Senior scientist, INRAE (French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment), at AMAP Joint Research Unit (Botany and Modelling of Plant Architecture and Vegetation), Montpellier, France.
I study the biophysical processes that ultimately lead to desertification, and how to mitigate soil degradation. In particular, my work focuses on shallow landslides and erosion in mountainous areas, and how to use ecological engineering techniques to stabilise soil on hillslopes, with a focus on vegetation. Vegetation can be used and manipulated to improve soil structural stability through an understanding of the interactions between plant roots, soil and soil biota, at different scales.
Not limiting this approach to one geographical region, my work encompasses the study of belowground processes in several climate and biome types (from the Tibetan plateau to subtropical and temperate Alpine regions in Europe and the Americas).
I aim to better understand the belowground functioning of ecosystems along a gradient of degradation, from pristine to highly disturbed. Such information will allow us to mitigate the trajectory of anthropogenic disturbance at an early stage in the process, before the final tipping point of desertification is reached. Restoring ecosystems undergoing desertification will be easier using such knowledge, especially when manipulating belowground processes to improve soil quality and structure.