Agronomy, Forestry, Water and Environmental Sciences and Engineering Department - SIAFEEApril 13 2022
Assistant Directors:Marieke Blondet (Nancy), Jean-Pierre Chery (Montpellier), Erwan Personne (Paris), Jean-Roger-Estrade (Paris), Laure Vieublé (Paris).
Administrative and Finance Manager:Virginie Dhainaut
About the Department
The world in which we live is undergoing a societal, ecological, energetic, and digital transition. The challenges posed by these transitions—such as the need to preserve soil and water resources, understanding the importance of natural and cultivated biodiversity and its role in the biological regulation of agroecosystems, the role of humans in climate change, demographic growth, and the need to ensure that everyone has access to safe food and good health—call for profound changes in the way we interact with the world. The SIAFEE department oversees education and research essential to contributing to these transitions in three main areas.
- Innovative design of agricultural and forestry systems that are sustainable, multifunctional, in line with agroecological principles, and meet needs that are currently undergoing profound changes (low input, zero pesticide systems). These systems must be resilient in the face of global changes, and they must be resource and fossil fuel efficient while simultaneously protecting the environment and biodiversity by reducing greenhouse gases (nitrogen oxides, methane, and CO2), increasing carbon sequestration, or reducing water consumption.
- Environmentally efficient resource management: protecting and recycling resources. This involves creating and developing new systems for managing agricultural inputs and waste by using water efficiently, preserving or restoring the quality of soil, biodiversity, and the air we breathe, and encouraging the recycling of waste produced by human activities. Environmentally efficient resource management can be applied both to sectors involved in the bioeconomy (food and non-food industry, waste, etc.), and in territories where agriculture interacts with other sectors.
- Designing sustainable rural, suburban, and urban landscapes. The transition toward sustainable landscapes raises essential questions about the place of agriculture, natural environments, and forests in local development. Salient examples include the consequences of establishing new relationships between different stakeholders regarding the ways in which production is organized (short supply chains, circular economy, the pairing between plant and animal productions, etc.), or issues associated with the place of green spaces (both productive and not) in urban development.
Four types of engineering correspond to these three major areas, the development and teaching of which the department aims to contribute to and stand out in: territorial engineering, agroecological engineering, forest engineering, and environmental engineering. This diagram summarizes the spirit in which the department’s strategic plan for 2021–2024 was conceived. It illustrates the diversity of subjects taught at SIAFEE, which underpin the four types of engineering in which we wish to train students.
Faculty members in the fields of agronomy, soil sciences, and bioclimate are based in the Paris region, on the Palaiseau campus. They are affiliated with three joint research units (UMRs): SAD-APT (Science for Action and Development – Activities, Products, Territories), Agronomy, and EcoSys (Functional Ecology and Exotoxicology of Agroecosystems). Faculty members specialized in Forestry, Wood Science, and Natural Environments are based in Nancy, affiliated with the SILVA joint research unit; in Kourou, they conduct their research within the EcoFog (Guyana Forest Ecology) joint research unit. Faculty members specialized in water and geographical information sciences are based in Montpellier, where they collaborate with the TETIS, G-EAU, and LISAH joint research units. In the Paris region, one staff member is part of the HYCAR research unit.
In its Parisian division, the department is closely involved in Paris-Saclay university activities, where members are responsible for the AETPF (Agrosciences, Environment, Territories, Landscapes, and Forests) Master’s degree as part of the University’s Biosphera Graduate School (jointly run by a department member).
At its Nancy division, faculty members contribute to the research conducted by the ARBRE (Advanced Research on the Biology of Tree and Forest Ecosystems) Labex and to the Lorraine University of Excellence I-SITE. In Kourou, department members collaborate with the University of Guyana (which involves, in particular, jointly running the Tropimundo international Master’s degree).
Lastly, in Montpellier, the department is closely involved in the work of the THEIA data and services center for continental surfaces and the GEOSUD Equipex project, as well as in the Montpellier Institute for Water and the Environment (IM2E), which is associated the city’s international center for research on water. Local partnerships are influenced by strong relationships with CIRAD, INRAE, IRD, Montpellier SupAgro, and Montpellier University.
The department contributes to two corporate chairs, the “Vinci Paristech Environment Research Lab” and the Veolia “Water for All” chair.
Teaching and Research Departments (UFRs)
- UFR Diagnostic et conception des Itinéraires techniques et des Systèmes de Culture (DISC) : l'agronomie des systèmes de culture,
- UFR Décision, Exploitations, Filières (DEFI) : l’agronomie des territoires et des filières,
- UFR Fonctionnement des Peuplements végétaux (FPV) : l'écophysiologie végétale,
- UFR Biophysico-chimie des Sols, des Eaux et des Déchets (BISED) : l’étude du fonctionnement biophysico-chimique et écologique des sols,
- UFR Dynamiques des milieux et Organisations Spatiales (DMOS) : l’étude de l’organisation spatiale des sols et de la pédogenèse,
- UFR Physique de l’Environnement et Régulation Biologique des Echanges (PERBE) : la physique de l’environnement et de la régulation biologique des échanges,
- UFR Forêt, Arbre et Milieux naturels (FAM) : les sciences forestières,
- UFR Sciences et Ingénierie de l'Eau et des Déchets (SIED),
- UFR Information Géographique pour les Territoires et l’Environnement (IGTE) : les questions du traitement de l’information numérique spatialisée et la data science.
Educational Programs Overseen by the Department
In the first and second years of the engineering curriculum, SIAFEE department members are primarily involved in Fields of study 1 (Sustainable development: production, sectors, and territories) and 3 (Environmental management and engineering), both in the traditional course of study and the apprenticeship program. They make significant contributions to the SVM (Life and Environmental Sciences) and SPT (Sciences for Production and Transformation) course offering in first-year core curriculum classes.In the second year, the department offers several optional course units and projects related to Fields of Study 1 and 3. In the third year of the engineering program, the department coordinates (or jointly coordinates) seven majors: “Performance and Innovation in Technical Systems for Plant Production” (PISTv, in partnership with SVS), “Environmental Engineering: Sustainable Water, Waste, and Development” (IDEA), “Forest Management” (GF, in partnership with SESG); “Natural Resources and Environmental Management” (GMN), “Environmental Engineering of Urban Green Spaces” (IEVU), “Forest Resources and the Lumber Industry” (RFF, in partnership with SESG), and “Evaluation and Management of Toxicological Risks for Ecosystems and Human Health” (METATOX, in partnership with SPAB and SVS).
For Master’s degree programs, the department participates in the AETPF major at Paris-Saclay University (Biosphera Graduate School, CLUES and AAE specializations), and in Lorraine University of Excellence (FAGE specialization); as well as in the “Geomatics” and “Water Sciences” majors at Montpellier University; and the BEE (Biology, Ecology, and Environment) major in Nancy and Kourou (with the Universities of Guyana and of the French Antilles).
Of note is the department’s contribution to international programs: in Kourou, it is a partner of the Tropimundo Joint Master’s Degree (formerly Erasmus Mundus) alongside the MNHN, the Paris École Supérieure de Physique Chimie, the University of Florence, Australia, Malaysia, and Cameroon. In Nancy, the department contributes to the FEN (Forests and their Environment) specialization, with a special commitment to affiliating FEN with the “European Forestry” Erasmus Mundus Master’s degree, in which AgroParisTech is the only French partner.
In Montpellier, SIAFEE is responsible for the “Water and Agriculture” and “Water and Society” programs of the Water Sciences master’s program (with Montpellier University and Montpellier SupAgro), as well as the “Geomatics” specialization for the same major (with Paul Valéry University).
Lastly, as part of continuing education, the department contributes to the course offering in geomatics and territorial project management, fully coordinating the SILAT (Localized Information Technology Systems for Land Use Planning) and Water Management Specialized Master’s Degrees, and participating in teaching the “Water for All” Specialized Master’s Degree. The department also jointly organizes the “Forest, Nature, and Society – International Management” Specialized Master’s degree (in Nancy and Kourou). SIAFEE members also teach courses for the PAPDD (Government Policies and Action for Sustainable Development) Specialized Master’ degree, the basis for training IPEF engineers (Bridges, Waters and Forests Corps of Engineers).