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24, chemin de Borde Rouge -Auzeville - CS52627 31326 Castanet Tolosan cedex - France

Last update: May 2021

Menu Logo Principal AgroParisTech université Paris-Saclay

Welcome to ECOSYS

UMR ECOSYS - Ecologie fonctionnelle et écotoxicologie des agroécosystèmes

2013-2017 ESCAPADE


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Assessing Senarios on the Nitrogen Cascade in Rural Landscapes and Territorial Modelling

Context and objectives

The model of agricultural production is undergoing a major change to reduce nitrogen inputs while maintaining productivity. This change needs original technical and organizational innovations. In particular, the levers must consider the organization of agricultural and livestock activities across landscapes and territories. In this context, teams of complementary disciplines (biogeochemistry, atmospheric and hydrological transfers, agronomy, socio-economics, mathematics), including actors in agricultural research and development, proposed the ESCAPADE project ( Assessing scenarios on the nitrogen cascade in rural landscapes and territorial modelling) supported by the "nitrogen cascade" group of the GIS GC HP2E and by the VEGEPOLYS cluster.

The aim of the ESCAPADE project is to contribute to the search for innovative ways at the landscape and territory scales, complementary to the classical approaches at the plot and farm scales, to optimize the use of nitrogen in agriculture, reduce losses into the environment and preserve the sustainability of agro-ecosystems while maintaining the productivity of production systems. Scientific questions consist in assessing the effect of agricultural activities and landscape mosaics on the nitrogen cascade in landscapes and territories. 

Main approches

  • scenarios of nitrogen management are built at the classical scales of the plot (forms, quantities and dates of nitrogen inputs ...) and the farm (crop sequences, herd and effluent management...) and also at the landscape and territory scales (lansdscape structure, landscape sharing, spatial planning...),
  • models integrating the processes of the nitrogen cascade are developed to simulate nitrogen flows, budgets and losses in territories of various sizes, mainly landscapes of a few tens of km2, but also larger territories of hundreds to thousands km2 
  • data are collected on four experimental sites, monitored for several decades and complementary in their management, soil and climate characteristics, and used to assess the ability of models to simulate nitrogen flows.

 Expected results 

  • production, assessment and interpretation of scenarios of nitrogen management in landscapes and territories,
  • production of knowledge and reliable tools (models, databases) to quantify the steps of the nitrogen cascade in landscapes and territories,
  • strengthening interdisciplinary research and development partnerships with international visibility,
  • joint development of innovative solutions to reduce nitrogen losses in the environment and adapt production systems.

The dissemination of results to farmers will be made by the partners from the technical institutes and cooperatives involved in the project.

The project is coordinated by Jean-Louis Drouet - INRA (Grignon).
The main project partners are INRA (ECOSYS, SAS, ASTER, SOIL, MIA, PEGASE), FIRE (UPMC / CNRS METIS, IRSTEA, ENSMP), CNRS (ECOLAB), ARVALIS, Triskalia and Terrena. Subcontractors are INRA units (BEF BIA), INRA-Transfert, CERFACS, LISIC, CESBIO, LISA and CETIOM.

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