FOR CENTURIES, HERDERS HAVE USED THE LIMESTONE PLATEAUX AND SLOPES OF THE GEOPARK TO PASTURE THEIR FLOCKS OF SHEEP AND GOATS.
This semi-natural habitat of chalk grassland could not have come into being or been maintained without human intervention.
Over and above the heritage of history and landscape they represent, these sloping, often steep, grassy expanses are of considerable ecological value. Exposed to the sun and to the prevailing heat and dryness, they are more than reminiscent of the Mediterranean region. The chirping of crickets and grasshoppers mingles with the heady scent of oregano, savory and sage. Only a few highly specific plants and animals are equipped to cope with the extreme conditions encountered on these grasslands : they are the species that thrive on high temperatures (thermophilic), strong sunlight (heliophilic), dry conditions (xerophilic) or chalky soils (calcicole).
Juniper bushes and orchids are emblematic of this type of biotope. Many species of butterflies, crickets, grasshoppers, bugs and spiders are only to be found here, either because this is where their host plant grows, or because they encounter the conditions of heat and dryness they need to survive.