The Zones Ateliers

Multidisciplinary research on socio-ecosystems

French Zones-Ateliers (ZA) focus around a functional unit (a river and its watershed, a landscape - agricultural or urban - and its biodiversity, from Antarctica to southern Africa, or a coastal area) or environments characterized by a specific pressure (chronic irradiation of natural or man-made origin) and develop a specific scientific approach based on observations and experiments on platform sites, to conduct long-term multidisciplinary research. A Zone-Atelier is therefore, most often, a network of platform sites.

The ecosystems (marine, mountainous, agricultural, riverine, etc.) are central for Zone-Ateliers. Long-term observation, functional evaluation and experimentations are research methodologies shared by Zones-Atelier. Human activities  inside the landscape are carefully studied, or possibly modified,  as pressures on the ecosystems but also as responses to changes, and means to improve ecosystem services. Zones-Atelier. They are in direct contact with the stakeholders in this area and especially questions from the world of managers, policy makers and associations.

The understanding of these interactions implies a multidisciplinary approach including in particular natural sciences, life sciences,  humanities, and engineering sciences in order to answer specific territorial questions which can be elaborated in strong interaction with territorial managers.

The Zones-Ateliers, currently 14, offer a diversity of contrasting and complementary situations with varying social environments as well as ecosystems.

The Zones-Ateliers are organized as a national network. It allows to study, on nested scales of time and space and in different territories, the complex relationships between human activities and the functioning of ecosystems.

The Zone-Ateliers network is a member of LTER Europe and of ILTER.