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      Biosphere Reserve Information



  General Description   Located in the Ile de France region, some 70 km south-east of Paris, this biosphere reserve is composed of temperate deciduous forest (mainly oak, Scots pine and beech), heathlands, open rock areas and several wetlands. The forest lies upon an ancient marine sand-bank which is occasionally overlaid by sandstone. The sandbank lies on a layer of Brie limestone and green marl, where springs arise. The soils within the forest area are highly diverse, which also is one explanation for the high plant diversity, as more than 5,800 plant species have been identified so far. The biosphere reserve contains two habitats of community interest listed in the European Union’s Habitats, Flora and Fauna Directive: Northern Atlantic wet heaths with Erica tetralix, and forests of slopes, screes and ravines (Polystico-Corylenion). These are included in the 20 core areas of 3,874 hectares.
The core and the buffer zones correspond to the administrative unit of the Forest of Fontainebleau, managed by the Office National des Forêts. The transition area lies essentially in the Parc naturel régional du Gâtinais français but also includes villages and towns with a total of 60,000 inhabitants, including the town of Fontainebleau (1998). Since the 10th century, the forest has been a royal domain and the Chateau de Fontainebleau was built at the beginning of the 16th century by Francois I. The forest has been studied by well known naturalists (Linné, Jussieu and Buffon) since the 17th century and painters were also attracted to the forest (e.g Millet, Rousseau, Corot), and created the Barbizon school in the 19th century. Due to its proximity to the capital, the area receives exceptionally high number of visitors, which is a major management concern.
  Major ecosystem type   Temperate broadleaf forests or woodlands
  Major habitats & land cover types   Temperate deciduous forest, mainly oak, Scots pine and beech; heathlands; open rock areas; wetlands.
  Location   48°23'N; 2°40'E
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   67,370
  Core area(s)   3,874
  Buffer zone(s)   13,496
  Transition area(s) when given   50,000
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   +42 to +146
  Year designated   1998
  Administrative authorities   Office national des Forêts Direction du Parc naturel régional du Gâtinais
  Brief description   Air quality
Flora and fauna
Monitoring of humid areas (marshlands and ponds)
Reintroduction/rehabilitation of species
Invertebrate monitoring established 1999 to study the impact of human activities on entomofauna (insects)
Urban planning, mobility and displacement of people, social politics, environmental management, participation of local communities
Mapping of the different zones of the biosphere reserve
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Air quality.
  Biodiversity   Fauna, flora, invertebrates/insects/spiders, methodologies, reintroduction, restoration/rehabilitation/redevelopment, wetlands.
  Socio-economic   Human migration/Population exodus, local participation, social/socio-economic aspects.
  Integrated monitoring   Impact and risk studies/Environmental impact, management issues, mapping, planning and zoning measures/zonation, urban systems/towns/cities.
  Contact address   Jean-Michel Martin
Réserve de Biosphère de Fontainebleau et du Gâtinais
1, rue du Port Valvins
77210 AVON
  Telephone   (33) (0)
  Web site

Last updated: 09/04/2009

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