Through the Observatory of the People-Coastal Environment of the Mediterranean (OHM-LM), the University of Corsica contributes with the CNRS and other scientific partners to a vast interdisciplinary research project to better understand this site subject to strong anthropogenic pressures. Objective: to increase knowledge to improve its conservation.
It is a detailed and long-term research project, started about ten years ago. Since 2012, scientific teams have been working to improve knowledge of a very special place on the island’s coast: the coastal lagoon of Biguglia. The researchers work within the framework of the OHM LM, which is dedicated to the study of several French Mediterranean coastal areas, subject to massive anthropogenic pressures but framed by measures of integrated management of the coastal environment.
Through the Laboratory of Excellence Device for Interdisciplinary Research in Human-Environment Interactions (Labex DRIIHM) which federates the 13 existing OHMs so far, this work aims to better understand the Biguglia site and its evolution. The stakes are high: for fifty years, this lagoon located to the south of the urban area of Bastia, with an area of 14.5 km², has been subject to strong anthropic pressures.
Growing urbanization has become a source of pollution and environmental degradation. ” The objective is to study this entire socioecosystem, that is, the interactions between the different human and hydroecological components of this specific environment. says Vanina Pasqualini, professor of ecology at Sciences Pour l’Environnement SPE (University of Corsica-CNRS) and head of the Biguglia website at OHM-LM. With that in mind, the scientists implemented an innovative method. Focused on interdisciplinarity, it consists of strengthening relationships between researchers and users of this site, combining human and social sciences and natural sciences, but also involving the site’s managers. ” Solving environmental problems requires a cross-cutting approach says Frédéric Huneau, professor of hydrogeology at the University of Corsica in the SPE laboratory. ” This is essential in order to have an overall view of the functioning of the site, whether economic, tourist, climatic, agricultural, demographic aspects, etc. All of these are closely linked and therefore cannot be studied in isolation if we are to identify all these entanglements. “.
From this point of view, the work carried out at the Biguglia site allowed us to better understand the functioning of the lagoon system and identify the areas most vulnerable to pollution. Although the river basin and surface waters have already been explored, the coastal zone and its hydraulic connections with inland groundwater are studied in the context of strong coastal erosion and rising sea levels under the influence of climate change. In the eyes of the OHM-LM scientists, the challenge of this research project is all the more important as the coastal lagoons, which represent around 13% of the world’s coastline, have an undeniable ecological and socio-economic value in terms of their essential services for the ecosystem.
Classified as a nature reserve in 1994, the Biguglia lagoon is recognized as a place of great importance for fauna and flora, and is on the list of wetlands of international importance. If the recovery actions carried out by the Community of Corsica, which owns the site, have made it possible to improve water quality and ecological integrity, the lagoon remains vulnerable in terms of agricultural activities, collective or individual water purification strategies and urban expansion. generally. ” A better understanding of how the lagoon works makes it possible to produce tools to help manage the place, says Vanina Pasqualini. Today, the data we have is valuable for formulating objective recommendations for ecological restoration. »