Long term monitoring, systems approach and the French “Zones ateliers”

Abstract : Long term monitoring is crucial for the basic understanding of environmental processes and the improved management of ecosystems and natural resources. This is also the case for public health where it is also crucial to record disease events, population dynamics and history for the long term on multiple scales. However, many long-term research and monitoring programs are most often designed for a set of extremely limited parameters easy to quantify (physical, chemical, disease incidence, etc.), far to encompass the inherent multi-scale complexity of socio-ecosystems and its living components. Understanding how processes combined in ecosystems where humans play a key-role (actually virtually every ecosystem on earth) call for systems approach and multidisciplinary and multi-sectorial research. The Réseau national des Zones ateliers (RZA), http://www.za-inee.org, is a research network of 13 long-term socio-ecological research (LTSER) areas, labeled by the CNRS. Each Zone atelier (ZA) focuses on a regional socio-ecological system considered as a functional unit (socio-eco-complex such as a river and its watershed, a mountain range with its specific geology, wildlife, economy and culture, etc.). Research is multidisciplinary, on the long term, and based on empirical observations and experiments carried out on study sites termed Site atelier. A ZA is, most often, a network of sites ateliers where each contributes to the understanding of socio-ecological processes on larger scales. A ZA thus combines the advantages of the traditional LTER site approaches and a socio-ecological framework for studying socio-ecosystems. The ZA develop very close links to the surrounding communities, especially with organizations capable of maintaining monitoring programs concerned with ecosystems, human and animal health and decision makers able to implement management policies. Here we will present some examples of integrative research carried out in two ZAs: • the Zone atelier Arc jurassien, in France, (http://zaaj.univ-fcomte.fr/?lang=en), where researchers, farmers, hunters, public health people and conservationists cooperate to deal with issues related to land use changes and the management of population outbreaks of small mammal pest and their consequences, • the Zone atelier Hwange, in Zimbabwe, where researchers, protected area managers, subsistence farmers, tourism operators, and conservationists interact to better understand the sustainable coping strategies for the whole system in the face of severe climate change, international biodiversity conservation mandates (African wildlife), and socio-economic crises. We will also show how research carried out in these two ZAs has led to share experience and initiate collaborative research in China.
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Contributor : Patrick Giraudoux <>
Submitted on : Sunday, September 11, 2016 - 5:19:19 PM
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  • HAL Id : hal-01363745, version 1


Patrick Giraudoux, Hervé Fritz. Long term monitoring, systems approach and the French “Zones ateliers”. Research and methods in ecohealth and conservation, GDRI Ecosystem Health and Environmental Disease Ecology, Nov 2016, Kunming, China. ⟨hal-01363745⟩



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