CEA acquires 110 hectares of forest
Acquiring land in Ribiers (Hautes-Alpes) was the first step toward fulfilling compensatory measures.
The ITER Project is situated on a total of 180 hectares of wooded land in St-Paul-lez-Durance. In 2007, approximately 90 hectares were cleared by Agence Iter France in preparation for the construction of the ITER scientific buildings and facilities.
In compensation for the transformation of this wooded parcel, the CEA (Commissariat à l'Énergie Atomique et aux Énergies Alternatives) agreed to four compensatory measures required under French law (Arrêté Préfectoral du 3 mars 2008).
These are: the acquisition and subsequent preservation of 480 hectares of forest; the ecological surveying of 1,200 hectares and the application of preservation measures; the financing of a doctoral thesis; and a public biodiversity educational campaign.
A first step toward land acquisition was taken in March, with the purchase by the CEA of 49 parcels of land (110 hectares) situated in Ribiers, in the Hautes-Alpes département.
"This piece of land is characterized by a large ecological diversity," says a spokesperson from Agence Iter France. "Over 280 species have been identified, including a protected beetle (the hermit beetle), bats, lizards and several rare flower species."
The long-term preservation strategy for this land remains to be defined in conjunction with the National Forest Office (Office national des forêts) in France. Studies are underway to make sure that preservation measures are compatible with local activites such as agriculture, animal pasture land, hunting, and hiking.
The purchase was signed by the CEA on 18 March, and presented to the local public on 29 March. An exposition is available to the public until early May.
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