Margins, environment, landscapes

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The "Margins, environment, landscapes" (MEP) research collective studies human-environment interactions in the context of global changes characterized by climate change and the artificialization of environments. It combines various disciplinary approaches to understand and analyze the way in which representations and practices of human societies emerge, are rearranged and intertwined within geographical margins such as mountainous, arctic and arid environments. These territories of margins are studied both in their human and environmental dimensions. The team's research topics are developed around key concepts that emphasize the integrative and relational dimension of relationships with the environment, such as socio-ecological systems, resources, heritages and risks.

The team's research work is divided into three main areas of research


Living in constrained environments: mountain, arctic and arid environments

The team's research focuses on territories that have long remained on the bangs of anthropic development and that are marked by geographic isolation and/or environmental and societal constraints that determine their territorial development. Thus, the research targets three main types of environments: mountain territories, arctic terrains and arid regions. The research questions concern both the dynamics of the socio-ecosystems of these constrained environments (water, biodiversity, geodiversity) and the way in which human societies inhabit them through their experiences, actions, practices, and individual and collective uses; whether these collectives are human or non-human (for example, a particular interest is shown in the "humanimality" of these constrained environments).

Landscape conservation: protected areas and heritage
The team's research aims to identify, understand and analyze formal and informal management practices that contribute to the protection and conservation of landscapes. The aim is to study different forms of landscape conservation. This can range from landscape myth (questioning the European wilderness for example) to more formal protection such as the adoption of legislation for protected areas. This axis also questions conservation through recreational and tourist development (geo-patrimonial development, wildlife tourism). Participatory approaches are favored, with the co-construction of research programs in conjunction with territory managers.

Water, climate and society: measures, risks and resources

The climatic and hydrological constraints are strong in the territories of margins studied. They are approached from the angle of climatic and hydrological field measurements and statistical data analysis, which aim to characterize the functioning of topoclimatic systems and hydrosystems and to detect situations of water stress. They are applied to societal problems such as flood or drought risk management, or agricultural production in constrained environments. The institutional and societal aspects of water management are also addressed (water security, participatory management, hydro-social cycle, urban water cycle) as well as in relation to infrastructures or developments (bisses, dams, hydroelectric power plants).


Team life

  • Sharing within a mailing list of various documents related to the team's themes;
  • Organization of meetings about the life of the team at least once a semester;
  • Organization of research seminars open to all on topics related to the research team (2 to 3 seminars per semester organized over 60 minutes during lunch break, usually on Tuesday) with internal or external speakers;
  • Organization of field trips with team members in relation to a research group theme once a semester (one winter trip and one summer trip);
  • Privileged links with the Interdisciplinary Centre for Mountain Research (CIMR) (organization of common events; cross participation).