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Resources : the regional scale

Resources : the regional scale

The Rhône-Alpes, a test-region for agro-rural resources

Regional research programs.

Over recent years, research into environmental and agro-rural issues in Rhône-Alpes has dealt with two major themes. It has attempted to overcome a certain lack of structure and necessary organization in order to systematically tackle environmental issues.
The environment research cluster
(Rhône-Alpes et l’environnement ; 100 questions pour la recherche. CNRS délégation régionale ; ISBN : 978-2-7466-2968-4 ;
has brought together a range of competences to answer questions dealing with the quality of the environment at the regional level. A major need for the collecting of data has been identified. For the problematic which concerns us here, the cluster’s research potential has been mobilized for projects such as the “characterization, monitoring and management of the ecological state of ecosystems, indicators” (JM Dorioz, B. Montuelle),
the creation of modelling workshops (S. Charles, UBCL)
and the pooling of means within the framework of research institutes (Lotaret, Glacioclim) or workshops (ZABR, Alpes).
Spatialized environmental databases have been realized (, MétaZABR) and approaches combining metrology, monitoring tools, and regulations and norms adapted to local specificities have been developed within the framework of the Natura 2000 network (192 sites for the protection of biodiversity).
The research objectives of the “Agriculture, actors and territories” section of the “Quality of plants, agricultures, actors and territories” cluster were to respond to two major aspects by associating the competences of economists, environmentalists and agronomists.
The first aspect was to contribute to the development of a sustainable competitive agriculture while the second was to assess the place of agriculture as a manager of rural space. The research themes dealt with :
(1) Branches, activities and territories focused on the conditions of agricultural production and on the territory, and issues related to the products themselves (agricultural production systems, products, markets, consumption and local and regional territories, competition / integration of agricultural and non-agricultural activities, sector- / territory- related conflicts and stakeholder strategies etc).
(2) Territorial resources and organization mutations. The territory-based approach concerned several transversal issues :

  • What is the specifically regional logic, if it exists ?
  • Is it a process by which new economic and social forms emerge or is it a transformational / mutational dynamic process which does not constitute a break (land ownership, peri-urban areas…) ?
  • How do public actions and the dynamics of actors evolve ? For environmental quality in Rhône-Alpes, for example, it was important to know to what extent territorialization depended upon agricultural policies and upon new organizational modes of the actors and, particularly, upon the transformation of farms with regard to regulation at the sector and territory levels. In addition, INRA has been at the forefront of a series of 3 regional programs coined PSDRs, with defined priority axes of research at each stage. Among them, the multifunctionality of agriculture and the emergence of territorial challenges and strategies. One example is the « Territorial resources, public policies and governance » theme (since 2008), including stakeholders dynamics and developmental projects aspects (RessTerr project (B. Pecqueur, S. Lardon, L Peron laboratories) and facilitate our broad-strategy research approach.
The political approaches at the regional level

The French law dealing with the modernization of agriculture and fisheries (27/7/2010) created in each region a Plan Régional de l’Agriculture Durable (PRAD – regional sustainable agriculture plan) for a seven-year period. It lays down the major directions and the priorities for State intervention for agricultural, agro-food and agro-industrial policy in the region taking into account the specifics of the territories as well as all the economic, social and environmental stakes (4 major stakes, conjugated into 20 objectives and 51 actions). The PRAD includes the implementation of indicators and assessment criteria
Simultaneously, a Plan régional pour l’agriculture et le développement rural (PRADR – regional plan for agriculture and rural development) was voted in 2010 and includes, for example, the territorialization of action by the Region through strategic rural development projects (PSADER), with major visibility granted to issues in agriculture, forestry, governance and property management.
The analysis undertaken by the CESER (Avis n° 2012-01, 20 January 2012) indicates the PRAD does not take the action of territorial actors sufficiently into consideration. These actors have defined their own directions, a fact which indicates that an urgent articulation of these plans is required in order to produce a coherent and shared vision of regional development.

Publié ou mis à jour le 24 octobre 2013