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Nature's contribution to adaptation in the French Alps

Lavorel S., Colloff M.J., Locatelli B., Prober S.M., Bruley E., Nettier B.. 2018. In : Book of abstracts of ESP Europe 2018 Conference "Ecosystem Services in a Changing World: Moving from Theory to Practice". San Sebastian : ESP, 5 p.. ESP Europe 2018 Conference "Ecosystem Services in a Changing World: Moving from Theory to Practice", 2018-10-15/2018-10-19, San Sebastian (Espagne).

fr Mountain socio-ecosystems offer a paradox of expected sensitivity to climate and socio-economic change, yet show exemplary long-term ecological and social resilience. Their future is thus highly uncertain. It is expected that traditional knowledge and innovation capacity should support future adaptation, and especially ecosystem-based adaptation. Here, we present results from a participatory study of adaptation pathways to global change based on long-term research in the French Alps. Using ecological data, ecosystem service and resilience modelling, and information from stakeholders on their ongoing adaptation and future livelihoods collected during workshops and interviews, we identified adaptation services, which provide the potential for people to adapt based on biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and properties of ecological resilience and transformability. Bundles of adaptation services include (i) ecosystem properties that are actively managed for climate adaptation, (ii) properties that emerge as co-benefits from this management, and (iii) adaptive properties that derive from responses to other drivers like markets and subsidies. Within each land use type, adaptation is thus also about managing synergies and trade-offs among these three categories of adaptation services. These trade-offs scale up to the entire landscape to determine the net adaptation benefits from ecosystems. Alternative adaptation pathways are negotiated from these benefits, while balancing other social and economic dimensions of adaptation. For this, barriers resulting from interactions among values, rules and knowledge need to be overcome through private, collective and institutional innovation. These include reducing resistance to technical innovation (e.g. for agronomic management) through strong and well-supported agriculture extension services, or by moving away from an economy highly dependent on subsidies to consumer-producer networks with demand for local, high environmental quality products. Overall, as adaptation unfolds, alternative pathways mobilise an increasing diversity of adaptation services that support the diversification of agriculture and tourism activities.

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