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Home   /   Thesis   /   Design for Nature, how to move from concept to operational application in the context of an industrial site combining a development dynamic and protected natural areas?

Design for Nature, how to move from concept to operational application in the context of an industrial site combining a development dynamic and protected natural areas?

Earth and environmental sciences Environment and pollution


Faced with the observation of the biodiversity crisis and the growth of the human population, development projects have to minimise their impacts on biodiversity, or even integrate biodiversity in a functional manner. These ideas have crystallised around the architectural concepts of Design With Nature (e.g. McHarg 1969) and Design For Nature (Catalano et al., 2021). The first paper proposes to identify the most positive locations for the installation of human activities in order to minimise their impact on the most sensitive areas. The second concept goes further by proposing to design infrastructures that promote biodiversity, i.e. offering a place for nature such that most of its processes can take place there (role of habitat, stepping-stone, corridor, etc.) for multiple species. The idea of Design For Nature is attractive in the sense that it seems to offer a solution to the challenge facing humanity. But it now poses the challenge of its practical implementation. How can ecological knowledge and planning projections be integrated to predict the functioning of biodiversity under different development scenarios? What ecological knowledge is needed? Is this integration feasible at the scale of a agglomeration? Is the adoption of this approach in development projects likely to affect the way in which these projects are assessed by regulators? Under what conditions?

These are the questions that this thesis project aims to address, through the practical case of the Cadarache site. Due to its size and the strong temporal dynamics of the developments carried out there, this site can indeed be likened to a "mini-city", while providing the advantage of the control of developments by a single entity, which facilitates the acquisition and processing of data. The biodiversity component will focus on a food web of a high-stake species, the Ocellated Lizard (Timon lepidus), including its prey (insects) and predators (raptors, snakes). You will study the role of the Cadarache industrial site in the functioning of Ocellated Lizard populations via the construction of a spatially explicit individual-centred model in the study area and the effect of local dynamics. Your experience will ultimately allow you to propose an operational methodology to address the problem. You will also be interested in the societal aspect of the effect of adopting Design with Nature, or even Design for Nature, in the regulatory review and processing.

You will be based in the laboratory at the « Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive » (CEFE) in Montpellier and you will report regularly on your work to the « Laboratoire de Modélisation des Transferts dans l'Environnement » (LMTE) of the DES (Direction des Energies) of the CEA. You will also collaborate with the company Terroïko, the « Institut Méditerranéen de la Biodiversité et d'Ecologie marine et continentale » (IMBE) and the « Conservatoire d’Espaces Naturels » (CEN) of PACA Region.

The scientific and industrial interest of the subject guarantees that your work will be promoted in international communications. After your doctorate, it will offer you the possibility of joining one of the best academic or applied research teams or of choosing to enter the world of industry directly.


Département de Technologie Nucléaire
Service Mesures et modélisation des Transferts et des Accidents graves
Laboratoire de Modélisation des Transferts dans l’Environnement
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