With an area of 220,000 acres where nature and canals brush past each other, meet, and embrace, 'Green Venice' is a remarkable area for biodiversity.
The biodiversity in question is related to the geographic situation of the marsh, but also mostly to the very high interaction between people and nature. It is worth noting that the Gulf of Poitou marsh has no areas in their 'natural state'.
Everything here was created by man: canals, watering holes, ditches, cultivated fields, fallowing land, meadows, thickets, and woods. In this case, and this is quite rare, man's role in nature was creative rather than destructive. The relentless work on this ecosystem resulted in creating very diverse habitats, acting as a sanctuary for a great deal of animal species. Some of these areas have actually been officially recognised as being beneficial for the community; for example, the reed beds of Phragmites, the peat bogs, and the poplar stands, much to the taste of many migratory bird species. While riding on a 'flatboat', visitors can spot grey herons, saline saltworks channels, northern lapwings, or even some pied avocets, which are only a small portion of the 136 breeding bird species that have made this green piece of paradise their refuge.
These wetlands represent exceptional territories where great ecological wealth has developed.© GRAPHICOBSESSION
Several endangered species have made the marsh their home.© GRAPHICOBSESSION
The marsh is a sort of fishpond that feeds a multitude of plant species.© J. Lesage / CDT Vendée
It is possible to navigate along the Poitevin Marsh with or without a guide to discover this fascinating environment.© J. Lesage / CDT Vendée
Marshes hold a fundamental role: they regulate and clean the water.© Oleksandr Korzhenko / 123RF