Winner’s story: Déborah Closset-Kopp

Societété Botanique de France's Botany Letters Research Prize

The idea that the Société Botanique de France endorsed my project is very important for me. In a way, this project is a return to my roots, back to my first research.

Deborah Closset-KoppDéborah Closset-Kopp is an assistant professor at the lab of “Ecologie et Dynamique des Sytèmes Anthropisés” (EDYSAN, FRE 3498 CNRS) of the Jules Verne University of Picardie, in Amiens, since 2006. She holds a PhD in Life Sciences from the University of Metz under the supervision of Professor Annik Schnitzler. The PhD. dissertation was entitled “Sylvigenesis of the fir-beech forest of the Vosges mountains.” In this thesis, funded by the Parc Naturel Régional des Ballons des Vosges, she studied the natural dynamics of lowland birch forests, mountain mixed-beech woodlands and subalpine beech forests, in unmanaged areas. The results contribute to the conservation and sustainable management of these forests.

Since she has been recruited in Amiens, Déborah’s research addresses the ecosystem functioning under various disturbance regimes, such as human pressure and management, past land-use, plant invasion, in order to understand the resilience of altered ecosystems. She recently led a National project (DIVA 3 MEDDE) about the efficiency of hedgerow corridors among forest patches in agricultural landscapes. She also contributes to several ongoing projects related to the historical ecology of forests. Her field of interest encompasses historical ecology, forest dynamics and botany, with special skills in soil seed bank and seed rain studies, architectural profiles, growth measurements (tree ring and growth unit analysis).

Within the EDYSAN lab, Déborah leads the “Geo-ecology of ecosystems and landscape” research group. As a lecturer, she is also actively involved in the University Diploma of “Field botany” of the French botanical society.

This award allowed her to conduct a plant resurvey in the forest of Compiègne (Oise, France) to analyze vegetation changes over the last five decades. For this purpose, she relocated semi-permanent plots established in the 1960s for a phytosociological study and conducted new vegetation relevés in 2015, using the same method. The effects of soil type and management on the amplitude of changes received particular attention. The results shed light on the relative effect of local (i.e. management-related) and regional (e.g. nitrogen deposits, change in game density, climate change) factors on biodiversity changes, but also on the interest of nature reserves in forests.

“I warmly thank the Société Botanique de France for this award. The idea that the Société Botanique de France endorsed my project is very important for me. In a way, this awarded project is a return to the roots, back to my first research, since it aims at increasing our knowledge about vegetation changes in forests in order to better contribute to their conservation and sustainable management”.


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