Research Director INRAE
Deputy Head of the ACT Department (NRAE) since 2018
Director of the BIOSEFAIR meta-program (INRAE) since 2020
INRAE representative on the Board of Directors of MAB France
President of the Solagro association
List of publications in HAL:
Scientific social network: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Marc_Deconchat
As a landscape ecologist, I am particularly interested in the interfaces and interactions between forests and agriculture.
The research I conduct aims at understanding how landscape characteristics determine the ecological processes of biodiversity, in order to better preserve it, but also to better use it through so-called ecosystem services.
My work is part of the reflections on agro-ecology, considering that it requires going beyond the scale of the plot and the farm, understanding the interactions between agricultural practices and ecosystem dynamics at the landscape scale, and reconciling a diversity of issues, actors and activities within territories. Ultimately, it is a targeted research aimed at contributing to the development of agro-ecological engineering for action in the perspective of sustainable management of agro-ecosystems by local stakeholders.
My work has focused on temperate agricultural and forested landscapes and more particularly on rural forests. Small, fragmented and rural forest is a very common situation in France where mixed landscapes (forest and agricultural) are the result of ancestral co-evolution.
Because of their dispersal in rural landscapes, rural forests play major ecological and social roles. They are key elements in the green network of the landscape and an important resource for wood energy and materials, as well as for other forest products and amenities. For these forests, the management objectives, forestry practices and technical itineraries of small fragmented private forests are particular. The differences stem as much from their geographical specificities as from the objectives of their owners. The specific features of these forests require their own characterisation which cannot be limited to copying the methods of description used by foresters or agronomists. This characterisation relates to the spatial dimension, management methods and interactions with agriculture. In this way, they form a model for the study of spatialised ecological phenomena, widely used in landscape ecology but on which many questions remain unanswered.
After completing my initial training as an agricultural engineer (specializing in crop protection) with skills in forest community ecology during my thesis, I acquired frameworks and methods for spatialized data analysis during my work at ENSAT and my post-doctoral work with the University of Berkeley. It was at this time that my scientific project was structured. Although several opportunities were available to me, I chose to develop my ideas within INRA and Dynafor, whose modes of operation, frameworks and objectives corresponded to my expectations. I developed my research and collaborations in various projects with increasing responsibility, as well as in the co-supervision of several theses. I initiated new avenues of work, such as collaboration with ethnologists. After joining the unit and INRA, I carried out several projects that opened me up to other partners and other ways of working, notably during a 10-month research stay in New Zealand, collaborations with African colleagues and by participating, under the unit, in the development of the LTER-Europe network. I obtained my habilitation to direct research in 2008, which allowed me to direct theses myself. I quickly developed a new and specific research theme on which I have focused a significant part of my recent research activities. It concerns edges and, more broadly, the interfaces between forests and other habitats. This scientific inflection has been accompanied by greater investment in the collective life of the unit (axis leader then deputy director, and unit director) because it seemed to me to be a means of pursuing coherent scientific developments. This investment is now continuing at INRAE through my involvement in the management of the Act department and the Biosefair metaprogram. The latter will constitute the bulk of my animation activity in the years to come.