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24, chemin de Borde Rouge –Auzeville – CS52627
31326 Castanet Tolosan CEDEX - France

Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Welcome to ECOSYS

UMR ECOSYS - Ecologie fonctionnelle et écotoxicologie des agroécosystèmes


Optimizing land use allocation, energy and matter fluxes in Europe for minimizing environmental impacts of agriculture


A growing world population will increase the demand for food, especially for animal-source products. The big challenge is to increase food production without harming other ecosystem services (e.g., carbon sequestration, biodiversity) and without increasing environmental impacts (e.g., greenhouse gas emissions, air pollutant emissions). Indeed the limitedness of available land causes severe tradeoffs between food production and other environment-related targets.
By modifying the land surface, land-use and land-cover (LULCCs) and land management changes (LMCs) alter the physical, chemical, and biological processes of the biosphere and therefore all land–atmosphere interactions, from local to global scales (Massad et al. 2019). Since the Second World War, the use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers largely increased, with half of the quantity ever used being applied in the last 20 years (Erisman et al., 2007). The growth of nitrogen fertilization threatens water sources (e.g. eutrophication of surface waters, pollution of groundwater, acid rains), soils (e.g. soil acidification), climate via greenhouse gas emissions, and air quality (Fowler et al. 2013). In addition, the transportation of feed between different regions has an environmental impact.
Optimization models are useful tools for exploring trade-offs and synergies among ecosystem services and environmental impacts (Accatino et al. 2019). These models consist in linking land use and land cover variables to the provision of ecosystem services or to environmental impacts. In order to better study the environmental impacts of agriculture, it is important to better model the factor that influence the nitrogen cycle and the fluxes of nitrogen between different parts of Europe due to feed transportation.


The objectives of the PhD is to propose a model of nitrogen fluxes (within and between European regions) influenced by land cover, land use, and livestock allocation. It will be possible to model agricultural production as well as different environmental impacts (e.g., GHG emissions, air pollutant emissions, NO3- leaching) and other ecosystem services (e.g., carbon sequestration). The model will be used for finding strategies to soften tradeoffs and enhancing synergies between agricultural production, ecosystem services and environmental impacts. Different climate scenarios will be considered.