Ecological trajectories and society

The research team Ecological TrajectorieS & Society (TESS) studies the interactions between ecological processes and the organization of human societies within social-ecological systems (SES). Our approaches are interdisciplinary, ranging from classical methods in ecology, to methods used in anthropology and economics.

In general, we are interested in the study of the emergence of complexity in SESs. Our objectives are to understand and foresee the dynamics of ecosystem management and the governance of SESs, specially focusing in their capacity of transformation. We are largely falling within the objectives of the interdisciplinary commission 52 of the CNRS.

Laboratoire Ecologie, Systématique et Evolution TEAM LEADER: Bruno Colas

Julie Lombard-Latune, Anaël Mayeur, Angévine Masson

Research areas:

One of the greatest challenges in understanding long term dynamics of social ecological systems is a) to identify the key processes that have produced change in the past; and b) to anticipate the new emergent processes responsible for potential changes in the future.

In this research axis, we focus on the causes and effects of management decisions, ecosystem governance, and public policies on the evolution of territories such as biodiversity offsetting.

The targeted social-ecological systems range from managed forests and cultivated areas in Europe, urban metropolitan and peri-urban areas in France and Europe, as well as different ecosystems in the Andes in tropical South America.

Evidence is increasingly accumulating about the strong selective pressures caused by modifications of the landscapes and ecosystems by both natural and anthropogenic causes. These modifications can change not only community compositions but may be a factor of rapid evolution between interacting assemblies of species.

Here, we focus on the evolutionary process occurring in managed landscapes, mostly on agricultural settings but not exclusively. On a much larger scale, this research axis explores the interactions of human and non-human species and how human decisions can change the evolutionary trajectories of both.

The human enterprise can no longer be considered as simply as an external disturbance acting upon ecosystems. Evolutionary biologists and ecologists increasingly appreciate the value of indigenous and local knowledge (ILK) for research into past, present and future of biodiversity. However the challenge of understanding and interpreting the interactions between human and non-human beings in the ecosystem functioning must be tackled through an interdisciplinary approach.

“ILK and ecology” includes research in ecology and ethnoecology that focus on knowledge about, and uses of, ecosystem functioning by human communities, and on the relationships between the different knowledge systems about nature.

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Whether intentional or un-intentional, species translocations is an ecological and societal issue that will continue to increase with time. This research axis seeks to document and evaluate the extent and magnitude of species translocations in Europe and the ecological and societal conditions that make them succeed or fail.

At larger temporal and spatial scales, research is conducted to understand how global trade patterns have caused the involuntary spread in selected groups of social insects.