At Lautaret, science meets peaks

At Lautaret, science meets peaks

In this magnificent botanical garden perched at an altitude of 2,100 metres, researchers are working to study alpine plants and their adaptation to global warming…even if that means simulating its effects. Sometimes amazing experiences.

This article is from Les Indispensables de Sciences et Avenir, Issue 213, dated April/June 2023.

It is one of the busiest tourist spots in the Hautes-Alpes. At 2,100 meters above sea level, facing the La Meije glaciers, the Lautaret Garden presents a collection of around 2,000 high-altitude plants that attract around 20,000 visitors each summer. Cultivated in beds or in rockeries, they invite you to travel from the Alps to Siberia through the Pyrenees, the Caucasus, the Balkans, the Atlas, the Himalayas, the Andes … To feed this wonderful group, every year the garden receives from around the world about a hundred packets of seeds from the international network of seed exchange between gardens plant, to which he in turn sends 1,500.

But Lautaret is not just a wonderful park that comes alive in the summer with floods of tourists and in the winter dozes under the snow. It is full of scientific activities in all seasons: a joint service unit of the CNRS and the University of Grenoble Alpes, a high place of science in the making, popular with all researchers working in mountain environments, whether they are botanists, biologists, ecologists, glaciologists or Ice physicists or meteorologists. “It hosts each year twenty-five to thirty research programs and four to ten theses”says Jerome Foret, head of research at Lottery.

This dual profession, tourist and scientific, is inscribed in the genes of this garden, one of the oldest in France, founded in 1899. Its founder, Jean-Paul Lachman, professor of botany at the University of Grenoble, imagined a garden at the service of research, knowledge exchange, tourism and economic development. He chose his location carefully: at the junction of the Northern Alps and the Southern Alps, the diversity of climatic influences and the geological versatility of the topography, together with the elevation gradient, favored[…]


Read also

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *