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Which infrastructures for which forest function? Analyzing multifunctionality through the social-ecological system framework

Mojtaba Houballah, Université Clermont Auvergne, Irstea, UR LISC, Centre de Clermont-Ferrand, Aubière, France
Thomas Cordonnier, Université Grenoble Alpes, INRAE, LESSEM, F-38000, Grenoble, France
Jean-Denis Mathias, Université Clermont Auvergne, INRAE, UR LISC, F-63178 Aubière, France


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Landscapes are subject to ecological and socioeconomic forces of change that interact in complex ways. To cope with these changes, landscape planning of natural resource management integrates sociocultural, ecological, and economic considerations in an analytic and systemic way. In this regard, social-ecological system (SES) frameworks have been developed to help analyze key factors that drive the dynamics of such complex adaptive systems. For forests, multifunctional management, which also highlights the ecological and socioeconomic roles of forests for society, has become a central objective for several European countries (e.g., France, Italy, and Germany). However, further development of methods, tools, and conceptual approaches is needed to facilitate our understanding of the arrangements behind management practices that include complex human-environment interactions. This study adopts Ostrom's SES framework and Anderies' robustness framework to highlight how forestry institutions affect forest ecosystems, forest functions, and social arrangements. As an illustration, we apply both frameworks to the Quatre-Montagnes forest, located in the south-east of France, in which multifunctionality is a major objective of forest governance. We first apply the SES framework to construct an analysis of the Quatre-Montagnes forest, specifying the first-tier and second-tier variables. From this, we describe the importance of infrastructure-related variables in shaping the interactions between components of the SES. We then apply the robustness framework, developed by Anderies, because we believe this framework enables a better analysis of ecosystem functions for infrastructure governance than the SES framework, which provides a better descriptive capacity for the variables. We discuss insights, based on our infrastructure analysis, which can be used when establishing designs for efficient forest management with heavy infrastructure dependencies.

Key words

forest accessibility; forestry; infrastructures; multifunctionality; robustness theory; social-ecological systems

Copyright © 2020 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087