Action A3. Trajectory of the critical zone of Mediterranean territories


Trajectory of the critical zone of Mediterranean territories


The aim of this multidisciplinary project is: (1) to characterise certain physical aspects of the Critical Zone of territories in the lower Rhône valley and (2) to study this CZ geographically (spatially, scalarly, dynamically and aesthetically).


The aim of the Trajectoire project is to characterise certain aspects of the Critical Zone (telluric interface under anthropic forcing) in areas of the lower Rhône valley (mainly the Cévennes and the karstic piedmont), and then to continue this research by looking at the paradigmatic framework and the means of studying the Critical Zone from a geographical perspective (scalar, spatial, dynamic and aesthetic), which complements the approaches taken by the Earth and Life sciences. The aim is therefore to promote the CZ as the only living environment for humankind whose survival, in a state compatible with economic and human development, must be ensured.

In this research, the question of water is our main field of experimentation, particularly in the Gardon and Cèze basins, where we are seeing major reforestation (ecological relaxation). We are therefore looking at situations where there is too much water (flooding, chemical flooding, etc.), as well as those where it is radically absent (dryness, aridity, drought, fires, etc.).

This is done within the framework of an engaged science, characterised by its fertility (ability to generate new questions), its diversity (ability to articulate and synergise different types of knowledge), its impartiality (ability to ensure the reliability and reproducibility of results) and its responsibility (ability to respond to requests and to what we do). We are thus moving well away from the idea of a neutral and autonomous science, insofar as neutrality is an illusion (any new knowledge is potentially a means of action), but also because all questioning is based on resources (including those of civil society) that this questioning does not produce on its own.

Our fields of study will be the inland peripheries of the Rhône region (PRI), defined multi-scalarly as any territory that does not belong to the metropolitan urban areas and is dominated by regulatory, economic, social, cultural and political factors, etc. The medium- and long-term management of these PRIs, which account for most of the surface area of the CZ and are home to the majority of the population, is relatively unknown, both in its purely ecological dimensions (climate change, changes in biodiversity, etc.) and in its socio-political dynamics (impoverishment, polarisation, etc.).

The Trajectoire Group manages the PlaTex-ESPACE infrastructure with two more technical objectives in mind:
1- position this platform at the intersection of the three research infrastructures (the INSHS, the INEE and the INSU): OSU, ZA and OZCAR (RBV); in collaboration with the Atelier des Rivières Cévenoles (ZABR, GRAIE) and the OHM-CV (AllEnvi)
2- manage issues in-house such as the popular and participatory clarification of socially and ecologically responsible trajectories; for example, in recent years, the ANR FloodScale or the HyMex programme.

The challenge is to design stationary (dynamically stable) environments, places where people can live and whose trajectories, whatever their current initial point, can lead them (1) to the best possible ecological situation and (2) to a situation where they can ensure the greatest possible well-being for their populations while avoiding ecological and social systemolysis.


P. Martin


N. Brachet, P. Cicille, M. Coulon, A. Dalle, J.-F.Didon-Lescot, J.-M. Domergue, A. Douguédroit, N. Dubus, N. Grard, D. Josselin, P.-A. Ayral, J.-L. Ballais, S. Sauvagnargues

    RSS Action A3. Trajectoire de la zone critique de territoires méditerranéens – Carnet de recherche de l'UMR ESPACE

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