Favoring natural processes

The hazards of climate and economics, technical and environmental dead-ends and health and biodiversity issues are bringing into ever clearer focus the urgent need to transform agriculture, which is currently managed mostly through inputs. Terres Inovia is contributing to this agroecological transition by favoring the appropriation, by agricultural actors, of the natural processes of ecosystems to service sustainable agriculture, with two complementary goals: respecting the environment in terms of societal demands and enabling agricultural production to benefit from biological processes.

Contact : Anne Schneider


colza processus naturels

Our goals

 To implement ecosystem services by integrating them into the value chains of agricultural sectors and political measures;

To favor key services for agrosystems with support from collective organizations on the ground and volunteer farmers;

To increase our knowledge in areas in which biological processes play a greater role than inputs: functional biodiversity through rotation-based and territorial strategies, symbiotic nitrogen from legumes, soil fertility for resilience and robustness, and decreasing pollutant levels through the use of low-input systems with no losses to the environment.

Our main actions

Remobilizing natural regulation and reducing the use of phytosanitary products

Auxiliary insects provide two types of services in agrosystems: pollination for crops that are not very self-fertile and natural regulation of certain pests.
Within the framework of the R2D2 project, Terres Inovia has been supporting, since 2020, a new group of 11 farmers cultivating an area of 1330 ha in the commune of Courson-Les-Carrières (89), in the implementation of agroecological levers to overcome the technical impasses they face in controlling insect pests of rapeseed, and thus regain high and stable production and profitability levels.  
The approach implemented for a period of 6 years aims to :  
- to improve the robustness of crops through the implementation of agronomic levers,  
- to restore the regulation of pests by their natural enemies, which was extremely low at the beginning of the project, through changes in agricultural practices and landscape engineering,
- to make the environment unfavorable to pests.  
Farmers are accompanied individually and collectively to imagine operational solutions, to implement them in real conditions on their farms, to evaluate and improve them continuously.  

The R2D2 project also includes an ambitious scientific component that consists of studying the population dynamics of the main pests and some of their natural enemies, the levels of natural regulation, crop damage and yields on the main crops in the rotation.
The territorial approach gives the group the possibility to experiment with the implementation of concerted actions on large surfaces such as push&pull techniques (trap intercropping), the implementation of agroecological infrastructures and to reflect on the spatial organization of the plot. 

Valorizing the environment in the framework of societal demands and reaping the agronomic benefits linked to legumes

Pea, soybean, field bean, lupin, lentil and chickpea, species grown as cover crops between cash crops or intercropped with cash crops such as rapeseed… Symbiotic nitrogen fixation is the principal asset of the rich palette of leguminous crops available, but it isn’t the only one: these crops can also increase the performances of other crops in the rotation, reduce the emission of greenhouse gases and improve soil fertility.
Through the mixed technological unit Alter’N project, in partnership with INRA, Terres Inovia is providing strategic advice for the diagnosis, design, evaluation and management of productive cropping systems with low nitrogen losses including legumes and products derived from organic residues as a source of nutrients complementary to mineral fertilizer. The institute is currently launching two territorial projects on the valorization of services provided by annual legumes within areas and systems of plant protein production, with the aim of moving towards a stable supply of high-quality peas in France for the fractionation industry, in collaboration with the Roquette group, and for the pulse sector in Occitanie, with the Qualisol cooperative, in particular.

Promote fertility and sustainable soil management

As the soil is a central player in agricultural production, practices must preserve its physical, chemical and biological quality so that it provides the nutrients and regulations necessary for the crop system.

Terres Inovia is a partner in the IDTypTerres project, winner of the Casdar* call for projects "Technological research for the competitiveness and sustainability of sectors from production to processing" in 2020.  
The aim of this project is to make it easier to take into account soil properties and their influence on crop production factors and the environment, in tools and models that do not take them into account accurately, due to lack of access and in the acquisition of agronomic references. It will propose digital and interoperable tools to help farmers and their advisors to better understand, identify and take into account soils in agronomic advice, through the agronomic soil typology called TypTerres.

Terres Inovia is also currently coordinating, with Arvalis - Institut du végétal and the ITB, work to characterize and monitor the chemical, physical, biological and organic fertility indicators of the soils of the five experimental platforms of the Syppre network of long-term cropping system trials.

The Institute is also a partner in the Microbioterre project, which won the Casdar "Technological Research" call for projects. It aims to reference soil microbiological indicators related to the functions of carbon storage and nutrient recycling, particularly nitrogen. The objective is to integrate these indicators into routine soil analysis and to improve the management of organic restitutions in field crop and mixed crop-livestock systems.

To learn more about the organic status of soils, click here.

Assigning economic value to virtuous agrosystems

To raise awareness of environmental issues and work with partners to monitor the potential impacts of production systems and to identify relevant levers for sustainable agriculture: these are the objectives of Terres Inovia's actions to implement approaches that reduce environmental impacts.

In order to make these approaches an incentive to change practices, Terres Inovia strives to facilitate the creation of value for the services rendered to society and the environment, with an incentive distribution for farmers.

In the case of climate services, the low-carbon label is one of the ways in which Terres Inovia is working to create economic value for farmers who contribute to climate change mitigation. In addition to payments for environmental services, other ways of recognition are being studied to value the ecosystem services of systems with legumes and oilseeds.

Read the news on the climate and carbon issue :

Low-carbon label method for field crops approved

Low-carbon label: Terres Inovia is committed

Press release of 27/08/2021

December 2020 Press Release

Consult Terres Inovia's work on climate and low-carbon

What is the Low Carbon Label?

Climate change

Seed legumes

Terres Inovia 2020 technical meetings: webinar on climate change mitigation with payment for farmers' efforts

Presentation to RFL3 on 10/03/21 on "Legumes and Payment for Services