The purpose of game and wildlife is to protect animal species and their habitats in order to ensure the conservation of biodiversity in the context of an agro-forestry-hunting balance and sustainable hunting management.
Objectives of game and wildlife reserves
In concrete terms, these reserves have four objectives:
- To protect populations of migratory birds in line with national commitments (migratory bird reserve);
- to protect the environments necessary for the protection of threatened species;
- to support the development of wildlife and wildlife habitat management tools;
- to develop sustainable hunting in rural areas.
A game and wildlife reserve is created at the initiative of the party who owns the hunting rights (individual, hunting association, local authority, etc.) or may be encouraged by the prefectural authority.
Within these reserves, hunting is prohibited and human activities may also be regulated (e.g. access, destruction of pests, management techniques). Under certain conditions, and especially for population management or scientific purposes, population culling or capture operations may be performed.
National game and wildlife reserves
When there are particular issues related to the conservation of species, scientific research and experimentation, reserves can be promoted to the rank of national game and wildlife reserves. In France, national reserves are managed by the National Game and Wildlife Office (Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage, or ONCFS), sometimes in collaboration with the National Forest Office (Office National des Forêts, or ONF) or a regional natural park.
A sign indicating a game and wildlife reserve. © DR