Cross Disciplinary Program 2016.
Reconstructing and projecting trajectories of alpine societies and their environment.

Three French alpine valleys will be analysed so as to demonstrate the kind of past and present relationships between environmental changes and social and economic dynamics. This analysis will produce an understanding of the socio-ecological dynamics along past trajectories and support the co-building with the actors of the valleys of future trajectories taking into account critical ongoing global changes.

The challenges

This project addresses the grand challenge of local sustainable development in the face of global change. As marginal socio-ecosystems, mountain regions are potentially highly vulnerable. At the same time, their long history of environmental variability and their marginal social and economic status make them exemplary cases for understanding adaptation and co-evolution between human societies and the environment, from which other regions may learn.


Trajectories aims at building a novel interdisciplinary approach, combining biophysical sciences, geosciences, engineering sciences and social sciences and humanities. Each Work Package is co-coordinated by researchers belonging to complementary disciplinary fields, as well as most PhD supervision. The production of socio-ecological trajectories will include inputs from social sciences and environmental sciences, with the support of modeling sciences.

Within the general context of the habitability in mountainous regions, Trajectories aims at improving our knowledge of the interactions between human societies and their environment, to build adaptation scenarii under global changes.

International visibility

Trajectories will contribute essential progress towards the agenda of the Future Earth programme, and its components projects including PAGES, WaterFutures and ecoSERVICES. Published results from Trajectories will be directly relevant to the next IPCC and IPBES assessments. Nationally, Trajectories will contribute critical elements relevant to the National Climate Adaptation Plan (PNACC) and to the National Strategy for Sustainable Development (SNTEDD).

Enhanced by the expecting results, concerning both innovative methodologies and cognitive outputs, Trajectories aims at being a decisive step of the Grenoble Alpes interdisciplinary community of the “Environment & Society” dynamics.

Updated on February 18, 2020