Fragile and precious, the forests of France deserve our respect

With the beautiful days, the call of the forest becomes more urgent. Walking or horse riding, cycling, running, strolling and exploring with the family, are the little pleasures of sunny weekends. In the Landes, in Fontainebleau and Rambouillet, in the Haute-Vallée de la Chevreuse, in the Alps or the Pyrenees, the forests of France are home to a rich biodiversity. They contribute to the balance of our environment.

EIn the plains, in the mountains and on the coast, our forests are of extraordinary diversity. The forests of France consist of 138 tree species. Oaks, beeches and chestnut trees are the most represented hardwoods. In the large coniferous family, maritime and Scots pines, spruces and firs are the most abundant. In addition to these seven main species, there are cherry trees, lime trees, maple trees, hornbeam, service trees, aspens, ash trees and alders. All these trees are home to abundant flora and fauna. In the forests of the metropolis, indeed live 73 mammal species, 120 species of birds, tens of thousands of species of insects and arachnids, and no less than 30 species of fungi!

A green lung

In France, the forest is gaining ground and this is excellent news! 17 million hectares of forest are the green lung of our country. The forest plays a major role in preserving the environment. It contributes for example to filtration of rainwater and runoff. A forest on the water's edge also absorbs up to 80% of nitrates, 70% of phosphates and 70% of sediments. Thanks to photosynthesis, the forest also absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen. It is estimated that in France, 70 million tonnes of carbon dioxide are trapped each year by the forest, which contributes to the fight against global warming.

Red deer in a forest

A bulwark against natural risks

Forests protect populations from natural risks, such as floods, landslides, avalanches, or the effects of the wind. If the majority of forests are found in the plains, the forests of the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts play a major role against erosion and silting up. 380 kilometers of dune cordon spread over 7 departments are now protected by the National Forestry Office. In the mountains, forests prevent avalanches, rockfalls and landslides. They are also home to the sources of the largest rivers in Europe.

A resource to be preserved

The wood is a renewable natural resource primordial in our societies. Heating, construction, furnishing, packaging, insulation… There are many uses for wood. Thanks to the ONF and the keen awareness of the forest growers, this resource is managed in accordance with the rules of sustainable development, and harvested while respecting the natural growth of forests.

The walker's charter

But beyond its ecological and economic interest, the forest quite simply makes the happiness of many walkers, cyclists and horse riders, all involved in the preservation of this exceptional natural space. Because in the forest, everyone is responsible. The protection of natural spaces is the priority of the National Forestry Office, which has highlighted the points of vigilance to be aware of so that the forest remains a preserved sanctuary, where walkers and animals evolve in complete safety. To help visitors protect France's forests, the ONF has published the walker's charter, “I love the forest: together, let's protect it! ".

The charter reveals the dangers that threaten our forests, such as litter, fires, lawless pickings and pick-ups, motor vehicles, traffic outside of marked paths and trails, or the unsupervised presence of pets. The forest is precious and fragile. It is necessary to adopt the right reflexes to preserve it. Before your walks, do not forget to consult the walker's charter.

Forest walkers

Read also on the same subject: 
In the forest, adopt the right reflexes