Key figures

Duration of the project: 01/07/2013 – 31/12/2018
Total budget: € 2,388,011 

Funding Euro %
European Union 1.791.008 75%
French co-financers 270.000 11,31%
Parc naturel régional des Alpilles
291.094 12,19%
Beneficiaries 35.909 1,50%
Total 2.388.011 100%

The project benefits from an exceptional contribution of 75% from the European Union.

Strategic goals and objectives

alpilles_aIn the massif of the Alpilles you still find a rich and quite well preserved natural heritage. The mosaic of different cultures and open habitats harbours a particularly rich and exceptional bird community. Moreover, the massif is also an inventive and economically active territory. Like many other rural areas, it has to stand up to growing pressure due to changes in agriculture, land use and urbanism as well as the increase of the number of tourists.

“Life des Alpilles” aims to demonstrate the close relationship between the presence of 13 endangered bird species and traditional human activities. It was developed to preserve the biodiversity and ecological richness, which is based on traditional human activities. The main objective is to promote these activities that contribute to the maintenance of traditional landscapes and biotopes of the Alpilles.

Specific goals are to:
Strengthen the link between human activities and the preservation of bird biodiversity
Help local stakeholders to understand the ecological importance of the sites/species targeted;
Confirm the area’s ornithological importance by enhancing good practices.

“We only protect what we love – we only love what we know” Konrad Lorenz.


The “Parc naturel régional des Alpilles”, as Coordinating Beneficiary, collaborates with six competent partners, as Associated Beneficiaries, to implement the different actions:

A Rocha France
CEN-PACA: Conservatory of natural areas – Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur
CERPAM: Centre for Studies and Pastoral Activities in the region Alps-Mediterranean
GOPVB: Association of olive growers of the Vallée des Baux
GIC des Alpilles: Hunters’ interest group of the Alpilles
LPO PACA: League for the protection of birds – Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

jacques_BlondelJacques Blondel, emeritus scientist at the CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research), was nominated as scientific adviser of the project.


cg13 region_PACA DREAL-PACAThe Regional Council of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, the General Council of the district Bouches-du- Rhône, and the DREAL PACA are also participants, who co-finance the project.

These structures will work together for the development of the territory and the local economy based on the ecological richness of the Alpilles.


The programme “Life des Alpilles” consists of about 40 actions corresponding to the guidelines of LIFE + Nature projects of the European Commission.
These mostly interconnected actions will be realised during the period 2013-2018.

8 preparatory actions (part A): they include studies, inventories and management plans in relation with the main topics of the project – birds and human activities. These actions are the point of departure for concrete actions at a later point of the project.
10 concrete conservation actions (part C): these are management actions in the field (e.g. actions to restore open habitats…).
6 actions of monitoring (part D): these actions will contribute to the knowledge of the impacts of the conservation actions.
15 actions on public awareness and dissemination of results (part E): the aim of these actions is to enhance the understanding of local stakeholders concerning the extraordinary natural heritage that surrounds them and the importance of its preservation.
Financial administration and (inter)national exchange (part F).

Find out more about the different actions…

Expected results

Maintenance and restoration of the populations of 13 EU Birds Directive-listed species:
The restoration of 150-180 ha of open habitats;
20% reduction in the amount of phytosanitary products used in test areas;
the restoration and diversification of 5 km of hedgerows.

Better consideration of birds and their ecological needs in agriculture:
esting of alternative farming practices involving at least 12 volunteer farmers;
The training of some 45 farmers in alternative, but economically viable, agricultural practices.

Improved awareness and understanding of ecological issues among local stakeholders:
Awareness raising among some 400 schoolchildren;
Booklet on preservation of birds in the Alpilles which will be distributed to 5 000 young people;
Travelling exhibition highlighting the interactions between activities and birds;
Public meetings.

Valorisation of eco-tourism in the Alpilles:
Visitor management on sensitive sites;
Training of accommodation owners and the supply of ‘observation kits’ to encourage bird toursim;
Ornithologic map (5 000 copies).