The Tour du Valat estate covers about 2,600 ha, in which there are natural habitats that are characteristic of the Camargue, in particular rare and threatened areas like temporary marshes, fossil dunes or montilles, and the great expanses of saline scrub or sansouires. The fauna and flora are remarkable: 590 species of plants, of which twenty are protected, more than 300 species of birds,... 1 071 ha benefited from the status of Voluntary Nature Reserve between 1984 and 2008.
Since July 2008, 1 845 ha have been set under the status of Regional Nature Reserve.
The following management principles are applied on the estate:
Management is provided by a team with complementary knowledge and skills: management of horse and bull herds, maintenance of irrigation and drainage infrastructures, surveillance, follow-up of agricultural contracts, scientific monitoring, administration, and accounting.
In 1986, the Tour du Valat drafted the first management plan for a Nature Reserve in France. Since then it has been updated every five years. It defines the objectives to be attained and the means of achieving them.
The lines of development of the plan attempt to preserve this exceptional natural heritage, to maintain traditional activities, and to develop research programmes on the site. The management of the estate respects both the maintenance of biodiversity and the optimal use of natural resources, in other words, a good integration of human activities and environmental conservation. In other words, the management plan is a scheme for sustainable development.
The experience acquired through this management plan has been transferred to other places in the Camargue and the Mediterranean region.
Preserve this exceptionally rich natural heritage
Encourage the implementation of research programmes by providing them with a site for experiments
Maintain traditional activities compatible with conservation issues