To better understand the connections between the circular economy, agriculture and territory


The circular economy is a way to organize an economy aimed at reducing the use of non-renewable resources by facilitating links between previously unlinked activities. Therefore, we propose to move away from the so-called linear economic model based on the extraction of resources, their conversion, and the mass production of unrecycled waste. To do this, you need to create a circularity. In other words, it is an exchange between economic agents that enables the materials needed for economic activity to be reduced, reused and recycled on a local scale in most cases.

Circular economy, territory, agriculture

Through literature reviews and case studies, the special feature ” Circulation within the territory »Shows the main challenges of the development of the circular economy in agriculture and forestry and the territorial aspects of this phenomenon. More specifically, we will explain how the resources found in the region, especially in the local region, the actors that make them up, and their institutional context affect the development of this circular economy. And conversely, what is the impact of building a cycle on the territory?

The first literature review outlines the links between the circular economy and the territorial development process, especially in the field of industrial ecology. In particular, this raises questions about the implementation of the circular economy: should it be planned or is it the product of self-organized dynamics driven by the industry? This implementation in the territory seems to be based on an intermediate model in most cases.

Forest trees, food, methanation

Case studies from various disciplines (food, forest timber, methanation) have made it possible to identify adjustment modes that favor the development of circulation at the local level.

For example, local timber labels are the result of interrelationships between sector-specific linear valuation logic, but the result of the cyclical nature of actor research in the development of closed-circuit economies and the desire to promote timber development. But there is also. A useful resource for the territory. One study also emphasizes the important role of intermediaries who occupy a central location in the network by linking different groups. Nevertheless, there does not seem to be a typical network structure or single governance mode for building a circular economy.


Other studies shed light on the dynamics of the meso-economy (on a sector scale) in building circularity. For example, despite being located in rural areas, proponents of collective agricultural methanation projects can find the required number of resources in their local environment. This is especially by mobilizing their personal networks strongly and gathering different types of actors who were not linked to each other before the project. Research in the sugar cane sector has also made it possible to highlight the contribution of the circular economy to the establishment of new dynamics of innovation based on new cooperation and the development of local resources. Geographical proximity and sharing of common values ​​and goals also play a role in building collective behavior.

Studies also show how bioeconomic development, especially choices regarding biomass valuation, influences the socio-economic exchange of territories. Increasing allocations of agricultural-origin biomass to methanation and the development of dedicated crops show both individual effects according to farmers’ choices and collective effects on the maintenance of agricultural systems and regional diversity. .. This, in turn, raises the issue of potential competition over the use of resources. In order to build a truly sustainable regional bioeconomy, it seems desirable to collaborate on the production of biomass of agricultural origin among different types of local farmers.

Finally, analysis of systems such as food markets makes it possible to establish that the link between producers and consumers favors the development of more cyclical systems and the promotion of more local resources. became.

A new path of research

The articles in this special issue show that building circularity creates many challenges for field stakeholders and researchers, opening up future research prospects.

What are the public policies that can promote the most sustainable form of the circular economy, including agriculture? What innovation is needed to develop the circular economy? How important are local resources in developing circularity?

All of these are research tools that may form the core of future research.

Complete publication reference

Bourdin S., Galliano D., Gonçalves A., 2021, Regional Circulation: Opportunities and Challenges. European Planning Study, DOI: 10.1080 / 09654313.2021.197317