English · Français
Forum Synergie

Linking sustainable practices throughout Europe

[EXP] « The insect clearing » : a haven of « ordinary » biodiversity in SW France

An educational project which encourages local biodiversity and teaches to a wide public

Rural topic(s): Agroecology and agroforestry

Type: Success story

Date of writing: August 16, 2012

Author(s) of this page: Patrick Chalmers

Organization(s): Association Océanides


Alain Roujas - founder and presenter of “La Clairiere des Insectes” explains the thinking behind his educational project in the Pyrenean foothills south of Toulouse in France.


Alain, a passionate insect follower from childhood, has cleared a hectare or so of naturally regenerated oak and sweet chestnut forest on what was farmed land until the 1950s. The place is now home to more than two dozen native orchids and more than a hundred protected species of insects and plants.

He champions “ordinary biodiversity” as opposed to focusing attention on better-known, “heritage” species. His project introduces an annual audience of several thousand schoolchildren, students, farmers and members of the visiting public to the wealth of nature in their own backyards and suggests what they might do to help local biodiversity.


A fine example of an own-initiative effort to encourage local biodiversity and to teach a wide array of society members about its value. An inspiring place with an inspiring creator.


Source of the information: author visit on August 14, 2012 that included extended conversation, questioning and video interviews in the context of the Sustainable Mystery Tour 2012.


Alain Roujas,

Association Océanides Midi-Pyrénées,



Scale of intervention : Local

Keywords: Biodiversity, Information / Education for sustainable development, conservation and management of natural resources, Sustainable Mystery Tour 2012, improvement of biodiversity, biodiversity conservation, sustainable agriculture, ecosystem friendly methods, natural habitats preservation

Places: France

Actors: association, training and visitor centre

Methods: outdoor learning, raising awareness

See also: