Theme EASE - Applied ecology and ecosystem services

Context

Ecosystems and species’ diversity are currently placed under severe stress in today’s era of anthropogenic pressure and climate variability. We aim at understanding and modelling the processes allowing the conservation or the reconstruction of a number of target ecosystems, chosen because of the ecosystem services they provide. Traversing several spatial and temporal scales, we integrate knowledge of ecosystem vulnerability and resilience with regard to human activity and extreme weather events. More than ever, it is urgent to find solutions for protecting, restoring and managing ecosystems and in particular, those on degraded land. Understanding how these ecosystems, which also include a major human element, adapt or fail in today’s world, represent a major scientific challenge.

Objectives

We identify ecosystem services and mechanisms of ecological resilience in a set of target ecosystems (mountain forests, coastal forests, subtropical and tropical forests and agroforests), that are subjected to natural disturbance (e.g., landslides, erosion and invasive plants) or anthropogenic stress (e.g., fragmentation and land use change).

Approach

We evaluate ecosystem services such as soil conservation and carbon sequestration within a context of biodiversity and natural regeneration after land degradation. Our aim is to obtain information concerning the adaptive capacity of an ecosystem when subjected to perturbations in its organization, specific composition, structure and the architectural plasticity of the species comprising that ecosystem. We also contribute to the development of tools and methods allowing the restoration of a site undergoing strong anthropogenic pressure or climate variability.
The success of our research depends strongly on the field sites studied and the experiments performed. The scientists in our team have a massive experience in fieldwork, with many performing research at the same sites for several years. New field sites are nevertheless being added, and such a wide range of sites allows us to quantify services, vulnerability and resilience of an ecosystem, as well as to test our models for predicting response to change in that ecosystem.

Expected Results

The variety of approaches utilized by our team’s scientists allow us to construct hypotheses, models and tools allowing different end-users (e.g. foresters, engineers and land managers) to better manage, rehabilitate or restore fragile and vulnerable environments.

Scientific projects

Acronym Title Duration
STEMSpatial and temporal dynamics in mangrove carbon pools2016 - 2016
MANGCOCMANGrove : COnnectivité par les Courants en Indonésie2015 - 2015
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

Major publications

All publications
  • Anthelme, F., Gomez-Aparicio, L., Montúfar, R., 2014. Nurse-based restoration of degraded tropical forests with tussock grasses: experimental support from the Andean cloud forest. Journal of Applied Ecology, 51 (6) : 1534-1543 [Editor link]
  • Stokes, A., Douglas G., Fourcaud T., Giadrossich F., Gillies C., Hubble T., Kim J.H., Loades K., Mao Z., McIvor I., Mickovski S.B., Mitchell S., Osman N., Phillips C., Poesen J., Polster D., Preti F., Raymond P., Rey F., Schwarz M., Walker L.R., 2014. Ecological mitigation of hillslope instability: ten key issues facing researchers and practitioners. Plant and Soil, 377:1–23. [Editor link]
  • Dutrieux, E., Proisy, C., Fromard, F., Walcker, R., Ilman, M., Pawlowski, F., Ferdiansyah, H., & Ponthieux, O., 2014. Mangrove restoration in the vicinity of oil and gas facilities: lessons learnt from a large scale project. 2014 SPE Conference on Health, Safety, and Environment. Long Beach, California, USA. SPE 168449
  • de Foresta, H., Somarriba, E., Temu, A., Boulanger, D., Feuilly, H., Gauthier, M., 2013. Towards the assessment of trees outside forests. Rome: FAO : 345 p.
  • Lagabrielle, E., Rouget, M., Le Bourgeois, T., Payet, K., Durieux, L., Baret, S., Dupont, J., Strasberg, D., 2011. Integrating conservation, restoration and land-use planning in islands--An illustrative case study in Réunion Island (Western Indian Ocean). Landscape and Urban Planning, 101 (2) : 120-130 [Editor link]

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