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The effects of population change on the wetlands of Camargue.

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Introduction The River Rhone is situated in southern France, Europe. Where the river divides into many channels, this is called a delta. A delta is formed by deposited soil and water that has been eroded further upstream. The area around the marshy, wetland of the delta of Rhone is called Camargue. The Camargue provides a habitat for many animals, including flamingos, herrings, bee-eaters, hoopers, and white horses. The beautiful woodlands, ponds, marshes, sansoires (salt plains), lagoons, Vaccar�s (water control system of the Delta), and wildlife make it a very popular area, both with the locals and the tourists. Although part of the Camargue was made into a national reserve in 1927, most of it is still under threat. Modern developments like these are still threatening the fragile environment: * Industry - Salt extraction is one of the most popular industries in the Camargue, 11/2 million tons are extracted each year. The machinery and fumes are dangerous to the delicate ecosystem. The chemicals like sodium and chlorine are used in chemical and pharmaceutical products. * Farming - embankments, pumping stations, and canals have been constructed, salty land has been sprayed with water to make it suitable for crops, and water has been drained from the wetland to the river. ...read more.


We can see that the Camargue receives the most rainfall in November, a month that also has a low temperature of 8 degrees Celsius. From both graphs we can see that the Camargue has warm dry summers and cold wet winters. So what can we do to solve this problem? Some of the damage that has been caused cannot be reversed, but there are many ways to stop similar things happening in the future: Encourage research into wetland ecosystems - this would be useful, as it would make people more aware of the problems that many wetlands across the world are suffering. Train people in wetland management - someone who could maybe look after the wetland, control tourism, and protect the Camargue from further damage. Work with neighbouring countries on schemes that cross national borders - Most wetlands are in the same position, schemes would not only help the Camargue, but other countries too. Develop a national policy on wetland conservation - Tourism could be reduced, and wetland protection increased throughout the nation. Farming and industry could also be limited. ...read more.


Government: "A lot of money is earned from tourism and industry. If more of the land is made into a national reserve, less land will be available to tourists. As a result of this we will probably lose a lot of money. I understand that it can be damaging to the environment, but we could enforce new rules for tourists that mean less wildlife is damaged." From the opinions I have looked at, I think I agree with the local farmer slightly more because he lives in the Camargue environment and needs to make a living. I think maybe the government has the argument as they want to do what's best for the whole country, but I'm not sure if I agree with them because they seem to be more interested in the money than protecting the area. The people who live in the Camargue will probably agree with the wetland conservationists as they're trying to protect the people's home. The best solution to the problem would probably be a mixture of all the different viewpoints and ideas. I think expanding the national park is a good idea, but I understand that cutting the area off completely wouldn't work because the government and industries need the money. Jenna Farmer ...read more.

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