Presentation of Plants and Cropping Systems in Horticulture research unit...

Presentation of Plants and Cropping Systems in Horticulture research unit...


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The PSH Research Unit (Plants and cropping Systems in Horticulture) is located in the heart of the horticultural production zone in South-East France. We develop ecophysiological and agroecological approaches to contribute to the improvement of the quality of fresh fruits and vegetables and to the development of environment friendly cropping systems for the Mediterranean area.

The PSH research unit belongs to the research netwok for Integrated Horticultural Production of the INRA PACA Centre.

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  • Understanding and quantifying the impact of agricultural practices, landscape structure and environment on plant functioning and populations of crop pests and natural enemies.
  • Developing ecophysiological and ecological models for analysing the complexity of the systems studied and evaluating their performance at different scales.
  • Using this knowledge and the models developed to design technical and landscape scenarios appropriate for integrated production systems.

Key issues

  • Generating knowledge and integrating tools supporting the transition to ecologically intensive horticultural systems characterized by lower input levels and high quality production.
  • Facilitating this transition, through collaboration with regional, institutional and private partners.


Our work combines experimental and modelling approaches at the interfaces between agronomy, ecophysiology, genetics, physiology, population and community ecology, chemical ecology and ecotoxicology. Our studies take place at various scales, from individual cells to organs (roots, leaves, fruits) plants, plots and landscapes







1/ Study of horticultural practices in a peach orchard

2/ Study of pest control by natural ennemies : an earwig feeding on a colony of aphid

3/ Study of the effects of climate and fertirigation on tomato production under glasshouse.

Experimental facilities and analytical platforms        

The unit possesses diversified experimental facilities : orchards, greenhouses, growth chambers, climatically controlled areas and an insectarium.

It has developed an unique system for the continuous monitoring of nitrogen supply and consumption in plants (Totomatix).

It also has a technical platform for the analysis of plant composition (fruits, leaves, stems, roots, etc.) and shares access to a molecular biology platform.