Published on 20 July 2007
Listed since 2000 among Unesco’s World Heritage Sites, the Loire river is considered as “the last untamed French river”. In spite of the distinctive character of the natural heritage in the Val de Loire, few books have focused on the area’s flora and natural habitats. This lavishly illustrated atlas is the first to concentrate on the Loire river. It invites the reader for a downstream ride to discover the original Ligerian flora from its confluence with the Allier river to where it meets the Vienne river. Each one of the very contrasted landscapes of the centre of France that are met along the way - Sancerrois, Sologne, Orléans forest, Beauce – bears its mark on the mighty river’s flora. Over three years, the National Botanical Conservatory of the Paris Basin (Conservatoire botanique national du Bassin Parisien) carried out a number of botanical surveys and hunted down most of the information available on the Ligerian flora to set up a unique database. The result of this undertaking is a reference book for the transmission of an organized and analysed body of knowledge.
The book describes the composite riverside habitats that line the Loire and the species of special interest found in each one. The analysis of some 160,000 botanical records from a total of 172 communes of the middle section of the Loire between the Bec d’Allier and the Bec de Vienne led to the identification of 230 heritage species and more than 20 invasive species. These species “of special interest” are classified into 11 categories corresponding to the main types of habitat, and some 140 of them are described in fact-sheets with illustrations and range maps.