The SEDYVIN Research Topic (RT) targets sustainable terrestrial ecosystem management, or in other words, maintaining direct services to humans (wood, coal, etc.) plus non tradable ecosystem services (biodiversity, landscape, etc.), whilst also preventing natural risks associated with these ecosystems (forest fires, erosion, avalanches, etc.).
Issues and scientific background
SEDYVIN RT's main goals involve producing and transferring the necessary scientific knowledge to understand, predict and manage terrestrial ecological systems. We deal with ecosystems and natural risks from a perspective encompassing multiple scales ranging from habitat to region, community to landscape and single years to centuries. It is at these intermediate levels where the essential part of land-use management operates in the form of managing natural resources.
Human activity and its direct and indirect consequences exert strong pressure on natural and semi-natural ecosystems. This raises the issue of maintaining their current structures and operations. As a second component of global change, important due to its current effects, how practices and land uses have changed over the last few decades has had significant consequences on ecological systems from habitats to landscapes (fragmentation, intensification or abandoning agro-forestry-pastoral practices, tourism, urbanisation). Faced with these facts, managing natural and semi-natural environments becomes a serious issue for national and international policies and rests on the notion of sustainable management, multi-functional management and the value of ecosystem uses. Our project revolves around providing data and reliable scientific facts to clarify this management.
Within the scope of SEDYVIN RT we have identified 4 scientific issues around which we are going to concentrate our resources:
- Better management of ecological systems for production purposes
- Understanding and assessing the vulnerability of ecological systems.
- Quantifying natural risks to interfaces
- Improving knowledge and monitoring of biodiversity on different scales
Structuring around 4 scientific strands
We have chosen to organise the collective RT coordination around 4 scientific issues identified in 4 strands. These strands are based on issues and not on disciplinary approaches. They form the scientific framework of the research topic and define boundaries for the research collectives within which research coordination can be refocused. These strands do not make up teams, but produce topic-based standards that allow teams and individuals to position their research within a common framework.
STRAND 1 - Processes, managing ecological systems and conservation
The research goal in this strand involves defining sustainable management modes for terrestrial ecosystems within a changing environment. To do that, it is necessary to describe and understand the space-time processes, analyse the environments' capability to fulfil a variety of functions, measure the influence of the practices, test alternative and innovating practices and rework it all under socio-economic constraints.
The topics tackled particularly concern modelling the growth and dynamics of different populations, analysis of how different types of forest management can affect biodiversity, changing the scale of forest growth models to encompass not just individual populations but the whole massif by including different functions: protection, production and preservation of biodiversity.
STRAND 2 - Vulnerability of land ecological systems to disturbances and global changes
The main aim of this strand is to assess the vulnerability of terrestrial ecological systems subject to disturbances (fires, invasive plants, wild mammals) and global changes (climate change and changes in land use). Its aim is two-fold: make methodological progress and produce fundamental knowledge that can be used for management. One important issue in this strand is the need to model and simulate how ecosystems will evolve by considering different disturbance scenarios (droughts, fires and herbivores) brought about by climate change. The study scales range from looking at individuals right up to studying the entire landscape. Different aspects are tackled: analysis of how disturbances affect ecosystems, understanding the resilience process, modelling and simulating the dynamics of ecological systems under certain constraints.
STRAND 3 - Risks, ecosystems and territories
This strand aims to produce knowledge on qualitative and quantitative assessment of three major types of natural risk: forest fires, erosion and gravity movements (falling stones, landslides, avalanches). This scientific aim is reinforced by society's demand to improve risk prevention.
This prevention must be guided towards sustainable land development, particularly implementing biological engineering and ecological engineering approaches and also spatial analysis encouraging humans to become further implicated in their own vulnerability. It must allow better use of public investments at a lower cost within a context of climate change and increasing human pressure and vulnerability. The specific questions tackled include: how can we evaluate the risk? How can we evaluate the damage and vulnerability of the infrastructures? What space-time modelling approaches can we use to study dynamic risk variations and the states of the interacting vegetation?
STRAND 4 - Environment quality, ecological indicators, monitoring ecosystems, habitats and biodiversity
The capability of ecosystems to provide services depends on ecosystem processes (functions) by which these services are created and maintained. This has already led to the need for indicators to evaluate and quantify ecological functions that sustain specific services such as biodiversity or connectivity for example.
One important issue for strand 4 is to provide solid scientific bases to evaluate and/or sustain public policies on natural environments, particularly any that aim to stem the reduction of biodiversity (CDB (National Biodiversity Agreement), SNB (National Biodiversity Strategy)), maintaining habitats of community interest (N2000, MEEDDAT (Ministry of Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development and Spatial Planning)), provision of different ecosystem services including wood and storing coal (MEA (Department of Environment and Sanitation), PEFC, MAE (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), etc.), environmental integration of transport infrastructures (Predit, MEEDDAT, PNR), setting up green belts (Grenelle COMOP TVB, ECONNECT Interreg project). This is therefore a matter of developing methods for measuring environmental indicators whether this refers to new technologies (NIRS, genetic prints, high resolution imagery, etc.) or field protocols (EBONE). However, it also involves building and evaluating indicators for monitoring biodiversity, ecological quality and operation. Within this framework, we are participating in the ONB (National Biodiversity Observatory) work group on indicators for monitoring the 2010 National Biodiversity Strategy.
