Green Out of the Blue, or How (Not) to Deal with Overfed Oceans: Coastal eutrophication has been a recurrent problem in Western France, that has escaped all isolated efforts to cope with it (plus a little more explanation….)

Our project aims to redesign research for SES adaptation to coastal eutrophication towards transdisciplinary research with the following properties: (i) acknowledging its political nature, (ii) fully integrating the abilities and concerns of non-academic partners, who cumulate various experience-based knowledge of this environmental issue, (iii) inclusive, i.e. citizen-friendly, welcoming out-ofthe-box thinking, and careful of concerned groups inaudible in public debates and arenas. Our central hypotheses are that (i) drawing lessons from commonly shared framing of the past trajectory is critical to devise a sustainable future for SES confronted by long-lasting environmental damage; (ii) ensuring articulation between eutrophication management and integrated transition goals of coastal SES is a prerequisite to move forward and achieve SES sustainability; and (iii) in a transformative perspective, research must move from “normal science” to accompanying research, by creating transformative spaces and developing intense interactions among scientists, concerned stakeholders and institutions.

Our consortium is composed of Valerie VIAUD, INRAe Rennes (UMR SAS), coordinator, Jean-Marc DOUGUET TESS/ESE, in addition to participants from AMURE (CNRS, UMR 6308), ARENES (IFREMER, UMR 6051), CEVA, Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (EA CHCSC), G-EAU (CIRAD, UMR), LABERS (EA, Université de Bretagne Occidentale), LEMAR (CNRS, UMR 6539).


The filming of our documentary movie is over !

In the frame of the Biodiversa project FATE, we have decided to work on the Arctic futures through various supports and in particular the video with the making of a documentary film. This film focuses on the berry pickers in Northern Sweden and their own practices and visions of the boreal forests. By following different profiles of pickers and wild berries (they vary along the season), we will present the complexity of this very particular territory. We have filmed : an old Swede, preserving this traditional activity of the summers in a forest that is changing, as the Swedish society is ; a woman that develops a company that makes sirop and jams with the local berries in order to demonstrate that the small city she lives in does not need a mine to survive but a diversity of human-scaled economic activities that are not harmful to the environment ; a wholesaler who buys thousands of tonnes of berries every year in order to sell them all over the world ; and, a group of seasonnal berry pickers who comes from Thailand to Sweden every year for 63 days (among 7 000 other Thai pickers in 2022) and on who the whole market of the wild berries is based.

For this project, we have chosen to mix the academic and the film worlds to combine their visions and methods. Our team is thus composed of researchers and filmmakers : Samuel Roturier, Simon Maraud, Thomas Grandremy and Clément Gallice with the help of Florence Pinton and Valentin Asselin. We have been shooting the film during four weeks in July and in September and we are willing to release it in 2023. The editing will start very soon. We will keep you updated !

Should we read Darwin again to respond to global changes?

A recent article in The conversation starts by saying this « More than 150 years ago Victorian biologist Charles Darwin made a powerful observation: that a mixture of species planted together often grow more strongly than species planted individually.

It has taken a century and a half — ironically about as long as it can take to grow an oak to harvest — and a climate crisis to make policymakers and land owners take Darwin’s idea seriously and apply it to trees. »

Maybe it is time to go back to the basics

A prion disease in the Indigenous Sami reindeer herding!

This is the new study by Simon Maraud and Samuel Roturier within the FATE project on Arctic futures. This paper has been published in Animals in january 2021. They explore the epizooty risk management in Sweden in order to identify the social and cultural impacts of it on the Sami reindeer husbandry.

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is the most transmissible of the prion diseases. In 2016, an unexpected case was found in Norway, the first in Europe. Since then, there have been 32 confirmed cases in Norway, Sweden, and Finland. This paper aims to examine the situation from a social and political perspective: considering the management of CWD in the Swedish part of Sápmi—the Sami ancestral land; identifying the place of the Sami people in the risk management–because of the threats to Sami reindeer herding that CWD presents; and understanding how the disease can modify the modalities of Indigenous reindeer husbandry, whether or not CWD is epizootic. Based on interviews with various stakeholders and by examining the social sciences literature, this paper shows that the health risk management is structured by a politico-scientific controversy about the recognition, or not, of atypical and classical CWD. The Sami herders are currently cooperating with the state authorities in the surveillance program to sample their herds. This involvement takes place in a situation where the balance of power between the Sami people and the state, or the European Union, is framed by its colonial context. This has consequences with respect to the definition of a common interest and to implementing sanitary measures. The particular features of reindeer herding are seen as a challenge to managing CWD risk, compared with European health standards. We argue that CWD will greatly modify the modalities of Indigenous reindeer herding, whether there are positive cases or not in the Sami reindeer. By implementing new health guidelines, the authorities will create a cascading effect in Sami land and its use. The CWD situation in Fennoscandia is full of uncertainty but may cause a major shift in the organization and the governance of Sápmi. In September 2020, the identification of a new CWD case in a wild reindeer in Norway started a new episode in the disease management in Fennoscandia. Our paper raises various questions linked to understanding this new step in this crisis which is not only epidemiological, but also socio-cultural and political.

