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Habilitation à diriger des recherches

Environmental assessment of agro-ecosystems. An integrated approach to manage agri-environmental risks.

Abstract : In the last 50 years, the green revolution made it possible to meet growing needs for agricultural produce, thanks to the advances of genetics and to an increased reliance on agricultural inputs. However, this came at the cost of unprecedented changes to ecosystems worldwide, jeopardizing their capacity to supply their current services in the future, whether regarding food, fibre and energy production, fresh water supply or climate regulations. Agriculture is thus facing a quandary: is it possible to meet the growing needs for its produce while preserving the environment ?

Within this general problematic, my research has focused on the environmental balance of arable crops. The balance takes into account the impacts of management practices on the soil, water and atmospheric compartments associated with a given level of biomass production, thereby making it possible to minimize trade-offs between environmental issues. The impacts considered involve the cycles of water, carbon and nitrogen, as well as the fate of pesticides after field application. Environmental losses are estimated based on biogeochemical models, with particular emphasis on gaseous emissions. Most of my past work involved such kind of modelling, in its various aspects: process integration, test against experimental data sets, extrapolation over time and space, and application to environmental assessment in various practical contexts. The latter encompassed bio-energy chains, recycling of urban waste in agriculture, or the introduction of herbicide-tolerant genotypes.

The conclusion of these applications is that the margins for progress are either relatively limited when looking at the effects of management practices on a one-at-a-time basis, or potentially larger but restricted to a small number of impact categories. In the latter case, in addition, the other impacts are more difficult to assess because they are highly dependent on local ecosystem context. As a consequence, my future research purports to shift to a more systemic vision of agricultural production, in strong connection with agronomical and socio-economic approaches, and based on a spatially-explicit description of the production territory.
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Habilitation à diriger des recherches
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Contributor : Benoit Gabrielle <>
Submitted on : Monday, January 23, 2006 - 4:06:33 PM
Last modification on : Monday, December 14, 2020 - 9:53:05 AM
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  • HAL Id : tel-00011435, version 2


Benoit Gabrielle. Environmental assessment of agro-ecosystems. An integrated approach to manage agri-environmental risks.. Earth Sciences. Université Pierre et Marie Curie - Paris VI, 2006. ⟨tel-00011435v2⟩



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