Protecting biodiversity


The scientific questions raised by the “Ecology, biodiversity and continental ecosystem functioning” (ECOBIO) department primarily address the functional role of biodiversity in tropical and Mediterranean ecosystems.

In 2018, research conducted by the Department cast light on:

As part of the “Preservation and Promotion of Biodiversity” PSIP, a “Biodiversity and Globalisation/Global Changes” workshop was organised in Montpellier on 19 and 20 December 2018. IRD also participated in COP 14 on biodiversity.

A number of activities were undertaken as part of the “Continental Carbon Sequestration” PSIP: technical support for the French delegation to COP 13 UNCDD, revision of the “land degradation and restoration assessment” for IPBES 6 and participation in COP 24 UNFCCC.

Key figures

Flagship projects

Genetic diversity in millet: a past and future adaptive advantage

Having sequenced the millet genome, an international consortium involving French researchers from IRD, Indian, Chinese researchers and numerous laboratories from the North and South, studied different wild and cultivated varieties.

Andean dams versus Amazonian biodiversity

A scientific study warns of the multiplication of large-scale hydroelectric dams on the Andean tributaries of the Amazon.

Cultivate land for carbon

Soils from cultivated areas in tropical regions constitute largely underused carbon sinks.

Nitrogen-fixing symbioses reveal themselves

Recent research has revealed the origin and evolution of symbiotic relationships between certain plants and soil bacteria in order to use atmospheric nitrogen.


  • 3rd Phytobiomes international conference

    IRD sponsored this conference held in Montpellier in December 2018, which brought together a large community of international researchers and scientists from the private sector.

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  • IRD was mobilised for COP14 on biodiversity

    IRD was mobilised for COP14 on biodiversity, notably via two events on protected areas and invasive species.

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  • Oases on top of the Andes

    On the occasion of the Faites le Paris de la Biodiversité event, the Foundation for Research on Biodiversity (FRB), the French Facility for Global Environment (FFEM) and IRD presented a photographic exhibition to illustrate the BioTHAW scientific programme.

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  • Deployment of Pl@ntNet in tropical Africa

    1,300 African plant species are now identifiable thanks to the Pl@ntNet application.

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  • Birthplace of African rice domestication identified in Mali

    An international study identified the geographical origin of African rice domestication.

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  • “4 per thousand” initiative - the scientific community launches the Sète Appeal

    Researchers gathered in Sète on 7 and 8 November 2018.

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And in the future?

IRD will be particularly involved in two major biodiversity related events in 2019: