The Bourges Marshes are a precious ecosystem sheltering a rich and diverse flora with multiple uses but which also encounters environmental challenges. To get to know our marshes a little better, we went exploring with Bertrand Pouchot, trainer in landscape professions.

Bertrand Pouchot, landscape trainer at the CFPPA

© Ad2T - Bertrand Pouchot

Bertrand trains adults tox landscape professions at the CFPPA in Bourges Le Subdray (Professional Training and Agricultural Promotion Center).
IHe knows the wild flora very well having worked for many years in natural areas of Berry but also in sensitive natural spaces, of forests, of riparian forests and river banks, private domains or even military zones. 

Vegetation and its uses

In Marais de Bourges, the flora is remarkably rich, and among its main actors, is the wicker willow. Formerly, this tree was the key element of basketry, thanks to its young flexible branches, used, among other things, for making baskets.

© Ad2T - Wicker willow - Marais de Bourges
© Ad2T - Wicker willow - Marais de Bourges

Due to its relative rot-proofness and its ability to root easily in contact with water, the willow willow was also used for support and strengthen the banks. This dual functionality, both in craftsmanship and in preserving the banks, has made it a species abundantly present in the marshes.  
However, it is important to note that willow leaves tend to acidify the environment, which can pose a problem in closed bodies of water such as ponds or ponds. 

The plant diversity of the Marais de Bourges

Among the plant diversity of the marshes, black alder occupies a preponderant place. This species tolerates stagnant water thanks to its aquatic roots, thus sheltering a rich fauna of fish, fry and tadpoles. The history of alder dates back to prehistory, where it was used in the construction of lakeside cities to protect against predators. In addition, its wood burns quickly, giving off intense heat and leaving little ash, which also made it a popular material for bread ovens. 

© Ad2T - Black alder - Marais de Bourges

Finally, marshes are home to a wide variety of plants, thanks to the richness of the soil, brought by river sediment. This diversity includes native species such as the Apple tree ou le hazel et exotic such as fig tree, Jerusalem artichoke or rosebush, result of the varied plantings carried out by market gardeners over the years. 

© Ad2T - Apple tree - Marais de Bourges
© Ad2T - Fig tree - Marais de Bourges
© Ad2T - Topinambour - Marais de Bourges

Useful flora and environmental challenges

Virtuous plants

Other marsh plant species include the marceau willow, recognizable by its more rounded leaves, as well as the virgin vines, blushing in the fall, which were imported and flourished over time. They invade the tall trees, providing shelter and food for birds and insects, thus contributing to the local ecosystem. 

© Ad2T - Virginia creeper - Marais de Bourges
© Ad2T - Lierre - Marais de Bourges
© Ad2T - Ivy flowers - Marais de Bourges

Similarly, Ivy plays an essential role, thanks to its flowers which are among the first of the year to bloom, in providing bees with their first source of food after winter. With climate change, ivy, surrounding tree trunks, protects also these heat and drought. 

The dead trees left standing, for their part, contribute to creating ecological niches for insects and birds. 

© Ad2T - Dead tree - Marais de Bourges
© Ad2T - Dead tree - Marais de Bourges
© Ad2T - Willow - Marais de Bourges

It is also interesting to note that the branches of trees that touch the water, slow down the flow a little and allow, in the event of flooding, to reduce its impact on the watercourse.

In the swamp water, we find a useful and oxygenating plant, it is Canadian waterweed. She is quite resistant but still fears the presence of the jussie, who suffocates her and will take her place. 

© Ad2T - Canadian Elodea - Marais de Bourges
Invasive plants
© Ad2T - Jussie - Marais de Bourges

La jusie, an invasive plant well known to market gardeners, was imported from the American continent for its beautiful ornamental flowers. However, it escaped from the basins into which it had been introduced and invaded all our waterways, in France, and even in Europe. It is so invasive thatit chokes the canals and all other plants. In addition, it has a great ability to multiply and resist summer droughts, making it an aquatic plant that is difficult to eradicate. 

Another environmental challenge for the Marais de Bourges is linked to the invasion of japanese knotweed, a plant introduced for animal fodder, but which quickly spread on the banks. Robust and very invasive, it covers the ground, leaving no room for any other plant or flower, which is harmful to biodiversity. 


© Ad2T - Japanese knotweed - Marais de Bourges

The maintenance of the Bourges Marshes and its biodiversity is essential for its preservation. Jussie cleaning outings are regularly organized by the Bourges market gardeners' committee and everyone can lend a hand in favoring a varied flora as well as a balanced ecosystem to enjoy magical walks in this unique place for as long as possible. 


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