AGROFOR team: “Multi-scale modeling in agronomy and forestry”

Key-words :

process-based modeling, carbon, nutrients, scenarios of ecological transition, forest management, global food security

Team leader : Bruno Ringeval

Pietro Barberi (PR)Christelle Aluome (IE)Noélie Borghino
Denis Loustau (DR)Corinne Sert (GU)Joséphine Demay
Sylvain Pellerin (DR) Clémence Labarre
Bruno Ringeval (CR) Tom Taborski
Thomas Nesme (PR)  

General presentation :

In the AGROFOR team, we aim to improve our understanding of the biogeochemical cycles (carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus) in managed forests and agricultural ecosystems, as well as of the response of these cycles to different perturbations and changes (climate change, change in forest management or farming practices) at large spatial scales (France, global scale).

Carbon and nutrient fluxes are studied along the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum and between cropland and livestock sectors or wood production sectors.

To do so, AGROFOR develops a modeling approach to simulate the functioning of managed forests (the Go+ model) or food production (e.g. the GOANIM model). The team is also skilled in the management of databases used as input of models or to evaluate them (e.g. ICOS or long-term field dataset).

AGROFOR uses these models to assess the effects of scenarios on the sustainability of ecosystems functioning, greenhouse gas emissions, and food security at the global scale to help decisions-makers (forest managers, public policy) .

Main scientific questions:

How do French forests respond to the combinations of scenarios for forest management and for climate change?

How to improve the process-based modeling of biogeochemical cycles at the ecosystem scale?

  • Taborski et al., Quantifying canopy conductance in a pine forest during drought from combined sap flow and canopy surface temperature measurements, Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 323 (2022)

How does the energy production modify the ecosystem functioning, carbon cycle and greenhouse gas emissions, at landscape and national scales?

  • Malet et al. Does Anaerobic Digestion Really Help to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions? A Case Study Based on 30 Cogeneration Plants in France. SSRN Electron. J. (2022)
  • Loustau et al. Bilan de carbone du déboisement lié à l’installation du projet de parc photovoltaïque HORIZEO de Saucats. Rapport final de contrat ENGIE NEOEN INRAE. 47p + annexes. (2022)

How did human activities (with a specific focus on agriculture) disturb the biogeochemical cycles at the global scale?

  • Demay et al., Half of global agricultural soil phosphorus fertility derived from anthropogenic sources (2022) in press

To what extent do nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus) limit the global food production for the current time period and under different scenarios of organic farming extension?

How would the organic farming extension change the greenhouse gas emissions and land-use change in particular through a change in livestock?

  • Gaudare et al. Soil organic carbon stocks potentially at risk of decline in organically farmed croplands (2022) under review

Alumni : 

Ulysse Gaudaré (Doctorant, 2019-2021), Angela Che Ing Tang (Post-doc, 2021-2022), Soisick Figueres (Ingénieure, 2019-2022), Lou Wissinger (Master, 2022)


  • IGN, Fransylva, ONF, CNPF, ADEME
  • UMR SMART (INRAE, Rennes)


Fig.7 of Taborski et al. 2022, Agricultural and Forest Meteorology (


Fig.1 of Barbieri et al. 2021, Nature Food (


Fig.1 Organic-to-conventional cropland energy production gap or surplus. a, The total cropland production gap at the global scale, broken down into the gap due to (1) N limitation, (2) biotic and abiotic stresses other than N limitation and (3) changes in crop rotations. Cropland production corresponds to the sum of energy production of the 61 considered crop species. b, The gap or surplus is calculated between the REF 100% organic (that is, a planet farmed entirely organically alongside optimal livestock managament) versus the 100% conventional scenarios.

Modification date: 06 December 2023 | Publication date: 12 June 2014 | By: Stéphane Thunot