News & Events


May 8, 2020

David Blanchon, Frédéric Keck, François-Michel Le Tourneau, Stéphane Tonnelat and Adriana Zuniga-Teran published an essay in Metropolitics.


What are “sentinel territories”?  Can we see early warning signs of environmental change? Sentinel territories as a tool to advance environmental policies. Read the article...


May 4, 2020

Kirsten Engel, Professor of Law at the University of Arizona, Esther Loiseleur and Elise Drilhon, both visiting interns at iGLOBES in the summer of 2019 published an article in the Arizona Journal of Environmental Law & Policy, 2020 Spring issue.


The 1980 Groundwater Management Act was created to control the rapidly decreasing groundwater of the state, but despite the extraordinary legislation, it fell short of its intended purpose, creating serious groundwater issue and impacting Arizona's ecosystem.

Forty years later, what should be done? Read the article...


April 14, 2020 12:00-1:30pm (MST)


A talk via zoom by Marie-Noëlle Carré, Project Director in urbanism and planning and Lecturer at the University of Montreal

Studies on “social license to operate” have brought insights on large- scale resource extraction and tensions in remote areas. Framing resource extraction through metropolitan extractive and post- extractive issues also allows to address aspects of governance— otherwise less visible—that could help sustainable decision-making in the extractive sector.

Drawing on the case study of two limestone quarries in Montreal (Quebec, Canada),  this communication will highlight three challenges related to the urban recycling of metropolitan post-extractive areas. Resource extraction impacts will be unfolded through the notion of “technical lands” (Galison, 2017)—the meeting points of contested relations between history, knowledge, material practices, and environmental change. Resistances to change will then be addressed through the “narratives of revitalization” (Baker 2014) brought forth by stakeholders. Conflict resolution will finally be framed through the notion of “critical landscape” (Scott and Swenson, 2015). 


April 1, 2020

François-Michel Le Tourneau, iGLOBES Deputy Director and CNRS Senior Researcher, interviewed Kirsten Engel, also a Member of Arizona House of Representatives, on "Water crisis, policy making and the role of academia".


François-Michel: Could you describe the situation of water in your state, Arizona?

Kirsten: This region is a desert, a very fragile desert and so the amount of water that's here is not sufficient to support a lot of the demands that we have for water. An enormous demand comes from agriculture but also from new housing development. We have a state which is a desert that has some native riparian surface waters, but at this point it is a very managed system where we are bringing in water from the Colorado River to supplement the use of groundwater. We are moving around water at a great expense and through a very complex matrix of laws and regulations, and through incentive programs to try to distribute both the water that is here naturally as well as water that we bring in from the Colorado river so as to supply the growth that you're seeing in this state. Read the full interview.


March 17, 2020


Hard decisions had to be made because of the coronavirus. Visiting scholars shortcut their stay to head back home during these trying times. Wishing you a safe trip!


March 6, 2020

iGLOBES is part of Labex DRIIHM, an interdisciplinary research program that studies the interactions between Man and his environment. There are 13 observatories in the world of which Pima County is one. François-Michel Le Tourneau presented the Pima County Observatory's framework, the focal object: the Santa Cruz bassin up to Eloy, the environment: a mining region in an environment that is increasingly urban and the founding event: the dispute over the opening of the Rosemont mine. There are five majour cycles that are impacting the ecosystem of the region: cattle farming, mining operations, irrigated agriculture, protection of landscapes and urban sprawl.

In order to be able to do a comparative study and see the evolution, a cartography of the territory needs to be put in place showing how it is occupied. After several visits to the UMI, Fabrice Dubertret first put together an inventory of the data from 1979 to today, then analyzed it and is now in the process of creating a database. 


François-Michel is the Deputy Director of the UMI, geographer and Senior Researcher with CNRS. His research is focused on the occupation and use of sparsely populated territories. 

Fabrice is a doctoral student in geography whose thesis is on "Making visible the invisible: the making of a world atlas of indigenous territories".


March 3, 2020

(Left to right) Interns Julien Verges, Valentin Carlier, Théophile Moreal de Brevans, Ambre Ledoux and researcher Bernard Cazelles take the tram to downtown Tucson and take in its gorgeous murals. Want to learn more?


February 28, 2020

Sébastien Roux just started a new project on survivalists in France and is now in the US doing a comparative study. Why Tucson? There are 3 reasons: the extreme climate intensifies the need for being prepared for a catastrophy (mistakes are more deadly here), the closeness to the border adds a "need to defend one's land and family" dimension, and there's a longstanding tradition of survivalism in Arizona. Who are they? What is motivating them? How does the current political context influence their thinking?


Sébastien is a social anthropologist, a CNRS researcher based at the University of Toulouse whose primary research interests center on Affects and intimacy, Children policies, Moral anthropology, Governmentality. He is currently in Tucson doing ethnographic research on contemporary utopias (survivalism and preparedness).

French scholars discover a great western tradition: tucson's rodeo

February 23, 2020


In its 95th year, la Fiesta de Los Vaqueros is a quintessential western event: the bareback, saddle bronc and bull riding is impressive, as well as the barrel racing, steer wrestling, tie-down and team roping. 

UMI Deputy director on the radio

February 21, 2020

François-Michel Le Tourneau was interviewed by Patrick Boucheron on the recent forest fires in the Amazon forest, fires started in order to clear land for farming:

"Today we are in a complete dichotomy nature/farming Man/nature. It's either a field or a wild natural forest. And we don't know how to transform the forest to our advantage in such a way that it can be both an ecosystem that operates naturally and also gives us more services, more food, etc." More... (in French)


Patrick Boucheron is a historian and professor at the Collège de France, specializing in medieval history, and has been president of the Scientific Council at the École française de Rome since 2015.

