Responding to environmental challenges and their associated risks

Climate change, biodiversity loss, adaptation by life on Earth, mounting risks: how do we face global challenges, cope with multifarious risks, and promote ecological transitions?

Multiple global changes are currently underway, and some are the  result  of  agricultural  and  forestry  practices.  These  changes  are  intensifying  many  kinds  of  risks,  and  their  impacts  are  already  being  felt  in  numerous  ecosystems  and  human  populations.  For  the  ecological  transition  to  fully  succeed,  we  must identify strategies that both reduce the vulnerability and increase the resilience of agricultural systems, food production systems, human populations and the environment.

  • Climate change: mitigation and adaptation strategies
  • Biodiversity: a powerful tool and a valuable inheritance
  • Organismal adaptations: tools for guiding genetic selection and preserving biodiversity
  • Assessment and management of natural and climatic risks


Foret vue du bas

The BIOSEFAIR metaprogramme is designed to respond to a dual challenge, i.e. sustainable management of the services and functions ecosystems provide (food, regulatory, sociocultural); and the conservation and restoration of biodiversity as a whole, both to maintain the services it provides and for its intrinsic value. BIOSEFAIR is exploring a vast array of services such as contributions to climate change mitigation, pollination, crop protection, natural risk prevention, and even cultural services.
The AQUALAND project focuses on these interactions between aquatic ecosystems and agroecosystems, exploring the existence of ecosystem services related to natural aquatic habitats, and their interactions with agricultural areas.

CLIMAE metaprogramme's goal is to support the agroecological transition of agrifood and forestry systems to help them adapt to future climates and mitigate climate change.

Highlights: Sols  |  Forêts  |  Eau

how do we face global challenges, cope with multifarious risks, and promote ecological transitions?

Climate change: mitigation and adaptation strategies

We are grappling with climate disruption. INRAE research is thus exploring mitigation strategies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and boost long-term carbon storage. Mitigation alone will not be sufficient. Therefore, in tandem, we must design and deploy adaptation strategies that account for local conditions and that increase system resilience via several means (e.g., water resources, genetic selection, economic measures). In addition, we must assess the sustainability of the proposed strategies by comparing short- and long-term stresses and considering strategy benefits relative to other facets of global changes. This objective is being pursued by the metaprogramme Regional Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies in Agrifood and Forestry Systems to Deal with Climate Change (STRADA).

Biodiversity: a powerful tool and a valuable inheritance

Biodiversity helps guarantee resilience in the face of numerous hazards. It is thus a common good that must be protected and, when possible, restored. Environmental conditions are rapidly changing, and it is important to both halt the loss of biodiversity and ensure its sustainable use. Our research aims to understand the different drivers at work and to identify the impacts to be tackled first. In addition, our objective is to ensure that biodiversity is a key consideration in decision-making by stakeholders and government officials. In addition to the research being carried out by INRAE units, the interdisciplinary metaprogramme Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (BIOSEFAIR) has just been launched in collaboration with two European networks, PEER and ALTER-Net, and the European partnership, Rescuing Biodiversity to Safeguard Life on Earth, coordinated by the French Foundation for Biodiversity Research

Organismal adaptations

The mechanisms used by living organisms to adapt to environmental conditions can serve as tools for facilitating the ecological transition and responding to diverse, fluctuating, and unpredictable environmental conditions. We are expanding our understanding of how these mechanisms operate at different scales (from individual organisms to entire species) to define the potential for adaptation and thus predict individual phenotypes and the evolutionary dynamics of populations.

Assessment and management of natural and climatic risks

Numerous natural and climatic risks are worsening. Given their cascading effects on ecosystems and human societies, INRAE is seeking to clarify the underlying causes of these risks under dynamic and unpredictable environmental conditions. This task requires analysing stakeholder perspectives, points of vulnerability, and the capacities of systems to plan for and adapt to change. It is also necessary to gather technical and economic tools and models to guide decision-making, resource management, and regional actions at different time scales.

More information

Our research themes: Climate change and risks - Biodiversity

Our metaprogrammes: CLIMAE, Managing Climate Change in Agriculture and Forests: Adaptation and Mitigation & BIOSEFAIR, Biodiversity and ecosystem services

INRAE 2030