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Newsletter # 37 - August 2021 


The Mediterranean Wetlands Newsletter


The World Conservation Congress, the first international event dedicated to biodiversity since the start of the pandemic


The IUCN World Conservation Congress, normally organised every 4 years, is the main international forum for exchanging experiences and setting priorities for biodiversity conservation. It has three components: the IUCN Members’ Assembly where the members vote on priority actions (motions); the Forum, a more informal area dedicated to innovation and conservation science; and the Exposition, where various actors can present their work to Congress participants and the general public. The 2021 Congress, which opens in Marseille on the 3rd of September, is part of the big international events that were supposed to mark the 2020 “super year for biodiversity”, all postponed due to the pandemic. It will be the first hybrid event (in-person and virtual) of this size since the start of the health crisis. Although constrained by sanitary restrictions, with a more limited presence of international partners than usual, the event remains an important opportunity to promote the cause of Mediterranean wetlands.


The Tour du Valat will be present on multiple levels. As a member of the IUCN and with Jean Jalbert being vice-president of the French IUCN Committee, the TDV will participate in the discussions and formal votes of the Assembly. Along with some twenty “cosponsors”, the TDV has submitted a motion on the implementation of nature-based solutions in the Mediterranean Basin. The Tour du Valat will also be present in several informal arenas where innovations and lessons learned will be shared, and where partnerships and mobilisations will be shaped or strengthened. On the menu, there will be numerous presentations and discussions on nature-based solutions, the support to civil society through the Mediterranean Alliance for Wetlands, the rise in power of the Mediterranean Consortium for Biodiversity, the Living Mediterranean Report – an unprecedented data source on Mediterranean biodiversity, and the increased mobilisation of key players such as politicians and business owners.


You can find here all the events in which the Tour du Valat will participate.


Looking forward to seeing you in Marseille!




Living Mediterranean Report

Thanks to the meticulous work carried out by a team of the Tour du Valat , the Living Mediterranean Report presents the most complete synthesis ever carried out on the evolution of the biodiversity of Mediterranean vertebrates since 1993. The main results of this report are presented here.


Questions for...

Khalil Attia is the Director of the Specially Protected Areas Regional Activity Centre – SPA/RAC – based in Tunisia. The SPA/RAC was established by the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols to assist Mediterranean countries in implementing the Protocol concerning Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity. Following the publications of the Living Mediterranean Report, he answers the questions of the Tour du Valat.


600 flamingo chicks ringed on the Salin d’Aigues-Mortes!


Once again the flamingos have chosen to nest at the Salin d’Aigues-Mortes with about 15,000 adult Greater Flamingos and 4,500 chicks.


Publication of the Tour du Valat’s Activity Report 2020


The Tour du Valat’s 2020 Activity Report has been published. This document aims at presenting our main achievements of the year, which are the results of numerous fruitful collaborations with our partners, be they institutional, scientific, technical or financial.


The Tour du Valat Estate is part of the IUCN Green List of protected areas


The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has admitted ten new sites in Switzerland, France, Italy to the IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas, the global standard recognising the best-managed sites on the planet.


A new consortium of six international organizations will strive to protect Mediterranean biodiversity


In the context of major global mobilizations to protect biodiversity, aiming to support the new objectives to protect the planet and given the many challenges affecting the Mediterranean region, the organizations MedWet (the Mediterranean Wetlands Initiative of Ramsar), MedPan (Mediterranean Protected Areas Network), PIM (Mediterranean Small Islands Initiative), Tour du Valat (TdV), AIFM (International Association for Mediterranean Forests) and IUCN-Med (IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation), with the support of Conservatoire du littoral, have signed the memorandum of understanding. This memorandum will mark the launch of the Mediterranean Consortium to protect Biodiversity.


Biodiversity: 17 species of European plants believed to be extinct recovered


An international team of researchers has rehabilitated the status of 17 plant species deemed to be extinct in Europe for many decades through a taxonomic review and a verification of their rediscovery in the wild or the presence of specimens in ex situ collections. This will make it possible to implement conservation programs for many of these species, still rare and/or threatened with “new” extinction. The study has just been published in the prestigious journal Nature Plants.


Loss of the last of the musketeers


John Walmsley one of the pioneers of the Tour du Valat along with Alan Johnson, Hubert Kowalski and Heinz Hafner passed away on the 30th of May this year at the Sambuc, in Camargue where he lived. John arrived at the Tour du Valat in 1967 and worked there up until the 90s. During this period he published more than twenty scientific articles. Initially assigned to the bird ringing operations, he then studied the nesting of charadriiformes and Common Shellducks, a species of bird belonging to the Anatidae (family that includes ducks, geese, swans…).


