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French research observatory on the recycling of organic residues in agriculture


The French research observatory "Organic residues observatory" is a network of long term field experiments dedicated to the study of the recycling of organic residues in agriculture

The French research observatory on organic residues recycling in agriculture is a network of long-term field experiments which has been created to evaluate benefits and risks associated to organic residue (OR) application in agriculture. It has been certified as SOERE PRO (network of long-term experiments dedicated to the study of impacts of organic waste product recycling) in 2011 and 2015 by ALLENVI (Alliance Nationale de Recherche pour l'Environnement). Since 2014, it has also been integrated as a service of the ‘‘Investment for future’’ infrastructure AnaEE-France, overseen by the French National Research Agency (ANR-11-INBS-0001).

The SOERE PRO provides data to:

  • Evaluate the effects of regular OR application on organic matter dynamics and potential C storage in soils, biogeochemical cycles of nutrients (C, N, P), fate of potentially present chemical and biological contaminants, soil physical properties and soil biological activities
  • Simulate the long-term consequences of regular application and integrate them in environmental analysis
  • Test various alternative scenarios of applications

The experimental sites allow measuring the long-term evolution of the agro-system after repeated applications of OR derived from urban and agricultural activities (sludge, compost, manures) and undergoing various treatments (none, composting, anaerobic digestion). The SOERE PRO network involve different research institutes (INRA, CIRAD, IRD) and collaborations with concerned professional partners. The SOERE PRO sites are managed to provide experimental conditions allowing sampling for research programs (ex. FP7 GENESIS, ADEME Bioindicateurs, ANR Isard, ANR CESA CEMABS, SNOWMAN, PhD works).

The SOERE PRO includes:

5 on-going sites with arable crops, under various agro-pedo-climatic contexts:

  • QualiAgro (started in 1998 and managed by INRA) located in the Paris basin comparing urban composts and manure
  • PROspective (started in 2000 and managed by INRA) located in Alsace, north east of France comparing composted and non-composted residues
  • EFELE (started in 2012 and managed by INRA) located in Brittany comparing different manures and treatment processes
  • SOERE PRO Reunion (started in 2013 and managed by CIRAD) located in Reunion island comparing farm effluents and urban organic wastes
  • SOERE PRO Senegal (started in 2016 and managed by CIRAD) carried out under vegetable crops, and comparing poultry manure, urban sludge and digestate.
Carte 5 sites SOERE EN

Figure: Map of the 5 on-going sites of the SOERE PRO network (from Google Earth),
with short description of the treatments carried out on these sites.

2 historical sites where OR spreading stopped are associated to SOERE PRO as sites to study the resiliency of systems and where OR were characterized by high contamination levels for some of them:

  • La Bouzule (1996-2002 managed by INRA-ENSAIA)
  • Couhins (1974-1998 managed by INRA)

Finally another site has been associated to the SOERE PRO although not instrumented but offering interesting sub-sahelien climatic conditions in Burkina Faso managed by IRD: 

  • Gampela (> 2007)

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