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The Coussoul of the Crau
Steppe of exception, the Coussoul of the Crau retraces 6000 years of interactions between the nature, the man and the sheep. For millennia the delta left by the Durance has been shaped by the herds to create a unique environment in the world, sheltering an exceptional and diversified fauna inherited from the African steppes.
Since the 1990s, the actors of the environment and the agricultural world have joined forces to safeguard the Crau, its exceptional nature and the agricultural activities that support it. Today, the coussoul of the Crau enjoy a status of strong protection: a Natural Reserve of more than 7400 hectares. To protect and support this dual natural and pastoral heritage, farmers and environmental actors have designed a joint project: in September 2004, the Conservatory of Studies of Ecosystems of Provence (CEEP) and the Chamber of Agriculture of Bouches du -Rhone were appointed co-managers of the Nature Reserve.
The coussoul of the Crau has been traversed by sheep since Antiquity as evidenced by numerous vestiges of Roman sheepfolds. The 19th century saw the creation of the "Mérinos d'Arles" breed, renowned for the fineness of its wool, which is now raised for meat following the collapse of wool yarns. The coussoul is grazed mainly in spring before transhumance in the Alps.
The coussoul is renowned for its fauna especially the typical steppe birds.
Among the species that we meet, we can cite :
- the Pin-tailed Sandgrouse which does not nest anywhere else in France.
- the Lesser Kestrel.
- the Little Bustard.
The Eurasian Stone-curlew, Tawny Pipit, Little Owl, European Roller, Greater Short-toed Lark, are also breeders that we meet in the Coussoul.
The Red-footed Falcon, the Red Kite and the Eurasian Dotterel are found in migration or wintering.