Landscape ecology is the central discipline around which Dynafor's activities are organized. It is seen as an integrating science of human-nature relations. The spatial characteristics of environments, whose dynamics and determinants must be understood and analysed, induce constraints and interactions on ecological and social-technical systems, but are also the result of some of the processes within these systems.
Dynafor's work uses the concept of socio-ecological landscapes, defined from the ecological point of view as a set of interacting ecosystems, and from the social sciences point of view as one of the social arenas where stakeholders interact. They focus on the level of landscape organization but take into account other levels of organization, from the ecosystem or farm unit (agricultural plot or forest stand) to the region or biome.
We consider landscape as the result of a co-evolution between social and ecological systems at multiple spatial and temporal scales that correspond to the different levels of organization of the processes studied. They represent a scale at which it is relevant to understand and model the relationships between human activities, ecological processes and the environment more broadly to produce references and tools, such as sets of indicators, to help manage different processes.
The processes studied generally concern land use change in landscapes, the influence of agricultural and forest management practices on biodiversity at different scales, the specific study of the role of agriculture-forest boundaries on biodiversity and the services provided by biodiversity to agriculture and forestry. Dynafor's originality is to study landscapes at the interface between forest and agriculture, taking into account a wide gradient of landscapes, from agricultural landscapes with isolated trees to forest massifs, mainly in temperate environments.
Dynafor is interested in 3 main types of systems, at different scales and levels of organization, as well as their interactions and dynamics
Our work involves characterizing spatial structures at different scales and understanding the factors that determine them in order to model them. These structures are linked to ecological systems (biodiversity) that also depend on other factors and internal relationships.
Spatial structures are also linked to socio-technical systems. Social-technical and ecological systems are linked through spatial structures, but also through ecosystem services and perceptions that partly determine natural resource management practices.
During the period 2014-2019, Dynafor's more specific objectives were to
1) Improve methods for characterizing the heterogeneity of agri-forestry landscapes and their dynamics;
2) understand the role ofagri-forestry landscape structure for ecosystem services and the place of the concept of ecosystem services in stakeholder interactions:
3) understand the ecological and socio-technical interactions between forestry and agriculture;
4) understand the factors influencing forest biodiversity and regulatory processes and develop indicators to facilitate forest management.
Illustration of the gradient of agri-forestry landscapes studied by Dynafor (left: polyculture-livestock and peasant woods in the Valleys and Coteaux de Gascogne within the ZA PYGAR; centre: livestock, forest and landscape closure in the OHM Pyrenees; right: forests in the RB of the Cévennes)