cuvée Palaeos' and the chocolate dinosaur eggs.
Future projects are various and will be a reality as of 2021: • Realization and promotion of the interpretation trail to hiking professionals. The market is in progress. • Installation of educational material on the interpretation trail (with material for guides and teachers) •Projects in preparation for mediation: exhibitions, virtual reality ... Links will be more developed between dinosaur (and eggs), current birds, the Sacred Mountain and the work of the painter Paul Cézanne.

Conservation Summary

Outcome of EAGL Vote on Site
Consensus

EAGL Summary 
Pillar 1: Fair Governance The EAGL notes that the advisory committee of the Sainte-Victoire Mountain National Nature Reserve fairly represents the various stakeholders in the territory involved in the management of this site. In addition, the scientific council meets twice a year and makes the necessary recommendations for the management of this site in terms of the preservation of the remarkable geological and paleontological elements that justified its creation. Governance is also operational and complies with the French Environmental Code’s legislation requirements. The national nature reserve is integrated into a larger site which is the Grand Site de France Concors-Sainte-Victoire as well as within Natura 2000 zones, and would have deserved to describe the existing interactions between the different managers and operators. Indeed, there are complementarities between the objectives and issues covered by these different designations that it is important to include within the principles of governance of the applicant site. The EAGL considers that the National Nature Reserve of Sainte-Victoire Mountain has achieved all the standards of Pillar 1 of the Green List.

Pillar 2: Robust Planning The site management plan has been renewed and is operational until 2021. However, the dashboard methodology guide, which is well adapted to sites with the objective of biodiversity management is not so appropriate to specific values related to geological and paleontological heritages. Therefore, the site’s manager thought of it to adapt to the issues specific to the Sainte-Victoire. However, as the management objectives of the national reserve have now evolved towards the protection and enhancement of biological natural values in addition to geoheritage, the EAGL welcomes the reorientation work that is currently taking place as part of the revision of the current management plan, and the site’s manager training on the various methodologies of monitoring of populations and ecosystems, but also to take into account the cultural values and ecosystem services provided by the site. These last elements are already known and deserve to be the subject of dedicated chapters and objectives in the next management plan. The EAGL also acknowledges that the manager is fully informed of the threats to his site and the core values associated with it. The EAGL considers that the National Nature Reserve of Sainte-Victoire Mountain has achieved all the standards of Pillar 2 of the Green List.

Pillar 3: Effective Management Threats to the main values of the sites are well managed (massive attendance, egg plundering, etc.) and adequate responses in connection with the stakeholders of the territory and civil society are made there. The Departmental Council which is responsible for the management of this site, allocates significant resources and therefore enables the implementation of surveillance and police measures which the EAGL considers to be entirely adequate. The EAGL also demonstrates the significant efforts of taxonomic inventories carried out in recent years and can only encourage the manager to integrate the various issues identified in relation to these discoveries with the next management plan as it is already planned. Threats and responses to global changes are still undervalued by the current management plan and will be better considered in the next management plan. The EAGL considers that the National Nature Reserve of Sainte-Victoire Mountain has achieved all the standards of Pillar 3 of the Green List.

Pillar 4: Successful Conservation The EAGL welcomes the remarkable conservation efforts of the geoheritage that have been carried out by the manager for many years on the Sainte-Victoire National Nature Reserve. As the conservation status of the biological compartments is not a full objective of the current management plan, these elements have not been assessed but will be assessed in the next management plan, based on indicators and thresholds defined through ongoing work and the assistance of the local scientific community. The EAGL considers that the National Nature Reserve of Sainte-Victoire Mountain has achieved all the standards of Pillar 4 of the Green List. Decision Following the review of the application of the National Nature Reserve of the Sainte-Victoire Mountain, the EAGL welcomed the remarkable efforts of the team of managers for the conservation of the values of the site and underlined the quality and completeness of the file.

On the basis of these elements, the EAGL voted unanimously in favour of the inscription of the National Nature Reserve of the Sainte-Victoire Mountain on the protected areas green list. The sites’s visit report is available on another platform for the reviewer and Committee anytime.

Reviewer Summary
The Reviewer confirms that the GL process of the “Réserve naturelle de Sainte Victoire” (which includes the Sainte Victoire mountain, worldwide famous for being the favourite inspiration and “model” of French painter Paul Cézanne) is in line with the rules and procedures of the User Manual. All required information and documentation were recorded in COMPASS (the site visit report, which was shared with the EAGL members and the Reviewer prior to the EAGL meeting, will be provided to the Green List Committee through another platform). The site visit was conducted in line with the User Manual and all relevant stakeholders were consulted and their feedback considered. The site application was discussed during the EAGL meeting on March 4, which was attended by the site staff, mentor, and the Reviewer (remotely). As for all other candidate sites, the site representatives and mentor were given the opportunity to summarize their MoV and argumentation to demonstrate their site’s performance level. The site staff also explained the actions undertaken to reach some indicators that were not met at the beginning of their application process. The site visit report was then discussed, and relevant feedback given by the visiting EAGL member (in the absence of the site staff and mentor) before the EAGL unanimously voted for the nomination of the Site for the Green List, based on the above-mentioned elements. The Reviewer confirms that the EAGL report clearly reflects the outcome of the EAGL assessment and discussion on the site. The EAGL is required to follow up on the recommendations they made in their final report (related to some elements to be considered in the site next management plan) during the site mid-term review, should the site be Green Listed. The Reviewer validates the Green List process of the Réserve naturelle nationale de Sainte Victoire and submits the site to the Green List Committee for its final approval.

Please note that our website is in a BETA phase and is still undergoing final testing before our official launch.
IUCN Green List

IUCN Green List
Protected | Conserved Areas


Subscribe to our mailing list

Privacy Policy Legal Sitemap

© 2021 IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature
Site by Design Factory
This website is possible thanks to the support from:

Join the conversation


IUCN Green List