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Roadside verges - and biodiversity - are important

Each month Aspas, the wildlife charity writes a column on aspects of French life - this month we look at roadside verges

In partnership with several other French environmental charities, the wildlife protection charity Aspas is campaigning to raise awareness of the importance of roadside biodiversity.

Aspas fox logo

Humble verges can be home to a multitude of flora and fauna which are often eradicated in agricultural areas and gardens, as its campaign “J’aime la nature sur les bords” aims to demonstrate.

The project is designed to raise awareness about verges, to educate people about what they are seeing, to gather information about the state of verges across France and to protect these important areas, many of which act as wildlife reservoirs and replenish other areas with wild species of plants, insects, butterflies and small mammals. A leaflet on the subject can be downloaded from the Aspas website (in French only), containing a report to be filled in during a walk along a local road or path, including details of animals and plants spotted, and which plants are the most numerous.

There are sketches of the most common plants and insects to help identify them. The report is then sent in and the data will be collated in order to make protection more targeted.

Another section contains information on how to spot invasive species such as the Japanese knotweed, eradicate them and replant with native wild plants. It also gives advice on what to do about neglected verges or areas treated with weed killer – how to approach the local authorities, for example.

For anyone who wants to go further, and run a group event, Aspas has published booklets full of information about organising walks or even a whole weekend, along with all sorts of teaching aids to help inform and educate in a fun way. There is also a 40-page booklet for children, with pages to fill in and plants to spot.

All materials are supplied free of charge – you only have to pay for the postage costs.

For more on Aspas, the national charity protecting wild animals­, or to join and receive a free copy of its magazine, Goupil, visit:; call: 04 75 25 10 00 or write to: ASPAS, BP 505 – 26401 CREST CEDEX

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