Montpellier, a bunch of protected areas and natural sites

Montpellier is bounded between two Unesco biosphere reserves: the Camargue (a biosphere reserve since 1977) and the Cévennes (since1984). The region holds several listed natural sites along the coast as well as in the hinterland (see overview in pictures in Appendix 6).

France features a very distinctive type of protected area, the regional nature parks. A Regional Nature Park is an inhabited rural area, recognized at a national level for its high heritage and landscape value, which organizes itself around a concerted project of sustainable development, based on the protection and valorization of its heritage. Three Regional Nature Parks are found near Montpellier (Haut-Languedoc, Camargue, Grands Causses).

The city of Montpellier hosts the head office of the national federation of
French Natural Parks (45 Regional Nature Parks, 3,706 towns, 23 regions, 68 departments, 3 million inhabitants, 71,298 square km, 13% of French territory).

The Languedoc-Roussillon region also actively contributes to a broad European policy, the Natura 2000 network, favoring the sustainable management of natural environments. Over the last 25 years European countries have together built up a vast network of over 26,000 protected areas covering all the Member States and a total area of around 850,000 square km, representing more than 20% of total EU territory. This vast array of sites, the largest coherent network of protected areas in the world, is a testament to the importance that EU citizens attach to biodiversity.