François-Michel Le Tourneau REceives the 2019 Sophie Barluet award

February 19, 2020


François-Michel Le Tourneau, UMI Deputy Directeur, receives the 2019 Sophie Barluet award for his book L’Amazonie. Histoire, géographie, environnement. Created in 2010, this award is given to publications that show excellence and innovation in the field of Social and Human Sciences.


The ceremony will take place today from 6:15 to 9:30pm at the Centre National du Livre (CNL): Hôtel d’Avejan, 53, rue de Verneuil in Paris and will be followed by a debate on "The Amazon, myths and reality". 

brown bag discussion 2: use of wavelets in time series

February 14, 2020

Bernard Cazelles presented  his research on how to take into account non-stationarity and transient dynamics when analyzing ecological time series: using wavelets. Wavelet analysis decomposes the variance of the time series both in the frequency domain and in the time domain. This makes it possible to follow the temporal evolution of the different periodic components of the time series.


Bernard is a Professor in Ecology-Evolutionary Mathematics at Sorbonne University and Ecole Normale Supérieure, currently doing research in Tucson. He is mainly interested in explaining the complex patterns of populations observed in nature with 2 main directions being explored: theoretical works around the interactions between stochasticity and non-linearity and the effects of climatic oscillations and climatic changes on population dynamics mainly in epidemiology and fisheries. His main contribution has been the introduction of wavelet analysis in the study of discontinuous effects of climatic forcing on population dynamics.

brown bag discussion 1: sentinel territories

February 7, 2020

David Blanchon presented "Tipping point and sentinels: monitoring, interpreting and managing environmental changes in southern Arizona". He explained using the new concept of sentinel territories to look at environmental changes. What is a sentinel? What is a tipping point? How can linking the two help anticipate critical transitions?


David is a professor of geography at the University of Paris Nanterre and currently a senior research fellow at iGLOBES for several years. His work has focused on water management in arid and semi-arid areas, especially in South Africa, where he did his PhD on interbasin transfers. He has led two international research projects in Khartoum, Sudan, on the transformation of an urban waterscape (2008–2012), and in Kenya on water-land nexus (2013–2016). He is currently working on “Sentinel territories”.

2020-2021 pima county observatory Grant winners

*David Blanchon, Tipping point and sentinels : monitoring, interpreting and managing environmental changes in southern Arizona

*Larry Fisher, Building capacity to assess watershed health, water quality, and the anticipated impacts of mining in Southern Arizona

*Brigitte Juanals, Communication and environmental issues surrounding the Rosemont mine project (Pima County, Arizona, Southwest United States)

*Luis Novo, Distribution and accumulation of metals in soil and vegetation surrounding a molybdenum roasting facility at the Sierrita mine, Pima County

*Franck Poupeau, Cowboy ecology revisited

*Anne Sourdril, SONATAS (Listening to the SOunds of NATure to undersTAnd global environmental changeS) 

DELTAS in crisis : dams, drying rivers and lost soil fertility for tens of millions

January 31, 2020 12-1:30pm, Marshall Building room 531

While deltas encroached over the sea until the early 20th century, they are presently retreating, experiencing loss of fertility, decreasing food and fish production and increased flooding, while they are facing sea level rise. The future of deltas is alarming and millions of people are at risk because of unanticipated impacts of human actions. 

While soil erosion and downstream sediment deposition in river channels and floodplains have been major threats in the past centuries in the regions of the globe experiencing intensive land use and climatic crises, the 20th century displays a completely different picture in an increasing number of watersheds. Sediment trapping by dams (and the success of erosion control) has deeply changed sediment budgets and sediment transit at the world scale.  

The measures to be implemented at the delta scale, and solidarity at the watershed scale, are of prime importance in the perspective of the worst emerging regional crisis on the globe. Climate change must not be an excuse to get rid of human direct responsibility in river management. 


Jean-Paul Bravard is professor of geography emeritus at the University of Lyon. A specialist in environmental geography, he focused his research on rivers, impacts of dams, sediment and geoarchaeology of alluvial plains.

VISIT OF CNRS' social sciences & humanities INTERNATIONAl program director

January 26-31, 2020


This past week Sylvie Démurger, CNRS' Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities International Program Director and researcher in the field of economy, participated in the UMI-Udall workshop, visited Biosphere 2 and met with UA professors and strategic partners to understand the role the UMI iGlobes plays in developing UA-France research opportunities.


On Thursday, François-Michel Le Tourneau took her, along with Jean-Paul Bravard, on a field trip south of Tucson, showing them particular points of interest of the region: the future site of the Rosemont mine in the Santa Rita mountains, the mining projets in the Patagonia region, the San Raphael Valley, the Santa Cruz river, the border wall in Lochiel and Nogales and the Tumacacori National Historical Park.


January 29, 2020

Several workshop participants went to the Asarco Discovery Center to visit the copper mine which is found in Sahuarita. After Chile, Arizona is the second biggest producer of copper. The size of the mine was impressive, as well as this 240-ton haul truck with its 11-foot-diameter tire.

REsource extraction: impacts, resistance and conflict resolution?

January 27-28, 2020, Marshall Building room 531

 iGlobes and the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy are again collaborating to put on an international seminar on resource extraction. Its aim is to provide multiple perspectives on resource extraction, social and environmental impacts, resistance and conflict resolution by encouraging communication and asking key questions: 

What are the drivers of resource extraction and in which geographies and political contexts is it most prevalent? What are the impacts? What forms of resistance emerge? 

For more details...