SEDYVIN RT works internally with many other RT teams in and outside the Land Management department. So, complementary work will be started or continued: on the one hand with the "IMEE" centre (formerly LISC (Complex System Engineering Laboratory), G. Deffuant) for the 3rd section of strand 1 (particularly multi-criteria approach). The "DTAM" research topic for approaches on the economic evaluation of management practices (cost/benefit) or the TETIS joint research unit to develop aerial or satellite data analysis protocols.
External scientific partnership
On a European level, it is advisable for researchers from this research topic to continue working within networks (ALTER-Net, PEER) and European projects to continue current projects (FIREPARADOX, EBONE, ECONNECT, FUME). This presence should not be limited to mere scientific surveillance, but must be specified by taking responsibilities for coordinating these networks. At a national level, it is advisable to reinforce the partnerships established with the Public Science and Technology Establishment and University research teams through National Research Agency projects, particularly on the topics of Biodiversity, Vulnerability, Climate, Environment Society, SYSTERRA.
Partnership with and support for public power
The research partnership will be built on agreements with the MEEDDM (Ministry of Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development and the Sea) and the MAAP (Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fishing) and by maintaining the MEEDDM-DEB, MEEDDM-DGPR and MAP-DGPAAT agreements. These agreements offer the chance to develop transfer research and keep our ministry contacts informed on how research within the teams is developing. The RT's engineers and researchers can also provide scientific and technical expertise to the different state and local authority departments regarding matters linked to terrestrial ecological systems. This presence in the expertise field has the double advantage of providing up to date scientific knowledge to clarify public policy, but also helps scientists to get the measure of the needs of the national public sphere in terms of support.
- ED 392: Diversity of Life, Paris
- ED 435: Agriculture, Food, Biology, Environment and Health ABIES, Paris
- ED 177: Science and Technology, University of Orléans
- ED: Health, Cognition and Environmental Engineering EDISCE, Grenoble
- ED 251: Environmental Sciences, Aix-Marseille
- ED355: Areas, cultures, societies, Aix-Marseille
- ED184: Mathematics and Computer Science, Marseille.
- 2nd class Master’s in Living Sciences, Specialising in ETAH (Terrestrial Ecosystems and Human Action), University of Orléans
- AgroParisTech Paris (FIF Engref)
- Master’s EBE – Ecology, Biodiversity, Evolution, AgroParis Tech., Univ. Paris-Sud 11, Univ. Paris 6, Paris
- Master’s in Biodiversity, Ecology, Environment, Joseph Fourrier University, Grenoble
- Master’s EGEPM –Evaluation and Management of the Environment and Mountain Landscapes, JFU, Grenoble.
- Master’s EBE – Ecology, Biodiversity, Evolution, AgroParis Tech., Univ. Paris-Sud 11, Univ. Paris 6, Paris
- La Salle Institute – Beauvais, Agronomical Engineering
- FIF Engref AgroParisTech Paris and Nancy
- Master’s in Land Use & Environmental Sciences, University Paul Cézanne and University of Provence, Marseille.
- Master’s EPHE (Montpellier) in the specialty Environment and Management of Biodiversity, Montpellier
- FIF Engref AgroParisTech Paris et Nancy
- Master’s in Spatial Structures and Dynamics, Universities of Nice and University of Provence, Marseille, JRU Space 6012
Steering many projects brings certain recognition and qualification to the RT's managers and researchers. Recognition can particularly be measured by considering the positions held by the RT's researchers in European networks (Alternet, PEER, Alpine Space, etc.) and international networks (IUFRO, IALE, FragForNet, EU-LAC, etc.) or even by different and varied requests sent to us by different universities and laboratories. This recognition is, however, more often linked to a specific topic (biodiversity, forests, risks, ecological engineering, etc.) than to generic fields such as environmental science.
The research topic includes over 120 people of whom 50% are engineers and researchers. We currently have around twenty PhD students with an annual turnover of around 6 theses.
The workforce is distributed between 3 Research Units in 3 major types of environments:
- EMGR RU (Mountain Ecosystems), Grenoble
- EFNO RU (Forest Ecosystems), Nogent-sur-Vernisson
- EMAX RU (Mediterranean Ecosystems and Hasards), Aix-en-Provence
This geographic distribution allows us to develop our research by supporting model territories corresponding to proven major bioclimatic groups.
The RT participates in Labex OSUG@2020 within the dynamic of the "Future Investments" for Grenoble and participates in the "Target Earth" Labex project in Aix-Marseille.
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