Is truffle-growing a response to sustainable development and heritage issues in Mediterranean territories ? The case of Uzès, southern France

Abstract : The northern part of the Mediterranean Basin recently experienced major transformations. Landscapes evolved along two contrasting trends: agricultural intensification and urbanization in the plains, and disuse of marginal areas. This led to a gradual disappearance of the natural and cultural heritages associated with Mediterranean scrublands. To revitalize rural areas, promote sustainable development, preserve social-ecological heritages and cultural landscapes, decision-makers in Mediterranean France often support “traditional iconic activities”. Based on a case-study in Uzès (Languedoc-Roussillon Région, southern France), this paper attempts to characterize the potential of truffle (Tuber melanosporum Vitt.) production, a symbolic but agriculturally marginal production, to respond to decision-makers expectations. The multidisciplinary approach developed includes landscape analysis, social surveys and plant inventories. Beyond the truffle growers and local decision-makers discourses and strategies, this paper shows that truffle-growing has limited implications in maintaining farmers and ensuring a sustainable development of the study area. Trufflegrowing reflects Uzès’ society transformation, now more influenced by recent urban needs and values than by rural aspirations and traditions. However, our study brings in favorable arguments regarding the roles of truffle-growing ecosystems for biodiversity and landscape heterogeneity conservation.
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Forests, trees and livelihoods, Taylor & Francis, 2013, 22 (4), pp.en ligne
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Clara Therville, Thomas Mangenet, Christelle Hinnewinkel, Sylvie Guillerme, Hubert De Foresta. Is truffle-growing a response to sustainable development and heritage issues in Mediterranean territories ? The case of Uzès, southern France. Forests, trees and livelihoods, Taylor & Francis, 2013, 22 (4), pp.en ligne. 〈hal-01447686〉

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