The Seine System: introduction to a multidisciplinary approach of the functioning of a regional river system

Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsBillen, G, Garnier, J, Mouchel, J-M, Silvestre, M
JournalScience of The Total Environment
Start Page1
Date Published04/2007
Mots-clésAnthropogenic activity, Autotrophy, Heterotrophy, Interdisciplinary program, Regional system, Seine river
The Seine basin (France) is dominated by the megalopolis of Paris (10 millions inhabitants), surrounded by intensive agricultural areas: it represents an important example of regional territory strongly affected by anthropogenic activity. In the scope of the PIREN-Seine program, an interdisciplinary study of this basin was conducted. This paper introduces a special issue of the Science of the Total Environment devoted to the results of this program. It summarizes the main features of the Seine river system, the physical characteristics of its drainage network and its watershed, and the nature and spatial distribution of human activities. The scientific approaches used for the study of the system are described, emphasizing the role of material budgeting, mathematical modeling and historical reconstruction. Some functional characteristics of the Seine watershed and drainage network are summarized, showing that the system is now essentially controlled by anthropogenic constraints.