After the passing of Hubert, this is another personality from the past, a character and a well of knowledge that leaves us.


Monitoring the migration of juvenile spoonbills 2021 – a participatory project!


This is the third and final year of monitoring juvenile spoonbills in the project in partnership with Tamar Lok, researcher at NIOZ, the Netherlands. The goal is to study the importance of genetic and environmental factors in determining the migration routes of juvenile spoonbills.


International environmental Alliance issues Red Alert to prevent destruction of Erimitis wetlands


International environmental Alliance issues Red Alert; experts urge Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis to prevent destruction of Erimitis wetlands.


Technical reports of the Mediterranean Waterbird Network (MWN)


Since 2017, the Mediterranean Waterbird Network (MWN) has been exchanging with other Mediterranean countries, in addition to the five historical North African partners.

Discussions with these new countries (France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, but also Portugal, Albania, Serbia, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia) have led to the development of a scientific poster to be presented at an international conference (EBBC, 2019), a scientific paper to be reviewed in a scientific journal and also summary reports on the status of waterbird counts in 10 of the countries actively participating in ROEM.



Lake Ohrid, third Wetland of International Importance in North Macedonia


North Macedonia has designated Lake Ohrid as its third and largest “Ramsar Site” (no. 2449 on the List of Wetlands of International Importance). The Site straddles the mountainous border between North Macedonia and Albania. It has been a World Heritage Property since 1979.


The state of lagoon waters in the Rhone-Mediterranean and Corsica


With the support of the IFREMER and the Tour du Valat, the French Rhone-Mediterranean-Corsica Water Agency has recently published a “water and knowledge” document on the state of the lagoon waters in the French Mediterranean coast.



Burkart L., Olivier A., Lourdais O., Vittecoq M., Blouin‐Demers G., Alliot F., Gac C.L., Martin N., Goutte A. 2021. Determinants of Legacy POPs Levels in the European Pond Turtle (Emys orbicularis) in the Camargue Wetland, France. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Online


Ernoul L., Wardell-Johnson A., Mathevet R., Sandoz A., Boutron O., Willm L., Arnassant S., Béchet A. 2021. Context in Landscape Planning: Improving Conservation Outcomes by Identifying Social Values for a Flagship Species. Sustainability 13(12):6827


Groupe régional d’experts sur le climat en Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur .G.P.., Dulac J., Vignon C., Charbonnel E., Bonet R., Imberdis L., Chavy D., Peirache M., Champagnon J., Galewski T., Nicault A., Colombo R., Girard V. 2021. Des impacts visibles du changement climatique sur la biodiversité en Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur. Observatoire de la biodiversité en Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur.16 p.


Popoff N., Gaget E., Béchet A., Dami L., Du Rau P.D., Geijzendorffer I., Guelmami A., Mondain-Monval J.Y., Perennou C., Suet M., Verniest F., Deschamps C., Taylor N.G., Azafzaf H., Bendjedda N., et al. 2021. Gap analysis of the Ramsar site network at 50: over 150 important Mediterranean sites for wintering waterbirds omitted. Biodiversity and conservation Online:19




The World Conservation Congress of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) will be held from September 3 to 11, 2021 in Marseille. Tour du Valat will be present through many events.

European Heritage Days in the lagoon territories of the French Mediterranean: "Heritage for all" on 18 and 19 September 2021.



The 13th national seminar of Ramsar sites actors will be held from Wednesday 20 to Friday 22 October 2021, in Valenciennes (59, France) on the theme "Water and wetlands".


Tour du Valat - Research institute for the Conservation of Mediterranean Wetlands


Le Sambuc 13200 Arles - Ph. + 33 (0)4 90 97 20 13 -


Editorial comittee: Coralie Hermeloup, Jean Jalbert and Muriel Arcaute-Gevrey




Have comittee contributed to this issues: R. Billé, N. Chokier, T. Galewski, L. Marre-Cast and N. Boutry-Thivin.


Photos credits and illustrations:  A. Arnaud, T. Annesi, A. Moro, D. Proffer - Flickr,  H. Hôte,  H. Lucas,  E. Luna-Laurent (bandeau). Traduction : N. Boutry-Thivin

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