Consortium > INRA

Institute National de la Recherche Agronomique

Organization short name: INRA
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Description of the organization

INRA carries out mission-oriented research for better food and nutrition, preservation of the environment and competitive, sustainable agricultural practices. INRA is ranked 2nd in the world and 1st in Europe for publications in the agricultural sciences, and plant and animal sciences. 1,826 researchers and 1,634 doctoral students work at INRA. The complementary nature of topics studied and techniques used, as well as the diversity of partnerships, guarantee INRA great capacity and the relevance of its actions to benefit society.

Expertise and experience of the organization

INRA has been actively involved since more than 10 years in research projects on climate change, on the carbon and water cycles and on the greenhouse gas balance of terrestrial ecosystems. These research activities have led to large investments in field sites (see and in ecosystem manipulation experiments. INRA is responsible for the constitution of the soil information system for French soils and is involved in several European projects linked to soil monitoring and modeling. INRA also coordinates four French national projects (ANR) on climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability.

Selected reference projects

The institute has contributed to a series of shared costs projects on elevated CO2 impacts (FP4 MEGARICH), on the carbon cycle, including FP4 Euroflux, FP5 GreenGrass (coordinated by INRA), CarboAge and CarboEuroFlux, FP6 CarboEurope IP and NitroEurope IP. INRA is a partner of infrastructure projects on the carbon cycle such as FP6 IMECC and the ESFRI supported ICOS project. INRA has also contributed in this area to concerted actions such as CarboEurope GHG. These research projects have been supported by Marie-Curie fellowships and by a research and training network.

Responsibilities in CARBO-Extreme

  • Network of Ecosystem Manipulation Experiments (WP2)
  • Model experiments and scenario analysis (WP6)

Key scientific / technical personnel

Dr. Jean-François Soussana, senior scientist, head of the Grassland Ecosystem Research Unit (staff of 30) in Clermont-Ferrand is a lead author of the IPCC for the fourth assessment report on Impacts and Adaptation. He coordinated the EESD FP5 'GreenGrass' project (2002-2004) and leads WP in CarboEurope IP and NitroEurope IP.
Dr. André Granier, senior scientist, head of the research unit “Forest ecology and ecophysiology” in Nancy (staff of 52 permanent, 23 PhD students and post-docs). He leads research on the effects of drought on ecosystem functioning: fluxes and tree growth and on forest management.
Dr. Denis Loustau, senior scientist, head of the Functional Ecology and Environmental Physics Unit, in Bordeaux. He leads research on climate change impacts on forests.

Selected recent relevant publications

Bréda N, Huc R, Granier A, Dreyer E, Temperate forest trees and stands under severe drought: a review of ecophysiological responses, adaptation processes and long-term consequences. Annals of forest science, 63, 625– 644, 2006. link to publisher

Fontaine S, et al., Stability of organic carbon in deep soil layers controlled by fresh carbon supply. Nature 450, 277-281, 2007. link to publisher

Granier A, ..., Loustau D, et al., Evidence for soil water control on carbon and water dynamics in European forests during the extremely dry year: 2003. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 143(1-2), 123-145, 2007. link to publisher

Howden SM, Soussana JF, Tubiello FN, Chhetri N, Dunlop M, Meinke H, Adapting agriculture to climate change. PNAS, 104(50), 19691-19696, 2007. link to publisher

Magnani F, ..., Loustau D, et al., The human footprint in the carbon cycle of temperate and boreal forests. Nature, 447, 849-851, 2007. link to publisher

Soussana JF, Allard V, Pilegaard K, et al., Full accounting of the greenhouse gas (CO2, N2O, CH4) budget of nine European grassland sites. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 121(1-2), 121-134, 2007. link to publisher

Tubiello F, Soussana JF, Howden SM, Easterling W, Crop and pasture response to climate change. PNAS, 104 (50), 19686-19690, 2007. link to publisher

Vuichard N, …, Soussana JF, Estimating the greenhouse gas fluxes of European grasslands with a process-based model: 2. Simulations. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 21 GB1005, 2007. link to publisher