The Queyras Natural Park is made up of different environments, each of which is home to a particular flora and fauna, part of the Queyras heritage. It is located near the 45th parallel, between the pole and the equator. This location makes it a unique place, teeming with different species such as the Astragalus alopecurus from Caucasia or the Fatio’s vole Microtus, from the southern Italian Alps.
The torrents that criss-cross between the ridges are teeming with trouts and insects. The white-throated dippers get their food from the torrent. These aquatic passerine birds take advantage of the small torrents to spot their preys, then walk on the water to catch them. Thanks to the alluvium washed away during floods, banks form on the water’s edge and allow the development of a vegetation that is typical of these shores.
Droughts hit part of the territory sometimes. However, in the East, the Nebbia brings moisture. The water vapor from the Pô pool allows animal and plant species that need water to develop.
The steep, grassy slopes of the Queyras and the larch forest is a perfect habitat for the 2,500 chamois thriving there. In the town of Ristolas alone, there are 800 ungulates: ibexes, mouflons and chamois. There are a lot of marmots living in this area that attract large birds of prey, such as the golden eagle.
At an altitude of over 2,400 meters, only adapted species can survive. In fact, for nine months they must endure and resist winter conditions. The Edelweiss is one of the emblematic plants that can survive this harsh environment thanks to its protective hair. A forest of larches and cembro pines has also managed to adapt to these difficult conditions. Local cabinetmakers appreciate the lightness of the pine wood.
On the sunniest slopes, mountain pines thrive on a poor and unstable soil. They can resist to avalanches, and make the soil more stable, just like in the gypsum gullies. They are also a great shelter for the Tengmalm’s owl.
In Queyras, each valley is different, adapted to the people who live there. The houses are part of the built heritage. The houses of the Haut Guil have pastel-colored facades and stone bedrocks and use very little wood, unlike the ones from the villages located at a higher altitude. In the valley of the Aigues, for example, the houses are built mainly with wood and men used to live close to their animals, in cowsheds.