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Economy of natural resources & legal aspects

Laboratory of natural resource economics (LERNA), head Prof. Michel Moreaux, Toulouse School of Economics.

Main areas of research :
Energy Economics, Environmental Economics, Industrial Competition, Microeconomics, Regulation, Business Economics, Post Keynesian Economics, Financial Development & Growth, Intellectual Property Rights.
L’économie de l’environnement et des ressources naturelles
Laboratoire d’économie des ressources naturelles (Inra, Université de Toulouse - Capitole).

  • un centre d’excellence académique international dans cinq domaines d’économie théorique et appliquée : l’énergie, l’eau, les risques, la régulation publique et l’activité agricole.
  • appliquer les principes de l’analyse économique à un ensemble de problèmes qui ont une structure très particulière (il n’y a pas de marchés pour un grand nombre de biens environnementaux qui sont souvent aussi des biens publics), et qui nécessite la prise en compte de contraintes physiques fortes et dynamiques et qui engagent le très long terme, 50 ans, 100 ans, voire plusieurs siècles ;
Laboratoire montpellierain d’économie théorique et appliquée (LAMETA), head Jean-Michel Salles, Montpellier

Les axes de recherché sont : Economie et finance comportementales, Choix public et éthique sociale, Economie de la concurrence et réglementation, Politiques de développement durable et gestion des ressources naturelles, Economie de la biodiversité et des services liés aux écosystemes.

Parmi les thèmes développés :

  • mesures agri-environnementales de la Politique Agricole Commune, sur la gestion qualitative et quantitative des ressources en propriété commune, les outils d’aide à la négociation, les approches intégratives de la gestion de l’eau, les critères d’évaluation de la durabilité d’un système de gestion intégrée des ressources ;
  • la mise en oeuvre des objectifs de développement durable via un changement de référentiel d’évaluation,l’évaluation de la durabilité institutionnelle, les méthodes d’aide à la décision participative.

LAMETA is a joint CNRS-INRA-SupAgro-Montpellier 1 University research laboratory in economics. The research is directed towards five main areas : behavioural economics and finance, public choice and social ethics, the economics of competition and regulation, policies of sustainable development and natural resources management, the economics of biodiversity and services linked to ecosystems.

The links between the economic development, the natural resources and the ecosystems are illustrated by the following research themes developed by the laboratory :

  • Agri-environmental measures of the Common Agricultural Policy concerning the qualitative and quantitative management of common property resources, tools to assist negotiation, integrative approaches to water management, assessment criteria for the durability of integrated resource management ;
  • The implementation of sustainable development objectives via changing the assessment system reference set, assessment of institutional durability, methods for assisting participative decision-making.
Lascaux” ERC program on agri-food law in the contexts of food security, sustainable development and international trade, head Prof. François Collart Dutilleul (University of Nantes).‎

The ongoing “Lascaux” ERC program (2009-2014) is studying the intersect between the natural resources and their corresponding legal environment and instruments by integrating different legal fields, including, but not limited to, food law, land law, work law, business law, international commercial law, Human Rights law, intellectual property law, competition law, and economic public law. One might need to entirely revisit the governance of natural resources in order to ensure food security, environmental protection and sustainable economic development with considerations on resources protection, management and public quotas policies, but also on law and contract, trade and food supply, sovereignty and globalization, competition and responsibility, governance and institutions.

In this frame, one of the Lascaux purposes is to consider and further imagine the Law adapted to food issues and natural resources exploitation and trade. Past experience shows that thinking globally about the exploitation and trade of resources - particularly natural resources – without including consideration of law as part of the equation implies simply defaulting to the natural law “might makes right.” The program deals with legal aspects of smallholders access to land and biological resources (seeds, animals,...), but also with the access of world populations to safe and quality foods. More specifically, the goal is to learn how natural resource exploitation and trade should be organized and managed in order to ensure optimal food security on all continents.

To write pertinent laws, legal vocabulary and grammar are needed. The vocabulary consists of concepts conveying the values we choose to promote, such as “economic liberty”, “political liberty”, “people’s dignity”, “individual responsibility”, “sustainable development”, “food safety”, “private property”, sovereignty or common goods.
The grammar is necessary to connect these concepts to one another. Creating the required vocabulary and grammar will require the integration of different legal fields, including but not limited to food law, land law, business law, international commercial law, Human Rights law, intellectual property law, competition law, and economic public law. The necessary conversations and developments should occur within an interdisciplinary scientific environment.

