Causses and Cévennes - Visit time : 4 days to 1 week.
The Causses and the Cévennes, cultural landscapes of Mediterranean agro-pastoralism.
The site of the Causses and the Cévennes is certainly one of the most comprehensive classified sites to discover, combining natural elements (canyons, plateaus, mountains, caves) and cultural ones (agro-pastoralism, agriculture, construction, architecture). These cultural landscapes are also reflected through the region’s gastronomy (lamb, cheese). On the farm, on the drailles (paths used for transhumance) or in the villages, visitors are especially encouraged soak up the atmosphere by meeting the people who live here. After discovering this thousand-year old land, it’s sure to be difficult to leave.
Recognition of agro-pastoral livestock farming
Virtually every type of pastoral organization known on the shores of the Mediterranean (agro-pastoralism, silvopastoralism, transhumance and sedentary pastoralism) is present in this area, thus possessing a universal value. For three millennia, the major interaction between man and the natural environment is recognized as a component of a cultural landscape, as it represents the sustainability of agro-pastoralism in the Causses and the Cévennes, guaranteeing not only the authenticity but also the integrity of these landscapes.
The area has a remarkable vitality resulting from the sharp revival of pastoral systems, and is a major and viable example of Mediterranean agro-pastoralism, and its preservation is necessary. As such, during the session on June 28th, 2011, the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO adopted the Statement of Outstanding Universal Value of the Causses and the Cévennes, cultural landscape of Mediterranean agro-pastoralism, and included the site on the World Heritage of Humanity list.
Criteria for selection
Criterion (iii): The Causses and the Cévennes present an outstanding example of a certain type of Mediterranean agro-pastoralism. This cultural tradition, based on social structures and the local sheep breeds, is reflected in the structure of the landscape, particularly in models of farms, businesses, fields, management of water, land and drailles of communal pasturage, and reveals much about the mode of evolution of these elements, especially since the 12th century. Agro-pastoral tradition is still alive in the region and has been revitalized in recent decades.
Criterion (v): The Causses and the Cévennes can be considered as an example of Mediterranean agro-pastoralism and, more specifically, represent a response common to southwestern Europe. Areas of the landscape illustrate how exceptional the way the system has developed over time.
Source : UNESCO / ICOMOS