Young ibex in Saint-Gervais
©Damien Tonnoir

Discover the fantastic Biodiversity of Saint-Gervais Mont-blanc

The flora and fauna of Saint-Gervais

Lush forests, verdant alpine meadows and wild mountains are environments that communicate and exchange with each other for a fantastic blossoming of biodiversity on the territory of Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc. The variety of habitats offered by our fabulous environment benefits this biodiversity, which makes our Mont-Blanc massif so special and unique in the world thanks to its wealth of animal and plant species.

Mountain wildlife

Ibex, chamois, deer, roe deer, wild boar…Numerous species take advantage of the ideal environment offered by the generous nature of Saint-Gervais. With its varied, well-maintained forests, species such as red deer, roe deer and wild boar find it an ideal environment in which to feed, shelter and reproduce.

As for chamois and ibex, they prefer theopen, craggy mountain environments, where their talent for acrobatics on the peaks can be fully expressed, between rocky bars and steep slopes.

Local flora

The mountains and alpine pastures of Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc are brimming with mountain flowers and plant species perfectly adapted to this extreme environment. From particularly snowy, harsh winters to sunny summers punctuated by thunderstorms, the local flora, diverse as it is, is unanimously in tune with its environment!

Whether it’s for the tiny crocus, the first flowers to cover the alpine meadows still dotted with snow during spring, or for the sprigs of génépi, firmly clinging to the rocky ledges alongside the glaciers of Miage or Bionnassay, Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc has an ideal place to set off and discover its abundant and surprising mountain flora!

Mountain Gallinaceans

Discreet, but very much present in our mountains, several species of Galliformes live side by side and share the different alpine floors of Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc, from the rhododendron and bilberry-covered ski slopes to the hanging rocks on the Bionnassay moraines, via the valley’s dense, damp forests. This rich and varied mountain environment is home to the black grouse, the rock ptarmigan, the Bartavelle partridge and the hazel grouse.

Our top tips for... Observing biodiversity in the mountains

Familiarize yourself with the local ecosystem

Before setting out to observe biodiversity in the mountains, take the time to learn about the different plant and animal species you might encounter in the area. Field guides, mobile apps and online resources dedicated to local flora and fauna can be very helpful in identifying and learning more about the species you see.

Be discreet and respectful of the environment

When observing mountain biodiversity, it’s important to minimize your impact on fragile ecosystems. Walk on designated trails to avoid disturbing natural habitats. Use binoculars to observe animals from a distance and avoid frightening them. Avoid picking wild plants or disturbing animals. Also take care not to leave litter behind and to behave responsibly to preserve the natural beauty of the mountain.

Choose the right times and places

Some times of year are better for observing certain species in the mountains. For example, in spring, you might witness the flowering of alpine plants, while in summer, migratory birds might be more active. What’s more, different altitudes and habitat types (such as forests, alpine meadows and rocky areas) are home to a variety of species. Plan your outings with these factors in mind.

Large birds of prey

The mountains and wide-open spaces of the Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc territory offer the perfect playground for mountain birds of prey. Rocky mountain faces like Vorassay or Tricot, provide golden eagles, buzzards, kestrels or even Bearded Vultures and other vultures with nesting and resting places safe from predators.

The small fauna present in abundance in the alpages constitutes an saccessible food source for birds of prey, facilitating their settlement on the commune and perpetuating their presence so dear to our mountains!

Small mountain fauna

Often represented by the emblematic and timeless marmots, mountain fauna is in truth much more diverse! The hermines, with their white winter and brown summer coats, are small carnivores perfectly adapted to the generally harsh mountain environment. Variable hares, also known as “blanchot”, also change their coats with the seasons, making them invisible in winter and perfectly camouflaged the rest of the year. Badgers, foxes, weasels, martens and squirrels have been occupying alpine forests, taking advantage of their riches and participating, at the same time, in their balance, since the dawn of time.

The biodiversity of Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc as seen by Damien Tonnoir

An animal photographer and advisor to the Saint-Gervais Tourist Office, Damien tells us about his relationship with the environment…

Fascinated by the mountains since my early childhood, I’m lucky enough to be able to dedicate my free time to the nature and biodiversity of our massifs.

Animal and nature observation, as well as photography, have enabled me to sharpen my sensitivity to this universe that is both fragile and endowed with a formidable capacity to adapt to the harsh conditions imposed by the mountains throughout the seasons.

Being immersed in this mountain environment very frequently offered me privileged moments, which gave me the chance to live passionately close to this varied fauna and flora of our Saint-Gervolains massifs.”