Biodiversity 2 min

Renewal of the international associated laboratory Ecoland building on successful results for Sino-French research on contaminated soils

The international associated laboratory (IAL) for Ecosystem services provided by contaminated land was renewed on the 27th of October by a signature event in Guangzhou, China. Following the successful results of collaborations carried out between 2015 and 2020 by INRAE, University of Lorraine, and Sun-Yat Sen University, the IAL Ecoland is renewed as IAL Ecoland 2 and extended to a new partner, the South China Agricultural University (SCAU). The aim of the IAL is to assess the potential of contaminated soils, particularly mining sites, and to develop remediation approaches and processes to restore their value.

Published on 31 October 2023

illustration Renewal of the international associated laboratory Ecoland building on successful results for Sino-French research on contaminated soils
© IAL Ecoland

The international laboratory on Ecosystem services provided by contaminated land (Ecoland), is the concretisation of a long-term cooperation on pollution and remediation of soil and water between two laboratories, since 2005. Includingthe Laboratoire Sols et Environnement (LSE - INRAE and University of Lorraine), and the Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Environmental Pollution Control and Remediation Technology (LEPCRT -  Sun Yat-Sen University), with the involvement of INRAE’s departement on AgroEcoSystem. The first international associated laboratory on Ecosystem Services provided by Contaminated Land (Ecoland 1), was created in December 2015. The scientific complementarity, trust and implication of the researchers led to the success of Ecoland 1, which was renewed in Guangzhou of the 27th of October as IAL Ecoland 2.

The aim of the IAL is to assess the potential of contaminated soils, particularly mining sites, and to develop remediation approaches and processes to restore their value. Three main issues are being explored:

  • producing healthy food on contaminated soils using genetic resources and modifying soil properties;
  • producing biomass for industrial or food use by recreating productive ecosystems on degraded and contaminated soils;
  • using phytotechnologies to recycle metals present in contaminated soils. These strategies must also contribute to improving ecosystem services.

The dedication of the French and Chinese teams led to major advancements in various fields of research, enabling both countries to improve environmental management, preserve biodiversity, and tackle climate change. More than 20 articles were published, in several scientific reviews, on soil pollution, the sustainable management of degraded land, and the development of phytotechologies such as agromining, or the remediation of rare earth mining sites.

Beyond the achieved results, French and Chinese researchers have forged a strong friendship through constant exchanges, greatly help with the mobilities opportunities offered by the LIA and regular meetings and workshops organized by the researchers on both sides.

A great number of researchers benefitted from these mobilities, as well as students and young researchers with 4 to 6 master exchange students each year, as well as 3 on-going co-supervised PhDs, 2 Phds were submitted and and 1 post doc.

Ecoland gathered in Nancy, France, for the 14th annual workshop of Ecoland

Among IAL activities, 4 annual workhsops have also been organized alternatively in Guangzhou and Nancy during ECOLAND 1 to strengthen scientific collaborations and share research results within the scope the laboratory.

“The LIA ECOLAND has become a benchmark for Franco-Chinese cooperation in research and higher education. Therefore, I wish that in the second phase of collaboration, our research teams can expand their influence into more important areas by building upon their solid cooperation and inject new vitality into the Franco-Chinese friendship, which will soon celebrate its 60th anniversary.” Philippe Mauguin, INRAE CEO

Building on its success, the IAL ECOLAND 2 expands to include the Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Agricultural & Rural Pollution Abatement and Environmental Safety (LARPAES) of the South China Agricultural University (SCAU).

In September 2023, a Chinese delegation of 26 people travelled to Nancy, France for the 14th Sino-French International Workshop, which was also the kick-off meeting for ECOLAND 2 and  an opportunity to discuss further collaborations between China and France. The visit of the GIFSI, a Scientific interest group on brownfield sites, near Nancy could lead to future joint experimentations on soil remediation within the sino-french laboratory.

Visit of the GIFSI site on September 2023, in Nancy, France

Ariane LelahAuthor


Florent ChazarencResearch director of REVERSAAL unit of research, in charge of cooperation with China, Japan and South Korea



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