Economic and sociological approaches of french peatlands. - INSU - Institut national des sciences de l'Univers Access content directly
Conference Papers Year : 2004

Economic and sociological approaches of french peatlands.


French peatlands have been used mainly for sources of peat for horticulture. 16 sites are still exploited for the production of 400,000 tons/year, representing 46 % of the local peat consumption. Most of these peatlands will be abandoned and restored in the coming years. The objective of this paper is to present the economic aspects of the French peatlands and to explore the sociological consequences of this change in peatland use. Concerning the economic aspects, the French sites of extraction, development of French production, consumption and import of peat, and jobs generated by this activity, are presented. The present tendency is to develop substitutes for peat and to increase imports from other countries. In parallel, alternative uses of peatlands such as conservation, tourism activities and agricultural development of the borders of the peatland are developed creating newsocio-economic values of peatlands in France., These changes in economic uses of the peatland generate modifications in the sociological perceptions of the peatlands. We performed a sociological study based on semi-directive interviews carried out with members of nature conservation associations, farmers, hunters, industrialist, conservative manager, residents, and officials concerned with peatlands. Three sites have been studied: an exploited plain-marsh, in Normandy (Baupte), a site exploited for peat until 1994, then restored and now welcoming the public, in Isère (St Laurent-Du-Pont), and a peatland in Franche-Comté (Frasne) which was exploited until the Second World War, has been recently restored and now welcomes the public. Analysis of interviews reveals that the individuals residing near the site seem to develop a view of the peatlands related to their attachment with the uses of peatlands (extraction of the peat, hunting, gathering of bilberries). The people considered as external observers to the site seem to perceive the peat bog less for its uses than for its existence as a natural environment.


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Dates and versions

hal-00090535 , version 1 (31-08-2006)


  • HAL Id : hal-00090535 , version 1


Carine Maitre, Daniel Gilbert, Alexandre Buttler, Daniel Epron, Andre-Jean Francez, et al.. Economic and sociological approaches of french peatlands.. 12th International Peat Congress: Wise Use of Peatlands, 2004, Tampere, Finland. ⟨hal-00090535⟩
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