Natura 2000 is the largest network of protected areas in the world!
It is a European label awarded to sites selected for their richness in natural environments and remarkable or threatened animal or plant species on a European scale. These are habitats or species of Community interest.
Remarkable for the originality of its reliefs where lherzolite (rock from the Earth's mantle) and limestone are juxtaposed and for the diversity of its natural habitats, the site offers a set of great richness in terms of environments, fertile for plant and animal species, hence its designation, on May 04, 2007, special conservation area FR 7300825 under the "Habitats, fauna and flora" Directive of the European ecological network Natura 2000.
Straddling Couserans and Vicdessos, located on an elongated limestone link from West to East over about 10 km and 2 to 3 km wide, its area is 2218 ha. The site culminates at the Pic de Girantes or Mont Ceint, at 2088 meters. With the Pic des Trois Seigneurs and the Pic Rouge de Bassiès, they mark the separation between Haute Ariège and Couserans and thus constitute a natural barrier to damp winds. Overall, this range is subject to Atlantic climatic influences, the rains are relatively well distributed throughout the year.
Its relief presents a great originality linked to the nature of the parent rock, limestone with particular forms of erosion. Similarly, in the inner zone, there are small independent and aligned massifs (500 to 2 m in diameter), composed of rare rock, lherzolite, rock from the magma in the formation of the Pyrenees. This massif of Lherz, surrounded by vast meadows with slightly marked slopes, overlooks the Etang de Lers or Lherz, at an altitude of 000 m. Surprising pocket of water, with a surface area of 1274 hectares, fed by runoff water from the Lherzolite massif (totally impermeable rock) which, in contact with the limestone, rush under Mount Béa, thus forming an important network of galleries to emerge in the neighboring Garbet valley, at the Neuf Fontaines d'Aulus.
The geological history of this former glacial sector today offers a remarkable landscape and gives this site a great diversity of natural habitats kept open thanks to the extensive farming practiced for more than two centuries. This recognition first materialized by the definition of several ZNIEFF (covering the entire site) but also by the establishment of a biological reserve directed to the peat bog of Bernadouze located in the municipality of Suc et Sentenac.
Animation of the site: municipality of Le Port.
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