The contemporary period, from the second half of the 19th century onwards, was marked first of all by a strong population exodus. Agricultural disasters and the Great War were its main causes. But since the 1970s, the local population has been undergoing something of a revival, which has coincided with the development of the Park.
From the second half of the 19th century until after the Second World War, the Cévennes experienced a rural exodus which plunged the area into a profound demographic crisis. The causes were agricultural disasters – diseases struck silk worms, sweet-chestnut trees and vines – the expansion of the mining area and Languedoc viticulture, as well as the Great War.
The Cévennes – land of resistance to intolerance and oppression – have also been a refuge. At the beginning of the 1970s, while the National Park established itself in the uplands, they welcomed young people from the city tempted by a return to nature. This demographic revival was accompanied by innovative economic development, founded on the promotion of the area and its resources.
Unlike American or other European national parks, created at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, France’s National Parks do not consider environmental conservation their sole objective.