Founded more than 50 years ago by Luc Hoffmann, the Tour du Valat has since then developed its research activities for the conservation of Mediterranean wetlands with a major focus : " Better understanding of wetlands for better management".
Convinced that it will only be possible to preserve wetlands if human activities and the protection of the natural heritage can be reconciled, the Tour du Valat has for many years been developing programmes of research and integrated management that promote interchanges between wetland users and scientists.
The Tour du Valat mission is to halt the loss and the degradation of Mediterranean wetlands and of their natural resources, and to restore them.
La Tour du Valat, located in the heart of the Camargue is a private research organization. It has the legal form of a charitable foundation recognised as a non profit-making association since 1978.
The Tour du Valat Estate which includes all the natural habitats representative of the Camargue with its rivers and wetlands, extends over an area of 2 600 hectares 1 071 of which benefited from the status of Voluntary Nature Reserve between 1984 and 2008. Since July 2008, 1 844 ha have been set under the status of Regional Nature Reserve. A certain amount of experimental work is carried out by the Tour du Valat's researchers on this estate.
The Tour du Valat, it is also a unique bibliographical resource centre in the Mediterranean, specialised in Wetlands Ecology, Ornithology, Zoology, Mammalogy, Ichtyology, Herpetology, Botany. Each year, hundreds of researchers, teachers and students from the Mediterranean basin come and consult the library's reference material.
The Tour du Valat employs around sixty employees who are involved throughout the Mediterranean. Our scientific team, comprising around thirty specialists in Plant Ecology, Ornithology, Aquatic Macrofauna, Hydrology, Geomatics, Socio-economics, Geography and Integrated Management, are working on programmes of research into the functioning of wetlands, and are testing out methods of management. The results are communicated via training, partnerships, and the implementation of innovative projects being carried out in collaboration with a wide range of partners.
For the general public the Tour du Valat is open twice a year. An "Open doors" day is organised for the World Wetlands Day, the first weekend in February.