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98-4 | 2010
La montagne, laboratoire du changement climatique

Mountains, the climate change laboratory
Glacier du Tour, Chamonix-Mont-Blanc 1860-2005
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Credits : Luc Moreau http://moreauluc.com

Mountain areas are exceptional environments, endowed with a wide variety of natural resources (wood, minerals, water, energy, snow, etc.), but at the same time having to deal with a number of natural handicaps (slope, altitude and climate). Over the years, mountain areas have thus come to occupy a special place in spatial planning and development (RTM (Mountain Terrain Restoration programme), Plan neige (winter resort development programme), Loi Montagne (Mountain Act)). A further concern today for planners and decision-makers is the question of climate change. It is therefore important to examine the implications of the interaction between an object, the mountain area, with its distinctive characteristics and a generic phenomenon, the representation of which stems from a global understanding of climate (global warming) obtained through general prospective models, models that need to be more refined in their projections at the local level. The objective of this special issue of the RGA is to explore this interaction in terms of four special areas: mountain ecosystems, agropastoralism, forests and forestry, and natural and economic risks. This framework provides the opportunity to test the hypothesis that in a context haunted by the spectre of climate change, the right to experimentation defended by the elected representatives of mountain areas takes on a new dimension, making mountain areas a laboratory for spatial planning.

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