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Conservatoire européen des échantillons de sols. © INRA, Olivier Bertel

INRA inaugurates the European Soil Sample Conservatory in Orléans

On July 8, INRA President François Houllier inaugurated a new infrastructure for soil research—the only one of its kind in Europe—at the Val de Loire Centre in Ardon (near Orléans, France). François Bonneau, President of the Regional Council of France’s Centre Region, was also in attendance.

Updated on 07/21/2014
Published on 07/08/2014

This new centre represents a major scientific and logistical resource in soil sample conservation in France. The samples housed there were originally collected over the course of GIS Sol* Scientific Interest Group programmes and various European programmes. The goal of these research efforts is to ensure the acquisition, categorisation, long-term conservation and availability of soil samples for the scientific communities of France and Europe.

View of the European Soil Sample Conservatory (CEES) in Ardon (near Orléans), which is part of the INRA Val de Loire Centre.. © INRA, Inra, O. Bertel
View of the European Soil Sample Conservatory (CEES) in Ardon (near Orléans), which is part of the INRA Val de Loire Centre. © INRA, Inra, O. Bertel

This “soil library” currently comprises more than 30,000 soil samples. Using these samples, a review of the state of soils around France has been carried out, and scientists will be able to analyse any changes in soil quality.

This conservatory is a key resource in the long-term maintenance of the productivity and environmental functions of French and European soils. It will provide scientists with a foundation from which to work when addressing soil quality and future soil-related expectations over the medium and long terms. Thanks to its coupling with a national soil quality database, this centre will act as a genuine “soil memory”. The development of innovative analysis techniques will help agricultural, forestry and land management policymakers take decisions regarding climate change, biodiversity and water resources.

This new centre received total funding in the amount of €3,250,000 through the 2007-2013 French State-Regional Contract Programme, of which €1,531,000 was financed by the FEDER, €500,000 by the regional government (Centre region) and €1,218,000 by INRA.

*GIS Sol is a group that brings together members of the French Ministry of Agriculture, Agrifood and Forestry; the French Ministry for the Environment, Sustainable Development and Energy; the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME); the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA); the French Developmental Research Institute (IRD); and the French National Institute of Geographic and Forestry Information (IGN).

Scientific contact(s):

Press Relations:
Olivier Bertel, Communication Manager—INRA Val de Loire Centre (+33 2 38 41 80 11), Laurent Cario, Communication Manager—INRA Val de Loire Centre (+33 2 47 42 76 09)