What is wrong between ecological science and policy?

Sometimes we need to find a title for the title of our publications, but this one says it all. In a recent issue of Ecology Letters, one of the PhD candidates of the team made a lucid analysis for the need to foster interdisciplinarity research in ecology to produce useful knowledge for policy-makers.

In their own words: « Ecological research is highlighting different kinds of issues concerning biodiversity conservation policies. Based on a historical study on protected areas, we suggest that these issues are not caused by a lack of knowledge or technical tools but rather by a misuse of ecological knowledge during the implementation of policy instruments in part driven by a lack of understanding of the mechanisms underlying the policymaking process. We believe that determining the conditions under which ecological science can enlighten policy decisions is now necessary to address current biodiversity conservation issues. This can only be achieved through the promotion of interdisciplinary research. »

Chassé, P., Blatrix, C. and Frascaria‐Lacoste, N. (2020), What is wrong between ecological science and policy?. Ecol. Lett., 23: 1736-1738.

When fire meets interdisciplinarity

Four years go by fast, but they can be rich and fruitful. Sarah Cogos defended her PhD thesis « Fire, people and reindeer in the boreal forest. The role of fire in the historical and contemporary interactions between Sami reindeer herding and forest management in northern Sweden » on December the 11th of 2020, featuring a very international jury. This compound jury was the last effort in combining the approaches and styles of the French and Sweden systems. All went fine. Congratulations to the new researcher!

Five Shades of Sustainability

One of the most difficult issues of sustainability science has been to give some order to all the methods and approaches used to tackle sustainability studies as they seem to be driven by bottom-up approaches, meaning that it is the question at hand that calls for the disciplines involved, and not the opposite.

In this entry, we present five different approaches from papers contributed by members of the research team TESS in the last two years, addressing a sustainability question. In the first one, Fernandez-et al. 2018 uses a « space for time approach » to examine socio-ecological adaptation along ecological gradients in the Mediterranean basin. Sansilvestri et al. 2019 uses the theory of natural and social capital to assess the capacity of forest social-ecological systems to face the challenges of climate change and varying market pressures. Castañeda-Ccori et al. 2020, used the diagnostic approach of Ostrom to assess the sustainability of four Amazon communities in Ecuador where cacao production has been introduced. Sediri et al. 2020, used a comparative conceptual analysis on the popular idea of transformability of social-ecological systems, explaining how the medicine can be worse than the illness, so to speak. Locatelli et al. 2020 address the issue of how multi-disciplinary groups of researchers interact, possibly through the presence of brokers or facilitators that can help create true inter-disciplinarity within large research groups.

TESS trained another PhD!

For three years, Timothée Fouqueray has been working on his PhD project, entitled « Adaptation to long-term uncertainty : social-ecological trajectories of French forest management », under the supervision of Pr. Frascaria-Lacoste and Dr. Trommetter.

After the talk

The PhD defence, on the 3rd of December at AgroParisTech, was a unique opportunity to gather research partners, such as academics, professional foresters, or governmental experts to present his results. Timothée then proudly became the most recent PhD of the team, whom he thanked for the support and friendly atmosphere. Farewell Timothée, and dot not forget us!

For more information on Dr. Fouqueray’s work:

Indigenous knowledge and forest use – The adaptability of the Atikamekw community of Wemotaci (Québec) to survive in forest ruins

As part of a research cooperation between AgroParisTech and Université Laval (Québec), supported by the Programme Samuel-De Champlain (scientific cooperation France-Québec), Léna Conti did her Master 2-internship in TESS. In spring 2019 she did a 2-months fieldwork in Wemotaci, a community of the Atikamekw First Nation.

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