• Christoph

First Pyrenean experiences for socio-ecologists (more to come)

Last week three members of the Austrian team – Claudine, Andreas and Christoph, visited the study sites in the Pyrenees. For some of us it was the first time in this mountain region and we were eager to see the P³ team in action.

Tuesday was our first field trip, where we sampled two sites. It was really exiting; Dirk showed us how to sample zooplankton and how to “stroke” tadpoles. For the interdisciplinary Austrian team (social ecology, economics, and biology) this was fun and we learned a lot. After a very hot beginning, it started to rain, which was a relief.

In the evening, we met Frédéric, a farmer, who was so kind to agree to a semi-structured interview. For us this was an important first indication for setting up the future interview process as it gave us the first insights into farming systems in the region, and the motivations and problems farmers are having. The day ended with a delicious dinner in Dirks and Adelines garden - a quiet and lovely place.

Wednesday, it took us about two hours to get to the next sample sites in the impressing landscape of the Reserve de Neouvielle. The weather was promising, but Christoph could not keep up with the team and stayed near the parking lot. We have been sampling 4 different sites this day, until a temperature drop in the afternoon thwarted to visit a last sample site (subject to later visit). For the evening we decided to go to St. Girons for dinner. We were not aware that this was the fete de la musique and St. Girons was very crowded and full with street musicians. Finally, we found a nice restaurant and had a great evening.

The next day we went to Toulouse for a P³/MOLUP meeting at the ENSAT, where we met Gaël and the rest of the French P³ team. It was great to become acquainted with the French team and after an interesting and fruitful discussion, and tour through the lab facilities. We saw a lot of equipment, fascinating for people that only use a laptop for work. Unfortunately, we had to hurry up to catch the flight, which was needless in the end due to the usual delay at the airport. Because of a thunder storm in Amsterdam the total delay was two hours and we arrived late in the evening in Vienna. Tired, but with many great impressions in our minds.

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