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    Research resultats

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    • Towards plants adapted to stress conditions in the city
    • Innovative plant production for the urban market
    • Building fertile soils in the city
    • Effects to trees on local urban climate
    • Towards more greenery and well-being in the city



    A research topic in full expansion in pays-de-la-Loire region

    Plants in urban areas is a research area that is the subject of work in several academic laboratories in Angers.

    The urban environment being a highly anthropised and constrained system; it disrupts, in the medium term, the ability of plants to provide the expected ecosysteme services. A better knowledge and understanding of urban ecosystems will make it possible to propose ways of adapting, managing and making these ecosystems more sustainable.

    • EPHor: laboratory seeks to understand and model the mechanisms of water and heat transfer in the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum, and to characterize the biochemical-physical properties of these soils. This laboratory also models, on a continuum scale, the contribution of plants to urban thermal regulation.
    • IRHS teams bring their expertise on the functionning of plants in urban environments: measuring and understanding the impact of the urban environment on plant physiology, plant improvement, protection against biotic stress, contribution of plants to the health and well-being of urban dwellers.
    • GRAPPElaboratory studies consumer perception, expectations and behaviour when buying and using ornamental plants and develops specific methods to answer these questions.



    In 2017, ASTRDHOR, Agrocampus-Ouest and the University of Angers launched the STRATège loint Tchnology Unit that has been labelled by the French Department of Agriculture, Agri-Food and Froresty. This collaborative platform is dedicated to:

    • Undersanding consumer needs, expectations and behavious,
    • Adaptation of plant products to the urban market.


    Expected results:

    • the implementation of production and marketing strategies,
    • the identification of genetic and environmental factors in the ability of plants to develop in urban areas.



    Allan Maignant

    allan.maignant @ astredhor.fr




    Towards plants adapted to stress conditions in the city

    Impact of the urban environment on plants



    OBAUC project
    OBAUC project
    (2016-2017) - funds from the RFI Objectif Végétal program

    The Arch-E (IRHS), EPHor (Agrocampus-Ouest) and LEE (IFSTTAR) teams sought to check the possibilty to stimuate in greenhouse the major abiotic constraints of the urban environment (shading related to the presence of building, water restriction, soil compaction) and to quantify their effects on the development and physiology of an ornamental plant.


    • Results: The urban climate could be stimulated in a greenhouse but a time lag. The rose bush has adapted its physiogy and development mainly in response to water stress.

    Lydie Huche Thelier



    Lydie Huche Thelier

    lydie.huche-thelier @ inra.fr


    Acclimating plants before planting in the city



    EPICLONES project
    EPICLONES project
    (2017-2019) - fund from the RFI Objectif Végétal program

    This project is performed by IRHS the teams (Arch-E, EPICENTER and Bioinformatics). The researchersassess the possibility of acclimatising plants, before planting, to the stressful conditions of the urban environment by carrying out several cycles of vegetative propagation under stress and selecting the most resistant plants at each cycle.


    • Objective: Find out whether increased resistance can be achieved and whether it is due to stable epigenetic changes initiated by prolonged stress. Such a strategy coud apply to any species vegetatively propagated.

    Nathalie Leduc

    nathalie.leduc @ univ-angers.fr


    Innovative plant production for the urban market

    Irradiance project
    (2018-2021) - funds from CASDAR and VAL'HOR

    This project is performed by IRHS in collaboration with ASTREDHOR. It aims to adapt
    horticultural plants to the spatial constraint of city dwellers, while maintaining the
    "quantitative sustainability" of products.

    • Objective: Develop a compact and branched hoticultural crop production system to better meet the emerging urban market.


    Laurent Crespel


    Philippe Morel-Chevillet

    philippe.morel-chevillet@inra.fr (Philippe.morel-chevillet @ inra.fr)


    Bulding fertile soils in the city

    In heavily waterproofed urban area, plants that grows in planting pits do not return organic matter to the soil.

    EPHor research unit is particularly intersted in the role played by exogenous inputs of organic matter from urban activity and by roots, on the agronomis properties of soils.


    Fertile soils from dam sediments

    dam sediments, fertile soils

    Gaëtan Frouvel complted his thesis under Cifre modality (2015-2018) with EDF R&D with the academic supervision of the EPHor research unit. His research project analyzed
    and optimized the physical fertility of urban soils built from dam sediments.

    • Results: Environmental and agronomic criteria have been prposed to direct sediments towards soil construction and to propose suitable uses.


    Fertile soils from recycled urban materials




    SITERRE project (2011-2015) - funds from ADEME and partners

    Driven by Plante&Cité, this project has involved many partners, among them EPHor research unit.



    • Results: Fertile soil construction processes have been developed, using innovative materials that replace topsoil and quarry aggregates.


    Laure Beaudet

    laure.beaudet @ agrocampus-ouest.fr


    Effects of trees on local urban climate

    Rue canyon project
    Rue canyon project
    (2016-2021) - funds from ADEME Région Pays-de-le-Loire, Ministère de l'Agriculture

    EPHor- IFSTTAR - LEE - ISGS collaboration aims to quantify the transfer of water and energy in the soilplant-atmosphere system in urban areas. It is based on an experimentation phase conducted in a 1/5 sale canyon street and modelling using a distributed climate approach.


    • Objective: Understand the impact of the plant on the climatic conditions in the city, more particularly under water restriction conditions, in order to optimise the cooling of urban heat islands while restricting watering.

    Pierre Emmanuel Bournet


    Pierre Emmanuel Bournet






    Towards more greenery and well-being in the city


    Patrice Cannavo

    patrice.cannavo @ agrocampus-ouest.fr




    Effect of plant mediation on the psychological health of inhabitants


    Hired by Plante&Cité, Bastien Valou is working on his Cifre thesis (2018-2021) with the IRHS ans LPPL research units. His work consists of an analysis of the relationships between urban green spaces and the psychological health of the inhabitants.

    • Objective: Develop a method for evaluating the effect of these green spaces on the health of city dwellers (e.g. anxiety) ; Explain the process that leads to improved psychological health when in contact with nature spaces.


    Gilles Galopin

    Gilles Galopin

    gilles.galopin @ agrocampus-ouest.fr




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    Looking for partners?

    Two contacts to support your projects:

    • Aurore Gautier,

    contact to support your R&D projects and put you in touch






    • Tanegmart Redjala

    Close interface with the laboratoires of the Federative Research Structure "Quasav"