Labex ITTEM's scientific project

Mountain regions have long been territories in crisis: isolated from hubs of development and in need of specialized policies. However, today they are pioneers in the establishment of a more sustainable society.

/ © Leïla Shahshahani

From an environmental point of view, mountains are particularly exposed to the impacts of climate change. Tourism-based economies make mountain regions vulnerable. The topography and particularities of mountain environments mean that their inhabitants, and the surrounding regions faced increased risks as a result of warming and other disruptions including floods, landslides, rockfall and melting glaciers. As a result, mountains regions can both act as witnesses to global change, and also, in the context of transition, as examples of how to take preventive, protective or corrective measures.

From an international perspective, mountains represent a politically and scientifically recognized entity: International Year of Mountains; International Mountain Day; dedicated scientific journals; the Alpine Convention; research, management and citizen networks (Iscar, Alparc and Cipra); structuring intervention programmes (Interreg Alpine Space). By placing mountains at the heart of political and territorial issues, the European Union Strategy for the Alpine Region (EUSALP) aims to establish an original governance structure for a region sharing common sustainability issues.

The diversity and richness of the scientific, environmental, political, social and economic challenges at hand have led the Labex ITTEM to re-envision the mountains as a laboratory, where global-scale societal problems are especially acute. Since 2011, the Labex ITTEM has continuously shown capacity for initiative, launching new projects and research themes, and constituting a scientific "community" committed to research that transcends the boundaries of academics or disciplines.

La prolongation du Labex pour cinq ans (2020-2024) permet de compléter l’approche de la montagne comme « laboratoire » par sa fonction de « démonstrateur » de transition des sociétés et des territoires de montagne à travers quatre grandes thématiques : la transformation du rapport à la nature, de l’action publique et de la gestion des milieux montagnards ; les transitions touristiques et récréatives ; mobilité, énergie et communications : les territorialités de la transition ; une grille de lecture transversale : la montagne comme démonstrateur . Sur ces questions, les sciences sociales ont leur mot à dire, dans une coopération accrue avec les sciences de l’environnement.