La géographie physique des vingt-cinq dernières années en France. Etat des lieux


Physical geography has evolved a lot in France during the last twenty-five years. Geomorphology, a long time dominant, shares from now on its place with biogeography, climatology and hydrology. Today physical geography is largely approached as a whole, in interrelationship with the social phenomena, the policies of national development, the history of society. The reorientation of geography is visible.This evolution, which took place with difficulty in the 1980s, was due in particular to biogeographer Georges Bertrand and geomorphologist Jean Tricart. Physical geography is from now on integrated into the questions of national development, by means of resources (water, energy...), constraints, and risks, but also landscapes and patrimony. It implies in-depth knowledge of the working of the planet, and of the present processes characterizing ground surface, vegetation covers, climates, water and heritages. The role of societies in the evoked dynamics is important to define, and the impact of the environment on societies is also to consider. This « reoriented » physical geography which can, consequently, be defined in terms of environment or « geoenvironnement », must find its place beside ecology, whose opening in the French media dates back to the 1980s. Society is the main item of geographical analysis, as people living in the nature use it and sometimes damage it. Nevertheless geography and its environmental dimension do not consider man a systematic destroyer of nature. They reject any systematically pessimistic or backward-looking speech, and underline, by means of a rigorous analysis of the interrelationships nature/society, the need to establish sound diagnoses as for the state of the environment and the actions of societies on the environment

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