Cévennes


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Cévennes

(sāvĕn`), mountain range, S France, bordering the Massif Central on the southeast. The Cévennes proper occupy the central section of a mountainous arc (average height 3,000 ft/910 m), swinging generally NE from the Montagne Noire (NE of Toulouse) to Mont Pilat (SW of Lyons). Between the Cévennes proper and the Montagne Noire are the Causses—barren limestone plateaus intersected by deep chasms and ravines. The Loire, Allier, Lot, Tarn, Aveyron, Hérault, Gard, and Ardèche rivers all radiate from the Cévennes or the Causses. Mont Lozère (5,584 ft/1,702 m) is the highest peak of the Cévennes proper; Mont Mézenc rises to 5,753 ft (1,754 m). The cultivation of silkworms and the manufacture of silk were characteristic of the area, but the silk industry has greatly declined. Heavy industry in Alès is on the decline. Intensive sheep raising in the interior has worsened erosion, but a reforestation program has been started.

Cévennes

 

a mountain range in France that constitutes the southeastern edge of the Massif Central. The Cévennes extend approximately 150 km and rise to an elevation of 1,702 m at Mount Lozère. They are composed primarily of granites, gneisses, phyllites, and schists; in places, there are volcanic rocks. The peaks are plateau-like. The southern and eastern slopes fall steeply to the Rhône Valley, forming step faults, while the northern and western slopes are gentle. In the lower zone of the southern and eastern slopes there is Mediterranean shrub vegetation. Higher there are chestnut and beech forests, which give way to coniferous forests of pine, spruce, and fir. There are meadows on the high peaks. In the valleys there are vineyards and orchards. The Ales coal basin is on the southeastern slope, in the Gard River valley.