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Social drivers of rural forest dynamics: A multi-scale approach combining ethnography, geomatic and mental model analysis

Blanco, Julien and Sourdril, Anne and Deconchat, Marc and Ladet, Sylvie and Andrieu, Émilie Social drivers of rural forest dynamics: A multi-scale approach combining ethnography, geomatic and mental model analysis. (2019) Landscape and Urban Planning, 188. 132-142. ISSN 0169-2046

(Document in English)

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2018.02.005


Farm forests and trees outside forests (i.e.,‘rural forests’) are key components for the sustainability of agricultural landscapes. Farmers are the main managers of rural forests and their practices vary according to a range of individual and collective factors. This diversity in management practices challenges the understanding of landscape patterns and dynamics, in particular at local and regional scales. In this study, we combined forest mapping over 150 years, ethnographic investigations and mental models to investigate the social drivers of rural forests in a French case study. Results showed a stability of woodlands and groves, favored by the social organization system, i.e., a self-reliance and house-centered system. Recent tree encroachment in abandoned lands–caused by rural exodus and the intensification of agriculture–resulted in a spread of woodlands. In addition, a shift from family-based to market-oriented woodland management was observed, contributing to the homogenization of forest management practices. Hedgerows declined but with contrasted trends according to their location and adjacent land uses: in-farm hedgerows that obstructed mechanization declined, whereas boundary hedgerows that assisted in the maintenance of farmers’ estates were reinforced. Scattered trees were considered of little interest by farmers and declined. This study achieved an understanding of rural forest patterns and underlying social drivers. Mental models provided a basis for exploring the tradeoffs between ecosystem services and disservices operated by farmers. They also revealed differences between scientific and farmer classifications of trees outside forests. Mental models constitute a promising tool for reinforcing bonds between the social and natural sciences.

Item Type:Article
ProdINRA Id:423789
Audience (journal):International peer-reviewed journal
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:French research institutions > Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - CNRS (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - Toulouse INP (FRANCE)
French research institutions > Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - INRA (FRANCE)
Other partners > Université de Paris Diderot - Paris 7 (FRANCE)
Other partners > Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (FRANCE)
Other partners > Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis (FRANCE)
Other partners > Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense (FRANCE)
Laboratory name:
Deposited On:30 Mar 2018 08:23

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