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AGROECOLOGY and research © Arnaud Veldeman, Véronique Gavalda

Agroecology at INRA: mobilising research

INRA and agroecology: scientific priorities

At a conference entitled “Setting new directions for agricultural research” held on 10 September 2013 at Agropolis International (Montpellier, France), Olivier le Gall, Deputy Director General for Scientific Affairs at INRA, presented the scientific positioning of the Institute on agroecology. His presentation incorporated the major themes of the 2012 Agroecology research report headed by Jean-François Soussana, Scientific Director for the Environment at INRA.

By Pascale Mollier, translated by Emma Morton-Saliou
Updated on 06/22/2017
Published on 10/18/2013

Five INRA priorities for agroecology

1 – Understanding biological interactions in agro-ecosystems and harnessing these processes for environmental change and new practices.

2 – Agroecology and local landscapes: applications geared toward integrating agro-ecosystem services, from the local to the regional level.

3 – Multi-criteria assessment: assessments of the environmental sustainability of agricultural systems can be improved by integrating biodiversity and ecosystem services.

4 – Sustainable management of multifunctional uses of soil and water: acquired knowledge can be used to reduce inputs and waste and preserve soil and water resources.

5 – Designing and transitioning towards new agricultural systems: this complex transition requires support, and social sciences should be viewed as a gateway to analysing levers for change.

Agroecology: a high-tech approach

Agricultural ecosystems are not virgin forests, oceans or high mountains: a new conceptual framework is needed, albeit based on the existing one for ecology. This framework is necessary to move past specific cases and develop generalised principles. Doing so involves the intellectual challenge of integrating different disciplines and levels of analysis in space and time. It should also include innovation from the institute’s multiple partners. “Contrary to popular belief, agroecology is a high-tech approach,” concluded Olivier Le Gall.

Presentation of Olivier Le Gall

Summary of the INRA report "Agro-ecology Research Initiative", 2012