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Guyaflux: a TOWER for measuring the carbon flow. Experimental facility to measure the carbon stocks in the Guyanese forest and the CO2 balance between the forest and the atmosphere. © Ch. Maître

Environmental research infrastructure

By Sebastien Broquere, translated by Daniel McKinnon
Updated on 11/28/2015
Published on 05/27/2013

INRA, as both project developer and coordinator, plays a vital role in environmental research observatories in France and in Europe. These facilities study the interaction between agriculture and the environment in a variety of agricultural, aquacultural and forestry ecosystems, and the impact thereof on the environment in terms of soil and water quality, biodiversity, greenhouse gas emissions, and so on.

As a founding member of AllEnvi, France’s national research alliance for the environment, INRA is enhancing its scientific capacities in the environmental sciences falling under its mandate. In strongly uncertain circumstances caused by change worldwide, INRA is strengthening and extending France’s network of environmental research observatories across France.

Environmental observatories serving agricultural research

These long-term observatories foster expertise and analytical capacities in agricultural research. Rural environments drive soil and water resource formation, landscape development, greenhouse gas regulation and biodiversity dynamics. To understand how rural environments evolve, larger temporal and spatial scales are needed; drainage basins, landscapes, and farm and forest plots must therefore be studied. At what speed, and under which mechanisms, do agroecosystems develop as a function of their agricultural, husbandry and forestry management? How does biodiversity operate in response to global changes? What is the impact to water, to the land and to atmospheric emissions? What processes are involved? How can these different processes be integrated to develop the models needed by public and private stakeholders and land management agencies at local, national and international levels? Through its network of environmental research observatories in association with its AllEnvi partners, INRA can address this wide range of issues.

Scientific contact(s):

  • Jean-François Soussana, Scientific Director - Environment

Some key facts

More than 200 INRA researchers, engineers and technicians are involved in environmental observation, experimentation and data management systems. An eco-informatics unit supports the work of these systems by building and maintaining environmental databases so that information can be stored, accessed and analysed over the long term. Data storage is done securely and is ongoing and continuous.