Natural sciences approaches

Center for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis

CEES, head Prof. Nils C. Stenseth

Ecosystems are under increasing pressure from both high exploitation rates and anthropogenic climate change. Ecological and evolutionary processes are inescapably intertwined. Environmental changes affect the ecology of species causing novel selection pressures to which the species respond in an evolutionary context. The influence of human activity on earth has accelerated since the industrial revolution, and today anthropogenic impacts on the biota reflect how ecology determines the course of evolution, which again determines future ecological dynamics. In order to discern how such distortion of the environment may affect future flora and fauna, we need greater awareness of how ecology determines the course of evolution, which in turn, determines future ecological dynamics.
Understanding how living organisms respond and adapt to environmental changes remains a major and urgent scientific challenge.
Important questions are : How do ecological structures and processes, as well as intrinsic processes, act as drivers of, or constraints on, evolution ? What determines the potential for adaptation to environmental change, or important levels of phenotypic plasticity ? What mechanisms ? How long (number of generations...) it takes to adapt ?
Corresponding resource - centered research objectives :

  • Ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management ;
  • Adaptive management of resources by integrating different data sources and key ecological processes ;
    - *More extensive use of genetic markers and genomics information in current life history projects ;
    - *NorMER centre of research on Marine Ecosystems and Resources under climate change ;
    - *Quantification of central concepts in ecology, evolutionary biology, genetics ; statistical sophistication to optimize the relationship between data and reality (Metrology = measurement theory ; measurement and meaning, effects of scaling, transformation of data).
Institute for Sustainable Solutions

head Prof. Robert Costanza

The research has focused on the interface between ecological and economic systems, particularly at larger temporal and spatial scales. This includes landscape-level spatial simulation modelling ; analysis of energy and material flows through economic and ecological systems ; valuation of ecosystem services, biodiversity, and natural capital ; and the analysis and correction of dysfunctional incentive systems.

  • the coupling of human and natural systems, and sustainability in urban and urbanizing communities.
  • metrics and evaluation, and mechanisms that effect change and foster engagement at the individual, organizational, societal and ecosystem levels.

The ISS connects the program with the coordinating group Ecosystem Services Partnership ( ), of which it is an active member.

Department of Plant Systems Biology and Bioinformatics

head Prof. Dirk Inzé, Ghent University, Belgium – plant productivity, systems biology and sustainable development.

Plant productivity data bank, “Yield booster”.
As yield is the most important trait for breeding, a considerable amount of (eco)physiological research has been conducted on yield performance of crops. In contrast, surprisingly little is known about the molecular networks underpinning crop yield and plant organ size, partly because of its multifactorial nature in which many physiological processes, such as photosynthesis, water and mineral uptake, mobilization of starch and lipid reserves, and stress tolerance determine the resources available to produce new cells, tissues, and organs.

Albeit plant growth and stress tolerance are obviously complex processes, novel approaches collectively called « systems biology » allow us to better understand this complexity. It is our ambition to decipher the molecular networks underpinning yield and organ growth both under standard as well as mild drought stress conditions in Arabidopsis and the C4 crop maize. Systems biology will ultimately provide a holistic view enabling the optimization of plant productivity. The main ongoing projects are :

  • Molecular mechanisms regulating organ size
  • Systems biology of drought tolerance in Arabidopsis
  • Translational research : from Arabidopsis to maize
  • Computational approaches to unravel leaf growth.
Borlaug Institute Initiative

Nottingham University, UK, co-chairman Edward Cocking.

The mission of The Norman Borlaug Institute (NBI) is to facilitate delivery of sustainable food security and creation of wealth in the developing world. In this cause it will undertake research programmes which are designed to produce high yield/high quality/low input/low environmental impact crops that will resolve the 21st Century’s global challenges.
Scientists in the twelve Regional Centres in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America will contribute to the realisation of the mission so the NBI is unique in bringing together a wide range of complementary expertise and facilities to offer high quality programmes with a developing country focus to organizations commissioning research and training.

Publié ou mis à jour le 24 octobre 2013