Today there are 339 nature reserves created by the State :
They all protect very special habitats and constitute a whole representative of the country’s great natural wealth. They accommodate 20% of endangered plants and 80% of vertebrates (fish, reptiles, birds, mammals…). 800 people currently work in or around nature reserves.
The rule common to all nature reserves is that their territory is neither to be destroyed nor to be changed. However, the regulation differs from one reserve to the other and for each there is a reference text : the nature reserve’s formation decree and, if need be, additional orders by the prefect.
Managing a nature reserve does not only mean erecting signs and enforcing the law. It also means interfering carefully and based on scientific analyses and regular inventories to:
-*preserve the territory’s natural wealth,
-*restore the habitats (fixation of the dunes, cleaning, protection facilities…).
Protecting does not mean “locking twice”. Surely the public’s access can be regulated or prohibited in certain parts of the territory, but discovery paths, exhibitions, guided tours can be proposed among other things. This reception of the public is possible every time it proves to be compatible with the priority objective of protecting the habitat. A charter of administration, signed by the nature reserves’ custodians, determines the framework in which these activities can take place.