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AGROECOLOGY and research © Arnaud Veldeman, Véronique Gavalda

Agroecology at INRA: mobilising research

Focus on environmental research observatories

Environmental research observatories study the interaction between agriculture and the environment (soil, water, biodiversity, greenhouse gases, etc.) in a variety of agricultural, aquacultural and forestry ecosystems, making them a full-fledged component of agroecology research.

By Pascale Mollier, translated by Emma Morton-Saliou
Updated on 10/24/2013
Published on 10/11/2013

Interlocked networks

OREs (1) are sites used for observation, experimentation and the long-term collection of environmental data with the goal of understanding the evolution of agroecosystems and the mechanisms involved. Certain OREs are specific to a particular ecosystem, such as prairie, large-scale crops, forests, lakes, etc.

OREs which focus on one specific ecosystem operate as networks called SOEREs (2). The “F-ORE-T” SOERE, for example, is composed of ten workshop sites in France and five in tropical rainforest areas that contain representative stands of French and tropical forests. Such networking, which facilitates access to all available data and provides input for modelling platforms, is useful both for the scientific community and others.

Certain SOEREs are themselves part of a larger structure: AnaEE Services in France and AnaEE (3) at the European level. AnaEE will be operational after 2015 and will allow 200 researchers in France and more than 2,000 in Europe to benefit from shared access to European facility resources so that diverse ecosystems are made available for experimentation.

The purpose of this project is to use long- and large-scale observation to access globally-occurring phenomena such as the major geochemical cycles, the impact of climate change, and environmental and biodiversity gradients which can, in turn, clarify the links between biotic and abiotic components of the ecosystems under study.

SOEREs in which INRA is involved

INRA manages or jointly manages four national SOERE that bring together several Allenvi science partners (4):

- F-ORE-T, dealing with forest ecosystems (Coordinated by GIP ECOFOR),

- ACBB, dealing with grassland and field crop agroecosystems,

- PRO, dealing with soils and the impact of organic waste products,

- GLAPCE, dealing with large perialpine lakes.

INRA also participates in three other SOEREs that observe the environment on larger or longer scales:

- RBV, the drainage basin network (managed by CNRS - INSU),

- RZA, the long-term ecological research network (managed by CNRS - INEE),

- OPE, the permanent environmental observatory (managed by ANDRA).

(1)  ORE: Environmental research observatory

(2)  SOERE: Environmental research monitoring and experimentation systems

(3)  AnaEE: Analysis and Experimentation on Ecosystems

(4)  Allenvi: (France’s national research alliance for the environment)

Guyaflux: une  TOUR  pour mesurer le bilan carbone. Dispositif expérimental pour préciser les stocks de carbonne dans la forêt de Gyane et le bilan CO2 entre la forêt et l'atmosphère.. © INRA, MAITRE Christophe

For more information

Click here for the Report on Environmental Research Infrastructure (ORE and SOERE)