Junior Research Scientist in fire ecology - Understanding and modeling fire regimes and associated vegetation dynamics


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INRAE presentation

The French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment (INRAE) is a public research establishment under the dual authority of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Research.

INRAE is recruiting researchers by open competition and offering permanent position.

It is a major player in research and innovation created on 1st of January 2020. INRAE is a research institute resulting from the merger of INRA and IRSTEA. It is a community of 12,000 people with more than 200 research units and 42 experimental units located throughout France.

The institute is among the world leaders in agricultural and food sciences, in plant and animal sciences, and is 11th in the world in ecology and environment. INRAE’s main goal is to be a key player in the transitions necessary to address major global challenges. In the face of the increase in population, climate change, scarcity of resources and decline in biodiversity, the institute develops solutions for multiperformance agriculture, high quality food and sustainable management of resources and ecosystems.

Work environment, missions and activities

The URFM (Mediterranean Forest Ecology Research Unit) develops researches to understand and predict the dynamics, functioning and evolution of Mediterranean forests in a context of global change. The project aims to adapt forest socio-ecosystems by integrating the eco-physiological, demographic and genetic processes that govern their functioning and evolution, taking into account disturbances (fires, droughts, insect epidemics) and their associated risks. This project is based on three disciplinary axes forming three teams: Biology of Populations and Evolution (BioPopEvol), Functional Ecology and Community Dynamics (EFDC), and Physics and Ecology of Fire (PEF). You will report functionally to the PEF team, but will also interact with researchers in eco-physiology and community dynamics (EFDC).

The state of the vegetation determines the extent, intensity and impact of fires, and fires, like other disturbances, modify the composition, structure and functioning of the vegetation. Global warming, which increases fire hazard, as well as human factors, disrupt these fire-vegetation relationships and raise the question of recent and future changes in fire regimes and associated vegetation dynamics, as well as the possible levers for guiding these dynamics and managing the risk of fire in a variety of areas.

In this context, your role will be to understand and model the interactions between fire regimes and vegetation dynamics at landscape and regional scales. These scales are relevant for studying vegetation response to fire and for informing forest and risk management policies. The modelling will provide a complete coupling of fire and vegetation processes, with the aim of estimating the impacts of global changes, forest management and risk reduction strategies on fire regimes and forest dynamics in the regions of Mediterranean Europe.

To characterise the severity of fires and vegetation dynamics, you will mobilise multiple data sources: ecological, forestry and climatic databases; fire event databases; remote sensing data and products for fires and vegetation; geographical and socio-economic information. You will also collect data through surveys and field inventories. To model the joint dynamics of fire and vegetation at landscape scales, you will work within the conceptual framework of mechanistic approaches that have already been tried and tested with success. To tackle regional scales, you will integrate in a novel approach a simplified representation of vegetation with probabilistic modelling of fire activity.

You will draw on the skills present in the unit (fire risk, fire ecology, functional and community ecology, modelling) and you will collaborate with other INRAE partner units of the URFM on the subject of fire risk (BIOSP, RECOVER).

Training and skills

PhD or equivalent

Candidates must have a PhD, or equivalent.
You have a sound knowledge of forest ecology and fire ecology.
You are familiar with statistical or probabilistic analysis and modelling tools, particularly spatio-temporal.

You are comfortable handling large volumes of geo-spatialised data from a variety of sources.

You will have research experience in the field of forest fires.
You will have the desire and ability to work in an interdisciplinary environment.
You will have good conceptual skills and be able to work in a team and within a network of collaborators.

Fluency in English is a prerequisite, and long-term international experience is desirable: successful candidates who have not already had such experience will be required to spend a period abroad at the end of the placement year.

INRAE's life quality

By joining our teams, you benefit from:

- 30 days of annual leave + 15 days "Reduction of Working Time" (for a full time);
- parenting support: CESU childcare, leisure services;
- skills development systems: training, career advise;
- social support: advice and listening, social assistance and loans;
- holiday and leisure services: holiday vouchers, accommodation at preferential rates;
sports and cultural activities;
- collective catering.

For international scientists: please visit your guide to facilitate your arrival and stay at INRAE

All persons employed by or hosted at INRAE, a public research establishment, are subject to its internal regulations, particularly with regard to the obligation of neutrality and respect for the principle of secularism. In carrying out their functions, whether or not they are in contact with the public, they must not express their religious, philosophical or political convictions through their behaviour or by what they wear.  

Offer reference

  • Profile number: CR-2024-ECODIV-3
  • Corps: CR
  • Category: A
  • Open competition number: 4
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