Poplar plantations in France, at the heart of a conflict between provisioning services and cultural (dis)services

Abstract : France owns the second national area of poplar plantations worldwide, after China. But this area currently decreases. How explain this evolution? Is it because of the demand decline? The present study is conducted in the framework of a research-action project, funded by the French ministry of agriculture. It is mainly based on interviews with different stakeholders. Poplar plantations offer provisioning services. Their wood is mainly used for the production of lightweight packaging and plywood and the actors of the poplar sector are unanimous: the decrease of the poplars area is not due to a demand decline. It is even the opposite; so that the industrials are faced shortage and have to buy poplar wood abroad. Different reasons can explain this area decrease. The poplars are often planted on small plots, which belong to private owners. These ones don’t find anymore their interest in planting, because they are city-dwellers, inherited these plots but have no knowledge in forestry; because they knew bad events (like storms), which devastated their plantations, and they lost their production. But another reason can be noted, especially in the part of the Loire valley, which was registered on the world heritage Unesco list. Here the historical value and the esthetic aspect of the landscapes are highlighted, all the more since the area is thus becoming touristic. According to this point of view, poplar plantations provided cultural disservices: they spoil landscapes. We can also add that they offer supporting disservices, as far as some critics highlight that these plantations damage biodiversity. They are thus at the heart of conflicts between different services and it can be understood only by taking into account the points of view of the different stakeholders. Some communes are against poplar plantations and try to use laws. It is not sure that this way can solve conflicts. Recently the tensions began to come down and the dialogue is nowadays engaged, especially in the framework of the project, in which this study is conducted.
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Submitted on : Saturday, October 20, 2018 - 2:56:22 PM
Last modification on : Monday, October 22, 2018 - 7:58:00 AM

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Amélie Robert. Poplar plantations in France, at the heart of a conflict between provisioning services and cultural (dis)services. Ecosystem Services Partnership Europe 2018 Regional Conference: Ecosystem services in a changing world: moving from theory to practice, Ecosystem Services Partnership, Oct 2018, San-Sebastian, Spain. ⟨halshs-01899953⟩

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