Scandola reserve, Corsica.

In Southern Corsica, the natural reserve of Scandola, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is home to a remarkably rich biodiversity on more than 1,600 hectares.
I had the chance to dive there several times and to admire during our explorations such a profusion of animals and plants : barracudas, red coral, gorgonians, groupers, posidonia meadows, among others…

Posidonia meadows: Refuge of biodiversity and lung of the Mediterranean.

This marine flowering plant, a cousin of the Iris and a protected species, plays a fundamental role in the Mediterranean ecosystem.
It forms vast meadows, in turn habitats, spawning grounds and nurseries for 25% of Mediterranean animal species. Nurturing refuges essential to the balance of underwater biodiversity.
But their role goes beyond the seabed and extends to the coastline and even the atmosphere : the Posidonia clusters that we found on beaches form a barrier reefs that protect our coast from storm and erosion in the same way as tropical coral reefs.
Through photosynthesis, Posidonia meadows produce large quantities of oxygen and absorb more carbon than forests. These seemingly trivial meadows are therefor crucial allies for climate balance.
This complex and essential ecosystem is now unfortunately endangered by human activity, especially mass tourism and the abundance of boaters whose anchorages are damaging the meadows.

Scandola, a reserve in danger ?

Mass tourism, a problem that directly affects the Natural Reserve of Scandola which, despite numerous protective measures, is struggling to find a balance between promotion and preservation of its territory.
In 2020, the European Council withdrew the « European Protected Area » label it had held since 1985. The reason for this downgrading ? Too much touristic pressure which endangers terrestrial and underwater ecosystems.
A management issue seriously taken into account by the Regional Natural Park of Corsica, which, despite all the measures, does not seem to have found the right balance to preserve this area from the impact of tens of thousand of annuals visitors.