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How ecosystem services and agroecology are greening French agriculture through its reterritorialization

Xavier Arnauld de Sartre, CNRS / Univ Pau & Pays Adour / E2S UPPA, UMR 5319 - PASSAGES
Marion Charbonneau, Univ Pau & Pays Adour / E2S UPPA, UMR 5319 - PASSAGES
Orianne Charrier, Univ Pau & Pays Adour / E2S UPPA, UMR 5319 - PASSAGES


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Even if agroecology and ecosystem services are multidimensional framework concepts, recognizing the technical, social, and ecological dimensions of agriculture, they have developed from different traditions (conservation biology for ecosystem services, agronomy for agroecology). We compare in a specific French region how these frameworks are interpreted through two different instruments of French agricultural policy inspired by ecosystem services (the agroenvironmental measures of the common agricultural policy) and by agroecology principles (the economic and environmental interest groups of the French national policy for agroecology). After having analyzed the theoretical and political foundations of these instruments, we focused on their spatial and political consequences. We conclude that the contrast between the agroecology and ecosystem services approaches tends to fade when we analyze how each of these instruments is put in place. Even if the two instruments obey a different logic (compensate for failure to protect sensitive areas for ecosystem services, trigger a shift in the dynamics of agriculture for agroecology), even if they are driven, funded, and involving different players, even if they locally occupy different places, the changes to agriculture brought by the two instruments tend to converge toward the same result. They try to limit the impacts of agriculture, are part of the greener farming movement, and they are driving a process of opening up agriculture to other sectors. They also aim at increasing farmers’ income by offsetting the failures of an insufficiently remunerative market and capturing some of the production margins. By the end, these instruments are designed to help conventional systems move toward greater integration in the socio-political territories in which they operate, toward greater autonomy and less dependence on phytosanitary products.

Key words

agriculture; agroecology; common agricultural policy; ecosystem services; France; local authority

Copyright © 2019 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article  is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.  You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087