EASE theme - Applied Ecology and Ecosystem Services



In a context of high anthropogenic and climatic pressure on ecosystems and biodiversity, this theme aims to understand and model the processes that maintain or restore a number of target ecosystems, chosen because they play an important role for society through the ecosystem services they provide. The aim is to integrate multi-scale knowledge on the vulnerability and resilience of ecosystems to the effects of human activities and natural hazards. We assess ecosystem services such as soil conservation, carbon sequestration and the conservation of biodiversity in target ecosystems. We focus on how ecosystems respond and regenerate after degradation, and aim to understand the adaptive capacity of an ecosystem to change, depending on its organization, specific composition, structure, and architectural plasticity of the species. We also contribute to the identification of tools and practices to restore a site under high anthropogenic or climatic pressure. The carrying out and success of the work in this theme depends strongly on the study sites and the experiments performed. The researchers involved have extensive field experience and most of the sites have already been studied for several years. However, new pilot sites are being studied. This experimental database also makes it possible to test models for predicting changes in the ecosystems studied.


The main objectives are to identify ecosystem services and ecological resilience mechanisms of target ecosystems (mountain forests, coastal forests, subtropical and tropical forests, agroforests) when they are subject to natural (landslides, erosion, invasive plants, etc.) or anthropogenic (fragmentation, conversion, etc.) constraints.

Expected Results

The different approaches used allow us to build hypotheses, models and tools to enable diverse stakeholders (engineers, foresters, agronomists and farmers) to better manage, rebuild or restore fragile or vulnerable environments.

Significant events

  •  A. Stokes co-organizer of the world congress "EcoSummit2016: Ecological Sustainability - Engineering Change" in Montpellier, which brought together more than 1400 participants from 88 countries and more than 600 posters and 750 oral presentations through workshops, round tables and 93 sessions, including 9 sessions organized by UMR AMAP members;
  •  A. Erktan editor of a special issue of Plant and Soil: Erktan, A., McCormack, M.L. & Roumet, C. 2018. Frontiers in root ecology: recent advances and future challenges. Plant Soil 424: 1 ;
  •  Organisation of sessions in conferences: Managing ecosystem services in mountain forests (A. Stokes et Z. Mao, IUFRO Regional Congress for Asia and Oceania 2016, China 2016) ; Natural hazards and disturbance interactions in mountain forests (A. Stokes, IUFRO Anniversary Congress, Germany 2017) ; Measuring and monitoring carbon stocks and ecosystem services in degraded forests under climate change (A. Stokes, Adaptive Management for Forested Landscapes in Transformation, 2018, Argentina) ;
  •  A. Stokes, Chevalier in the Order of Agricultural Merit, 2018.

Main funded projects

Acronym Title Duration
GUYAPATUR IIGuyapatur II2020 - 2021
CHRONICKLe chrome et le nickel dans les sols de Nouvelle-Calédonie: Influence des forçages environnementaux et humains sur la biodisponibilité et la mobilité vers la ressource en eau2019 - 2022
ECOPICSBelowground ecosystem services in plant communities along elevational gradients in France and Mexico2017 - 2021
STEMSpatial and temporal dynamics in mangrove carbon pools2016 - 2016
TERRETERRE: Training Engineers and Researchers to Rethink geotechnical Engineering for a low carbon future2015 - 2019
MANGCOCMANGrove : COnnectivité par les Courants en Indonésie2015 - 2015
INDESOMangrove & Integrated Coastal Zone Management Application2013 - 2017
TAFERApport des traits végétaux pour la compréhension et la visualisation des trajectoires successionnelles des communautés végétales de talus d'infrastructures linéaires de transport 2013 - 2016

Thèses soutenues

  •  Dias S. 2019. Hydrology and mechanics of vegetated volcanic slopes. Thèse ED GAIA, Univ. Montpellier & Univ. Naples. 216 pp. (Co-Dir A. Stokes & G. Urcioli, H2020 ITN TERRE). Currently: Post-doc, Univ. Durham, UK.
  •  Demenois, J., 2017. What influence do mycorrhizal symbioses and root traits have on tropical soil erosion? Application to the ecological restoration of degraded forest ecosystems in New Caledonia on Ferralsols developed on ultramafic substrates. Thesis ED GAIA, AgroParisTech. 232 pp. (Co-Director A. Stokes & F. Rey, FCPR). Currently: CIRAD Researcher, Montpellier.
  •  Mohamed, A., 2016. Relationship between phenology of underground and aerial growth of hybrid walnut trees in temperate agroforestry systems. Thesis ED GAIA, University of Montpellier. 190 pp. (Dir A. Stokes, Kurdish Institute, Paris) Currently: ATER, Univ. Angers.
  •  Nespoulous, J., 2016. Influence of natural and plantation forests on subsurface flows and soil erodibility in tropical China. Thesis ED GAIA, University of Montpellier. (Co-Director A. Stokes & R.C. Sidle, INRA). Currently: CDI Project Manager, Valorhiz Company, Montpellier
  •  Rahmania, R. 2016. Mangrove study based on the analysis of changes in canopy images at very high spatial resolution for better management of the Indonesian coasts. Thesis ED Gaia, Univ. Montpellier. 124 pp. (Dir C. Proisy, INDESO project). Currently: an official of the Ministry of Fisheries, Indonesia.

Theses in progress

  •  Zhang G. 2018 – 2022. Linking structual traits, non-structural carbohydrates and tree ecological strategies in different climates. ED GAIA, Univ. Montpellier (Co-dir. A. Stokes, P. Maillard, INRA Nancy)
  •  Cosme M. 2018 - 2021. Discrete model of spatialized agroecosystems. ED GAIA, Montpellier University (Dir C. Gaucherel)
  •  Conde Salazar R. 2017 - 2020. Towards an ontological approach for the management of databases in agroforestry. ED I2S, Univ. Montpellier (Co-Director A. Stokes, I. Mougenot, UMR ESPACE-Dev)
  •  Hernandez D. 2017 - 2021. Determine the interactions between climate, plants and soil microbial communities. ED GAIA, University of Montpellier (Co-Director A. Stokes, G. Angeles, INECOL, Mexico)
  •  Rossi L. 2016 – 2019. Carbon sequestration in soil along road embankments. ED Gaia, Univ. Montpellier (Co-dir A. Stokes, G. Russo, Univ. Cassino, Italy)

Main scientific production (ACL only)

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