The ECOSYS project is in line with the priorities of INRAE in the agroecology area, shared by AgroParisTech, contributing specific responses regarding the following: biotic interactions in agroecosystems, landscape agroecology (landscape structure considered as a regulating factor for ecological and biogeochemical flows), multi-criteria assessment of agroecosystems and ecological services, and sustainable management of biogeochemical cycles.

ECOSYS exists within a "research ecosystem" and a network of collaborations structured by collaborative projects and partnership structures, which will be described in the next section. Figure 10 provides a map of these collaborations in relation to the transversal axes of the ECOSYS project. Some laboratories or consortia are of particular importance, which is the case for structural collaborations within LabEx BASC and FIRE.

Our partnerships, both nationally and internationally, are built through large projects (European, Investments for the Future (Projets d’investissement d’avenir), ANR). Examples of these projects include the BREEDWHEAT, RAPSODYN and LOGISTEC projects, contributing to the ECOSYS axis of production services; the ECLAIRE, INGOS and CLAND projects, contributing to climate regulation services; and SOERE PRO1, contributing to recycling services. The ANR ESCAPADE project is an example of partnership mobilization to address integration and territorial management approaches, applying the concept of a "nitrogen cascade". In addition, ECOSYS is involved in and coordinates medium-long-term observation devices and infrastructures (SOEREs, ICOS).


Within INRAE, ECOSYS collaborates with complementary units, such as LISAH (for aspects related to surface hydrology and landscape modeling), SAS (for activities related to environmental impacts associated with nitrogen dynamics and manure management), AgroImpact (for environmental assessment and modeling of biogeochemical cycles), InfoSol (for soil databases), and LBE (for waste treatment processes).

The ECOSYS project fits within the INRAE metaprograms, including EcoServ (for all aspects of ecosystem services), ACCAF (related to the "climate regulation" axis, for adaptation and evolution aspects of pests) and SMaCH (related to activities concerning the dynamics of pesticides, the epidemiology of aerial pests and the consequences on vegetal production). The ECOSYS members play a role in thematic animation in different instances of INRAE, which is particularly the case for the ECOTOX network (open to other institutions) and the thematic WATER network. ECOSYS, with its soil component (Soil and Ecotox teams), is an important element in the SOIL network of the AgroEcoSystem division.

The downstream partnership with the agricultural profession is structured on the basis of existing bilateral relationships with technical institutes (Terres Inovia, ARVALIS-Institut du végétal, ITB) and more formalized extensions within Joint Technology Units - UMTs (Alter'N and Magnum) and Joint Technology Networks - RMT (Fertilization and Environment). The downstream partnership in the field of the environment mainly involves agencies (ADEME and the Foundation for Biodiversity Research - FRB) and chambers of agriculture (Ile-de-France). An industrial partnership with VEOLIA in the field of recycling and waste treatment is historic, although not exclusive.

Positioning within INRAE AgroEcoSystem division

The ECOSYS project contributes to the structuring challenges (EnjS) of AgroEcoSystem division though the following actions:

  • EnjS1 : Adaptation of crops to new agricultural contexts (concern mainly the Eco&Phy team and the ECOSYS structuring theme “Diversity” and “Biomasses”)
    • Consideration of the underground compartment: what contribution does the root compartment make to adaptation of vegetal populations (single or associated) to a low input agricultural system?
    • Identification of plant traits and populations contributing to resistance, escape and tolerance to aerial diseases and to low or alternative nitrogen inputs.
  • EnjS2:Ecological intensification (concern mainly the Eco&Phy team, and the ECOSYS structuring theme “Diversity”):
    • Link between functional diversity (auxiliaries, pests, soil engineers) and agroecological functions
    • Transfer of pathogens in varietal associations: the architectural and genetic heterogeneity of the components of the association can be levers for the control of pests
    • Development of coupled plant-pathogen models
    • Identification of canopy traits that regulate pests. Link between practices, modification of vegetation cover and epidemics.
    • Effect of organ physiological state on pathogens and link with practices and resulting coverage
    • Link between functional diversity (auxiliaries, pests, soil biodiversity) and agroecological functions.
  • EnjS3:Management, protection and restoration of environments (concern mainly the Soil and Ecotox teams and the ECOSYS structuring theme “Contaminants”)
    • Links between fate and exposure to contaminants ("cocktails") and impacts on organisms and their activity in soil and water compartments
    • Mechanisms involved in contaminant fate from the cell to the community, and from the aggregate to the soil profile up to the plants and landscape scale,
    • Consideration of the global chain of treatment and use of organic waste in the description and modeling of the fate of contaminants
    • Development of indicators and assessment of the impacts of agroecosystems management methods on the quality of the environment (air, water, soil) and on the dynamics and effects of contaminants
    • Development of exposure maps for ecosystems and human populations
    • Development of digital tools that take into account current and new practices (mulches, associated crops, agroforestry, etc ...) for the prediction of environmental impacts (air quality, water) and identification of action levers to limit the impacts
    • Studying the efficiency of the biotic and abiotic processes of dissipation of organic contaminants: application to minimize negative externalities.
  • EnjS4:Closure of N and P cycles and carbon storage(concern mainly the Soil and Eco&Phy teams and the ECOSYS structuring themes “Biomasses” and “Climate”)
    • Understanding and modeling the determinism of C and N fluxes in agroecosystems within the soil structure at the microbial habitat scale and operating a scale change to soil profile or plot
    • Understanding determinism of N2O emissions (nature of organic matter, soil structure, pH)
    • Understanding of the interactions between tillage practices and organic matter dynamics (unexplained variability of plowing effects on soil C)
    • Accounting for the diversity of soil organisms in biodegradation models of organic matter?
    • Determining why C of root origin is preferentially stabilized in soils
    • Contribution to the configuration of decision tools, AMG, Azofert, Syst'N for organic wastes
    • Contribution to the representation of organic matter protection by the solid soil matrix
    • Evaluation of the effect of farming practices on C sequestration in soils (and on N2O emissions)
    • Taking into account the interactions between C, N and P fluxes in the insertion scenarios of the organic wastes in the cropping systems
  • EnjS5:Assessment, design and management of multiperforming farming systems(concern mainly the ECOSYS structuring theme “Biomasses”
    • Consideration of organic wastes in multi-criteria assessment tools for cropping systems
    • Integration  of  the  different  levels  of  action associated with  the use  of  organic  wastes  in  the optimization of C, N, P cycles at the territorial level.
    • Integration of ecotoxicology into the multicriteria assessment of farming systems

