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ETABLE  expérimentale des Verrines,  POITOU-CHARENTES. © inra, Jean-Claude Emile

Experimental facilities open to the scientific community

Environmental research observation and experimentation system

Do meadows sown in alternation with annual crops help protect the environment and biodiversity? The environmental impact of meadows can only be analysed with long-term experimental systems, such as the SOERE created by the ministry of research.

Mesure de la vitesse de filtration du sol avec un infiltromètre double anneau, dans le cadre du projet Ecofinders, sur le SOERE ACBB à Lusignan. © inra, Christophe Maitre
By INRA Poitou-Charentes communications department
Updated on 01/12/2017
Published on 01/31/2013

The ministry of research created environmental research observation and experimentation systems (SOERE) to evaluate the long-term environmental consequences of human activities. This experimental facility unique in Europe - SOERE "Agro-ecosystems, biogeochemical cycles and biodiversity" (ACBB) - was set up in 2003 by the teams at Inra, with the backing of the National institute of Sciences of the Universe (Insu). Three long-term experimentation sites have been established to study the effects of human activities on the evolution of meadows and the environmental consequences:

Theix-Laqueuille (Auvergne): permanent meadows
Lusignan (Poitou-Charentes): sown meadows / arable crop rotations
Mons-en-Chaussée (Picardie): arable crops

A global observatory

The SOERE-ACBB is part of a major global research network (Anaee, Neon) and is open to the global scientific community. The measurements and results of the research resulting from the SOERE-ACBB platforms are made available to scientists. The data are saved in databases that will be accessible to the network and samples are conserved in collections (soil, plant powders, and ground water).

In Lusignan 25 hectares and 400 sensors for studying meadows over several decades

In Lusignan, meadow life times can be adjusted in relation to annual crops (maize, wheat, barley), two levels of nitrogen fertilizer and two methods of meadow management: cutting or pasture.
These practices are divided into different processes:
• Annual crop rotation (control without meadow),
• Alternating 3 years of meadow, fertilised with nitrogen and cut, and 3 years of annual crops,
• Alternating 6 years of meadow, fertilised with nitrogen and cut, and 3 years of annual crops,
• Alternating 6 years of meadow, not fertilised with nitrogen and cut, and 3 years of annual crops,
• An established meadow perpetuated at least 20 years, cut (control without annual crops).

Sown meadow parameters

Weather: temperature and humidity, pluviometry…
Atmospheric flows: carbon dioxide (CO2), water (H2O), nitrous oxide (NO2)
Soil quality: chemical and geochemical analysis up to 1.20m deep, pH, conductivity, organic matter, temperature and humidity of the soil…
Quality of ground water: chemical analysis
Biodiversity: microorganisms, insects, mites, worms, wild plants
Vegetation: quantity and composition of leaves, stems and roots of plants sown to establish the meadow

INRA Poitou-Charentes communications department
Other contact(s):
Chabbi Abad, national coordinator of the SOERE ACBB (+33 (0) 5 49 55 61 78), Charrier Xavier, in charge of the ACBB site in Lusignan (+33 (0) 5 49 55 60 62)