, Volume 75, Issue 2, pp 149–161 | Cite as

Environmental conservation and the production of new territories: the example of French départements

  • Pech Pierre
  • Dizière Sophie
  • Gillet Anne-Gabrielle
  • Mamder Julie
  • Tichit Marion


Very important initiatives have been taken and policies have been adopted in the European Union to protect areas of great importance for threatened species and habitats. Protected areas differ broadly in terms of category, natural conditions and administrative organisation, from international initiative such as Biosphere Reserves, European ones with Natura 2000 network until the institution of national and regional protected areas. In France, the administrative subdivisions known as “départements” were created with the French Revolution in the end of the eighteenth century; in 1985 an original and autonomous procedure to establish special protected areas, called “Sensitive Natural Spaces” (SNS) was devolved to them. The scope of this paper is to present an overview of these devolved powers which enable French départements to create protected areas and to levy a departmental tax on sensitive natural spaces (DTSNS). We statistically studied some parameters by multivariate methods in order to explain the choices of this policy by the départements. The huge variations in the way these powers are implemented prove the development of new environmental territories.


Environment Territory Environmental policy Protected area French départements 



We would like to thank Rosalind Greenstein, Senior lecturer in English, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, for her contribution and Professor Marie Cottrel, Professor of Mathematics, University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, for very useful assistance in statistical analysis.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pech Pierre
    • 1
  • Dizière Sophie
    • 1
  • Gillet Anne-Gabrielle
    • 1
  • Mamder Julie
    • 1
  • Tichit Marion
    • 1
  1. 1.Université Paris 1 Panthéon SorbonneParisFrance

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