Regional, national and international positioning

The INRAE Centre Versailles-Grignon has defined 7 Identifiers of the scientific activities. ECOSYS mainly contributes to the "Agroecosystems and environment" identifier though approximately 65% of ECOSYS staffs. This contribution is the most important among the units of the Centre. ECOSYS also contributes to other identifiers: “Digital sciences and modeling” (through 15% of ECOSYS staffs), and “Plant science and biotechnology” and “Territory, Governance, Innovation in Society”, each through 10% ECOSYS staffs.

Concerning the “Agroecosystems and environment” identifier, INRAE and AgroParisTech bring together in Ile de France regional expertise on research issues at the early stages of production, both plant and animal, at the territorial and global agronomic levels. They primarily concern production itself and its development conditions, with a major concern to reconcile agriculture and the environment. They are also interested in its evolution in the context of major changes (in particular the climate and the urban development). In addition to ECOSYS, four units work in this area: BIOGER, Agronomie, Mosar and SADAPT. They are attached to the University Paris-Saclay and today located in Versailles and Grignon. They will join the Saclay plateau by 2021. Permanent collaborations are established beyond AgroParisTech with several regional partners (CNRS, CEA, UVSQ and UPMC). Several structuring actions have been carried out, notably the LabEx BASC and the CLAND convergence institute. They promote work on the effect of climate change at all scales, from cell to territory, but also on the evolution of agriculture in urban and peri-urban environments. Beyond the analysis of the effects of climate change, they will facilitate the consideration of different societal demands such as environmental protection, sustainability or the production of healthy food. As a corollary, other structuring projects, in which ECOSYS is involved, are based on this dynamic: 3BCAR, FIRE, RADSODYN and BREEDWHEAT.

Thanks to ECOSYS project, ECOSYS carries this theme and benefices of the very complementary aspects of the evolution of agriculture, particularly in the face of global changes (carbon/nitrogen storage; impact on production, adaptation to temperature, nutritional efficiency, adaptation of practices and consequences for the environment, invasive species, land use, flows between compartments). Thus, the Center has appropriated the objectives of ECOSYS project to promote multi-performance and help reconcile agriculture and urban development. On the basis of disciplinary skills, researchers are developing integrative approaches addressing all scales and proposing to design and evaluate systems and land uses reconciling arable and livestock farming, rural and urban areas, developing alternative sources of nutrients to mineral fertilizers and optimizing crop protection and the sustainable control of pests and diseases.

In addition, ECOSYS carries infrastructures identified as strategic for the Centre: SOERE-PRO, ICOS, and the Observatory of the Environment of Territories and Agrosystems, with the contribution of our platforms (Biochem-Env and the analytical platforms of the ECOSYS Chemistry pole.

The main collaborations and the integration of our activities in national and international networks have already been mentioned during the presentation of the structuring themes and perspectives of the teams. These collaborations structure our partnership both for the acquisition of knowledge and for methodological and technical developments, as well as for expertise and public policy assistance activities. The figure 31 summarizes this positioning within large projects, structuring consortia and structural collaborations.


collaboration project

Figure 31. Positioning of the unit in relation to the collaborations and issues of our researches in 4 domains: scientific, technical and development, users relationship (expertise and data providing), and support of the public policies.

In this section

Logo Inra
The divisions at INRAE are coordinated national networks of research units, infrastructure and skills. They contribute to the development of INRAE's scientific strategy, translating it into operational terms.
Logo AgroParisTech
Within AgroParisTech, ECOSYS activities fit into the research axis related to agroecology, ecological engineering and environmental engineering, to which the SIAFEE division contributes in particular
Logo Abies
AgroParisTech hosts the ABIES Doctoral School (Agriculture Food Biology Environment Health), with which 90% of the scientists in the unit are affiliated
Université Paris-Saclay
Initiative d’excellence – IDEX - Paris-Saclay et COMUE Paris-Saclay
Log Basc
As part of the LabEx program (“Investments for the Future"), we contributed to the proposal of LabEx BASC (2012-2021).
Logo Cland

06 July 2023


Climate Change and Land Use (CLAND) Convergence Institute
Logo Fire

06 July 2023


Ile-de-France Federation of Environmental Research (FIRE)
Logo Altern
Joint Technology Units (UMTs) Alter'N and Magnum
Logo 3BCar

07 December 2023


Carnot Institute 3BCar

Modification date: 23 October 2023 | Publication date: 05 July 2016 | By: Sophie Formisano