| || This plantation in the mountains of the Ariège département is part of the area’s woodland management and helps to combat erosion of soil that has been stripped of vegetation. But these mountains have a secret. They are home to two female brown bears and two of their cubs, which were trapped in Slovenia and released here as part of the plan to reintroduce brown bears to the Pyrenees. Shooting, poisoning, and habitat fragmentation—especially due to road building—had got the better of this symbolic species. Preservation of biodiversity, and especially of threatened or vulnerable species, is one of the priorities that was set out at the United Nations summit held at Rio in 1992. In 2002, it was estimated that more than a ﬁfth of mammal species, a quarter of reptile species, a third of ﬁsh, and almost 60 percent of insects were threatened or vulnerable—as well as more than half the ﬂowering plants living on the planet.
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