The management of the natural marine reserve of the Terres australes françaises (French Southern Lands)
The national marine and terrestrial nature reserve of the Terres australes françaises was created in October 2006. It covers 23 000 km² of land and sea and is the largest nature reserve in France. It encompasses 11 693 km² of the territorial sea (12 nm from the coast) of Crozet and Kerguelen archipelagos, as well as the entire extent of the territorial seas of Amsterdam and Saint-Paul islands. A management plan has been drafted for this nature reserve, which is managed by the Terres australes et antarctiques françaises (TAAF). Although knowledge still needs to be developed, the marine reserve preserves important natural heritage, such as large feeding areas of high biomass beds of Macrocystis pyrifera and Durvillea antarctica. The diversity of the fauna, especially fish and marine mammals protected by the reserve also needs to be highlighted (TAAF, 2011). The management plan for all French nature reserves are normally composed of three parts. The first provides a description of the reserve, the second presents the management objectives, and the third outlines monitoring activities. For the TAAF management plan, the first section tries to assemble all data collected in the reserve in the past 30 years. New strong partnerships with the scientific community have made it possible to identify most of the available data and to write an initial synthesis that describes the marine habitats and the species richness in the reserve, particularly in the marine area of Kerguelen. The first part of the management plan clearly underlines the necessity of assembling extra existing data in order to estimate the real value of the protected area and subsequently identify potential threats. This task will be implemented between 2010 and 2015. Parallel to this and according to the management objectives defined in the management plan, flora and fauna inventories will be carried-out. The management plan will be enforced starting 2011, until the next five years. During this time, monitoring and inventories will help establish conclusions of the first five years of management. The national nature reserve status allows the preservation of the terrestrial and coastal ecosystems located inside the reserve, but there is complexity in protecting species whose distribution is wider than the reserves boundaries. For a more global conservation approach, it is important to think of marine management on a bigger scale.