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Why this area?

The diversity of ecological systems within the ZA and of the local human and natural constraints and the available management tools, allows us to address several problems that coastal areas all over the world are facing.

Coastal hazards: erosion and submersion

Because of their location at the north-western tip of France, the Bay of Brest and the coast of the Iroise Sea are particularly subject to coastal risks in the context of global change: sea level rise and increase in the frequency and strength of storms.

In this context, the low lying islands and beaches in Iroise, as well as the seafloor of the Bay of Brest, are an exemplary area to study to better understand the feedback loops impacting the coastal zone.

Anthropogenic disturbances and ecological state/response of the coastal ecosystem

The Bay of Brest and its surroundings form an ecosystem characteristic of all small coastal rivers in Brittany. Although relatively small in comparison with large coastal rivers, its importance is considerable. For, while being subjected to multiple natural and anthropogenic stresses, the Bay of Brest has exceptional diversity in terms of habitats, flora and fauna.

In this context, achieving "good ecological status" for the Bay of Brest by 2020, as targeted by the European Commission, is an important goal.

Creation of the Iroise Marine Nature Park (PNMI)

Studied by many naturalists since the 1950s, the Iroise Sea and its islands and islets are recognised for their exceptional landscape, natural and cultural heritage. The PNMI has attained the status of regional park, nature reserve, biosphere reserve, and, since 2007, marine nature park. Prior to the designation of this area as a marine nature park, a status that requires a substantial change in management practice, it was needed, at a local level, to produce an environmental plan for the area, and, at national level, to overhaul the law on national parks and, in 2006, create the marine nature park status. The Iroise Marine Nature Park management plan that will serve as a guide during the next fifteen years was adopted in September 2010. Its medium-term consequences for the park-people relationships, for the professional as well as leisure activities within the park and for its biodiversity, open up an extremely rich multidisciplinary field of research.