TotalEnergies Foundation supporting the endowment fund ONF-Agir pour la Forêt, which combines coastal forest conservation and raising young people’s awareness of how to protect natural environments.
Since 2018, TotalEnergies Foundation has supported the actions of the ONF (French national forest office), contributing among other things to the endowment fund ONF-Agir pour la Forêt since its creation in 2019. The agreement between them has just been renewed for three more years with several objectives: to preserve coastal forests and their biodiversity; to introduce young people to these ecosystems and raise their awareness of how to protect them; and promote the social and professional inclusion of young people in vulnerable situations.
The previous agreement (2020-2022) signed between the endowment fund ONF-Agir pour la Forêt and TotalEnergies Foundation helped 1) to protect the precious natural resources of the Île de Sainte Marguerite in the Mediterranean, affected by tourism pressure; 2) to create an educational pathway in Biscarosse; 3) to control invasive plant species in the biological reserve of the Esterel; 4) to study the dynamics of the dunes on the Atlantic coast to prevent natural disasters; and 5) to restore the state-owned coastal forest of Castillon that was destroyed by a fire in 2020.
As part of its Climate, Coastal Areas and Oceans actions, TotalEnergies Foundation therefore attaches great importance to financing projects whose aim is to protect coastal forest ecosystems and their biodiversity, which are suffering the impacts of climate change and human pressure. To ensure the effects are long-lasting, the Foundation also supports actions to welcome young people and make them aware of these challenges. Lastly, because the Foundation has decided to support the most vulnerable young people, it gives priority to inclusive initiatives allowing young people in precarious situations to grow, and even find a job, by enabling them to discover coastal forests and actively take part in preserving them.
New initiatives will be defined each year until 2026. Four have already been selected for 2023:
- In Guadeloupe, renovation of the Sylvathèque de Gourbeyre. This remarkable area, spreading over 1 ha, comprises many local plant species. The ONF, which owns the site, endeavors to raise the general public’s awareness of the different varieties. 1,000 students who live on the island are also welcomed there each year to take part in various activities related to biodiversity. In 2023, thanks to the support of TotalEnergies Foundation, the entrance planking will be renewed to ensure access to everyone (particularly persons with reduced mobility) and a treetop platform will also be restored to improve the educational offering of the site. Young interns of the Special Military Service Regiment of Guadeloupe will take part in the project and will be able to learn on the job.
- More than 500 young people will be able to take part in event days to find out about the variety and fragility of the Guadeloupean mangrove. Introducing young people to this natural heritage characteristic of the Caribbean is essential for preserving it in the long term. This is why the ONF has created a program aimed specifically at students: Ti Forestié an Mangròv. A typical day will include a theoretical part and a field trip. Each student will also be given an educational kit allowing them to learn about this environment through experiments, games or art.
- Inventory of the beetles in the dunes of the Vendée coast. Although the vegetation of sand dunes has been the subject of many studies and research, very little is known about the insect populations living there. And yet beetles play an essential role and are a good indicator of the state of conservation of this ecosystem. This is why a two-year inventory will be taking place among the 220 ha of dunes of the state-owned forest of Olonne and of the Pointe d’Arçay biological reserve. The longer-term objective will be to formulate recommendations on how to manage the dunes (e.g. number of visitors, cleaning of the beaches, presence of dead wood). In addition, communication support media will be made available to the general public. Among other things, an educational pathway designed for elementary school students will be put in place. After work in the classroom, the students will contribute to inventorying the insects in the dunes.
- The ONF will be conducting the initial actions to restore the coastal forest of the Gironde damaged by fires in summer 2022. Following a diagnosis, a two-year action plan was determined. With the support of TotalEnergies Foundation, equipment (barriers, information panels) will be installed to contribute to the prevention of fire risks. So that the state-owned forest of La Teste can be reopened to the general public while protecting the natural environments that are undergoing reconstruction, facilities including furniture, foot and cycle paths, will be restored and fences will prevent access to the most fragile natural areas. Lastly, to restore the damaged landscapes, an experimental project to reconstitute a dune ridge will be undertaken. A series of projects that will be partly conducted in partnership with professional inclusion structures.