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The transverse research axis Convergences of ecological sciences for a more sustainable agriculture in the South and North aims to stimulate and federate research in agro-ecology within the unit.
Agriculture and its sustainability represent a huge challenge for both human societies and Nature:
- The world human population continues to grow while agricultural yields tend to stagnate in the North in intensive agriculture.
- Yields from food crops in the South remain too low.
- Agriculture, and especially intensive farming, has a very negative impact on biodiversity and natural ecosystems.
- Agriculture is unsustainable due to dependence on many unsustainable resources (fossil fuels, phosphorus).
- Agriculture often exploits the fertility of the soil in a mining manner (loss of organic matter, degradation of the soil structure, loss of biodiversity).
One of the most relevant answers to all these problems is to better use the knowledge developed by ecological sciences to develop agro-ecology, the aim being to maximize the use of ecological processes led by farmers to reduce the amount of input and increase the sustainability of agriculture.
This approach is a priori relevant both in the North for intensive agriculture which uses too many inputs, and in the South for subsistence farming which cannot use many inputs.
To this end, it is important to mobilize all the knowledge developed by ecology (functional ecology, ecosystems, communities, populations, evolutionary ecology, microbial ecology) but also of all related disciplines (pedology, hydrology, geochemistry, physiology, genetics)