Research Unit Ecodevelopment, INRA UR 0767

The main research topic is the analysis of the transitions of agriculture and rural territories towards sustainability and ecologically based models, embracing a wide range of agricultural and agri-food systems.

The research activities focus on the understanding of the environmental, technical, economic and social determinants of these evolutions of agriculture.They also deal with the design and analysis of new models of ecological agriculture, the design of companion modeling and co-design methods to accompany these transitions.

These researches also aim at helping rural stakeholders, in their diversity, to better design the necessary evolutions of agriculture and environmental policies. Ecodeveloppement is engaged in strong partnerships with the actors and stakeholders of these transitions, whether directly involved in agriculture (farmers, extension services) or involved in public or private actions impacting agriculture (natural park, local authorities, biosphere reserves).

Research Projects

  • Understanding how transitions towards ecological agricultures take place, at different temporal and spatial scales and identifying key determinants of these transitions (from agricultural practices to the agri-food systems, from interactions between agricultural and food practices to the origins of the justifications used in public action).The main systems studied are horticulture (fruit & vegetable) and sheep production in their transitions towards Organic Farming.
  • Identifying the socioeconomic determinants of the transitions of the agricultural systems, estimating the appropriate effects of public policies and proposing spatial prospective models on agricultural activity, in particular for the development of Organic Farming.

The researchers of the unit develop a multidisciplinary approach based on biotechnical sciences (agronomy - animal breeding) and human sciences (economy, sociology and anthropology), in the framework of Agroecology, as defined by Altieri (1989) and Francis (2003).

In this frame, Organic Farming is considered as an interesting prototype, both as a socioecological system where interactions between human actions and biological processes are studied, and as a sociotechnical system allowing to study the role of human, social and political organizations on ecological transitions. Organic Farming also allows to study the effects of public actions (regulations, economic incentives...) on these transitions.

Ecodeveloppement host the animation cell of INRA's Internal Committee on Organic Farming ( and the national contact of the ERA-Net+ Core-Organic2.

Ecodevelopment is research unit of the department « Sciences for Action and Development » of Inra.

Direction : Marc Tchamitchian

(1) Territories are places where different dynamics – agricultural, ecological, social, economic, political – interact. These interactions shape these territories.

(2) Harvest of organic salads. The current period is marked by the development of alternative agricultures or agrifood systems based on ecological processes.

(3) Example of an ecological orchard. The main systems studied are horticulture (fruit & vegetable) and sheep production, in their transitions towards Organic Farming.


ECODEV is a member laboratory of Labex OT-Med. ECODEV reserchers participate to several collaborative projects (co)funded by OT-Med :

  • « Socio-Ecological Indicators for Mediterranean Agro-ecosystem Sustainability (SEI-Med) »,

    PIs : CRAMER Wolfgang (IMBE) and NAPOLEONE Claude (ECODEV INRA Avignon)

    other participating laboratories : LPED and GREQAM
  • « Designing alternative regional Scenarios for land-use and agricultural Innovative Management and BIOdiverSity consErvation (SIMBIOSE) »,

    PI : ALBERT Cécile (IMBE)

    other participating laboratories : ECODEV, GREQAM, IRSTEA and LPED
  • « Towards an integrated prediction of Land & Sea Responses to global change in the Mediterranean Basin (LaSeR-Med) »,

    PIs : BAKLOUTI Melika (MIO), BONDEAU Alberte (IMBE)
    other participating laboratories : ECODEV, CERGAM and GREQAM