Conflicting engagements on climate change adaptation in French private forest: an anthropological perspective.

Published online
02 Sep 2015
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Blondet, M.
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The issue of climate change is progressively entering the field of forest management in France and Europe. It poses significant questions to forest managers since forest management is made on a very long time scale. Decisions taken today will impact forest for many years and climate change may threaten these long term investments. According to scientists, beech forest is particularly sensitive to drought and may disappear in the coming years due to global warming. Beech is also one of the protected species in the Annexes of the Habitat Directive. To face and bring answers to this issue of the future of beech forest before this change in climate conditions various actors from the forest sector, the conservationist organisations and the policy-making sphere are engaging at the national level. Yet they carry different views of the issue. What are at play, there, are competing positions and perceptions toward nature protection, sustainable forest management and biodiversity integrity. Nevertheless, in the field, our research shown that local people barely consider the issue of climate change as clearly relevant for them since they have not noticed worrying enough signs of environmental change in their surrounding at that stage. As a consequence they are not that much engaged in adapting to the climate's new conditions such as the various stakeholders at the national level. Our article therefore analyses this issue and the interacting and often conflicting perceptions of this issue by the various social actors at different level of the policy-making process. The problem of beech forest under climate change is, indeed, the arena for power relationships between various political stakeholders that we will describe here. We will then show that this competition could be quite disconnected from the life and views of the people in the field. Environmental change remains an issue for the top national experts and policy makers.

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