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

SOEREs: Environmental research monitoring and experimentation systems

SOEREs are made up of a number of basic experimentation or observation systems (ORE) networked together and dealing with the same subject. The systems pool their observations and findings that then feed into models. Recording measurement data is an important element of OREs. OREs develop measurement technology and test sensors used to collect new on-site data, for high-frequency, spatial data in particular.

By Sébastien Broquere, translated by Daniel McKinnon
Updated on 06/18/2013
Published on 05/27/2013

Permanent grasslands of Theix and Laqueuille in  Auvergne.. © INRA, TOILLON Sylvie
Permanent grasslands of Theix and Laqueuille in Auvergne. © INRA, TOILLON Sylvie
INRA manages or jointly manages four national SOERE that bring together several AllEnvi science partners:

F-ORE-T, dealing with forest ecosystems (coordinated by Ecofor);
ACBB, dealing with grassland and field crop agroecosystems;
PRO, dealing with soils and the impact of organic waste products;
GLACPE, dealing with large perialpine lakes.

These SOEREs study the use of terrestrial and aquatic environments and how ecosystems function. Some of them are incorporated in the EU’s Infrastructure for Analysis and Experimentation on Ecosystems (AnaEE). Some SOEREs are equipped with flux towers to continuously measure greenhouse gas exchanges in the atmosphere and are also part of the EU’s Integrated Carbon Observing System (ICOS).

SOEREs with INRA participation

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

● RBV, the drainage basin network on water quality and quantity managed by CNRS-INSU. INRA leads two projects dealing with agricultural environments. AgrHys is an ORE located in livestock-producing areas to analyse agrosystem response times to global changes in nutrient cycles at the landscape level. Omère is an ORE located in Mediterranean environments to analyse the effects of global changes on the water cycle, and focuses more specifically on erosion and pesticide transfer. The network is able to draw on the highly innovative instruments of CRITEX, an equipment of excellence (Equipex).
RZA, the French long-term ecological research (LTER) network, managed by CNRS-INEE. RZA is a network of regional programmes built on local specificities designed to foster interdisciplinary exchange. Environmental systems are viewed as socioecosystems and the interactions among human activities, the roll-out of these activities in space and time, their determining factors, and their connection to the environment are all studied. INRA and a number of other research agencies are involved in multiple network programmes.
● OPE, the permanent environmental observatory, managed by ANDRA, also seeks to foster long-term interdisciplinary exchange and knowledge integration.

INRA participates in France’s national network of biodiversity research observatories

INRA is strongly involved in the ECOSCOPE SOERE, a national network of biodiversity research observatories supported by the French Foundation for Biodiversity Research (FRB).  In particular, INRA coordinates “RG-Scope”, the network of genetic resource observatories, and the SEBIOPAG project, which measures ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes. INRA also manages the Small Costal Waterways ORE, which looks at the effect of environmental changes to trends in migratory fish populations, and coordinates the biodiversity aspect of the GIS Sol Soil Quality Monitoring Network (RMQS).

A European and international network scope

Through these network programmes, INRA is contributing to shaping the scientific future of EU and international research by participating in the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures’ (ESFRI) development of a roadmap on large, open access research infrastructure. AnaEE and ExpeER projects allow for coordination at an international level of observational and analytical platforms on European terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

Scientific contact(s):

  • Jean-François Soussana, Scientific Director - Environment

Eco-informatics ORE: compatible information systems

The Eco-informatics ORE was established in 2009 and is based in the InfoSol Unit in Orléans, France. Its mission is to identify data types and user needs in order to develop information systems, such as web services, shared plug-ins, and data compatibility, for INRA’s SOEREs.