| ||Before flowing into the Mediterranean, the Rhone (812 km) branches out, forming an 850 km2 delta called Camargue, mainly constituted of alluvial deposits. Swamps and ponds occupy 40% of this vast wetland area, their water more or less brackish (0 g to 36 g of salt per litre); some of them dry out in summer, exposing a silty soil soon covered with cracks and saline deposits due to the sun and heat. A national nature reserve in parts since 1927, Camargue provides a habitat for a varied fauna, numerous bird species in particular: pink flamingos, herons, ducks, passerines, birds of prey... The rich environment of the delta also favours a variety of human activities: rice and wine growing, hunting, fishing, horse and bull breeding, as well as the exploitation of 100 km2 of salt marshes, the largest saltern in Europe which produces almost one million tons of salt per year.
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