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Chapter 4: The Saint-Nectaire cheese landscapes: myth or reality?

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Chapter Summary

In France, the landscape is often used to promote local products, like wines or cheeses. The area where it is possible to produce Saint-Nectaire cheese comprises 69 municipalities belonging to two departments. It is a mountainous region with the highest peak of the Massif Central and covers around 18,000 ha. Geologically, volcanic landforms dominate. The south-western part of this area is made up of granitic and metamorphic stones (the Artense plateau). During the last ice age (the Würm glaciation), large glaciers covered this zone. After their disappearance, less than 18,000 years ago, lakes and peat bogs testify that ice was an extremely powerful agent in the formation of these landscapes. The chapter shows that it is possible to reconcile nature conservation with tourism and grazing, in order to support a distinctive multifunctional landscape. Three conditions are necessary: strong will from local stakeholders, local participation, and EU (laws, subsidies, incentives).

Keywords: biodiversity; dams; Europe; Massif Central; metamorphic stones; Saint-Nectaire cheese landscapes; volcanic landforms



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