TOP : Trajectories of agrO-Pastoral systems in mountains
land management adaptations to climate, ecological and socio-economic changes

newly funded ANR project 2021-2024 !

TOP focuses on the livestock farming systems that rely on the use of high altitude pastoral areas for part of the year. These systems are at the crossroads of several societal issues: the maintenance of mountain agriculture and valuation of local dairy products, the conservation management of remarkable ecosystems and biodiversity, the understanding of the effects of global changes (climate and use) on the functioning of ecosystems and the services that these ecosystems provide to societies.

The project TOP proposed an integrated and transdisciplinary approach to these issues, bringing together the climate and biodiversity sciences and the human and social sciences, in close relationship with key actors of this sector.

TOP is built around three research axes:

(i) links between the dynamics of the social and the biophysical templates, with particular attention paid to grassland governance systems,

(ii) climate and biodiversity changes in relation to pastoral practices

(iii) capacity of livestock systems to adapt to changes

The main methodologies implemented are

(i) surveys of mountain pastoralism stakeholders,

(ii) remote sensing to capture with unequalled temporal depth (more than 30 years) and spatial resolution (10 to 30 m) the seasonal and multiannual dynamics of snow cover and fodder production,

(iii) modelling of climate and regional bioclimate through re-analyses and projections

(iv) development of fuzzy cognitive mapping to analyse the vulnerability and adaptive capacities of systems to change.

The project covers the French Alps and Pyrenees. It benefits from a dense network of non-academic partners with whom the members of the TOP project have been working for several years in the framework of the research infrastructure Réseau des Zones Ateliers. The expected outcomes of the project are (i) key improvements of scientific knowledge, (ii) strengthening of the fabric of relations between the academic world and local stakeholders (managers of protected areas, local authorities), (iii) data and results to inform and guide public decision-making and (iv) awareness-raising among the general public through popularization activities and scientific tourism.