Monday 5
Vulnerability and Resilience of Livestock Farming Systems Facing Global Changes
Jean F. Tourrand
› 11:05 - 18:00 (6h55)
› La Courvertoirade / Le Caylar
Adopting a resilience lens to analyze adaptation to climate change on alpine pastures
Baptiste Nettier  1, 2@  , Sandra Lavorel  3@  , Laurent Dobremez  1@  , Gilles Brunschwig  2@  
1 : Développement des territoires montagnards  (UR DTGR)  -  Website
Irstea
2 rue de la Papeterie-BP 76, F-38402 Saint-Martin-d'Hères -  France
2 : UMR Herbivores équipe SYBEL  (UMRH)
VetAgro Sup
Clermont Université, VetAgro Sup, BP 10448, F-63000, Clermont-Ferrand ; INRA, UMR1213 Herbivores, F-63122 Saint-Genès-Champanelle -  France
3 : Laboratoire d'écologie alpine  (LECA)  -  Website
CNRS : UMR5553, Université Joseph Fourier - Grenoble I, Université de Savoie
bat. D - Biologie 2233 Rue de la piscine - BP 53 38041 GRENOBLE CEDEX 9 -  France

Alpine pastures represent an important forage resource for many agropastoral farming systems, whose herds graze these areas during summer. They also present a very high level of biodiversity. The extensive pastoral management of these areas enables to preserve both the forage value and the biodiversity of the vegetation. However climate change threatens the fragile equilibrium of these complex agro-ecosystems, by influencing biomass production and vegetation composition, while the combined effects of climate change and grazing practices remain uncertain on long-term. The major issues for the stakeholders involved in the management of alpine pastures are (1) to preserve both the pastoral resource and the high level of biodiversity of alpine pastures in this changing context, and (2) to develop adaptive capacities to face perturbations brought by climate change and by a more general context of great uncertainties (climate, but also economy, regulations, animal health...). These stakeholders (farmers, shepherds, technical advisors, managers of protected area) need to have a better understanding of the alpine pastures functioning, to evaluate their adaptive capacity to climate change, and to manage them in a sustainable way.

Ecological resilience can be defined as the capacity for a agro-ecosystem to conserve its structure and properties despite perturbations. Alpine pastures are a typical model of complex agro-ecosystems in a changing environment; adopting a resilience lens to analyze their functioning seems in consequence to be interesting, as it can help to draw general conclusions for a better understanding and management of complex agro-ecosystems in a changing environment. It also allows to study interests and limits of the resilience concept in this type of situations. Finally it may help stakeholders in the management of their alpine pastures.

We studied both the management and the ecological functioning (climate – vegetation ‑ grazing practices interactions) of the alpine pastures. Despite important climatic uncertainties and a lack of knowledge in the ecological functioning of alpine ecosystems, this work led us to take an original view on farmers and shepherds' practices and their adaptation processes, but also to reconsider some of the stakeholders' representations of the alpine pastures functioning. We underlined in particular the necessity (1) to move from a management mainly annual in an environment considered as stable, to a multiannual management in a changing environment, (2) to adopt a more integrated vision and to manage as a whole pastoral and environmental issues, and (3) to consider all the forage resources used by the herds during the whole year, that is to say, to analyze the management of the alpine pasture within the management of the farms using it.

This work was based on the study of a diversified sample of alpine pastures in the French Alps. Technical advisors' tools were analyzed, and local experts' knowledge was mobilized during collective modeling sessions.


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