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Virtual soil project

The project

The INRA « Environment and Agronomy » division initiated the « Sol Virtuel » project with the aim to promote the emergence of simulation models coupling the physical, chemical and biological processes occuring in a soil profile and at the interface between the soil and the plants. This requires to gather people specialized in observation and modeling in order to propose couplings between processes as well as numerical representations of these processes.

The project answers two scientific goals.

  • One is to ease the development of models able to forecast the impacts of human activities and climatic changes on :
    • the behaviour of ecosystems and their sustainability
    • the primary gross production
    • the fate of organic and mineral contaminants
    • changes in soil physical, chemical and biological characteristics.
  • The other goal is to be a support for scientific communication and teaching.

The project has also managerial goals :

  • to promote the re-use of developed tools
  • to encourage the share of tools,
  • to ease the communication between thematic fields

In terms of softwares realisations, the goals are to develop a set of softwares allowing :

  • to create, modify all the processes and their related variables
  • to link the processes to create « skeletons » ; a skeleton being a representation of the interactions between the various processes
  • to develop « modules », a module being a re-usable «numerical » representation of a process
  • to assemble the modules using a skeleton to create a model,
  • to run models using dedicated Graphic User Interfaces.

The philosophy is to progressively increase the number of processes and of modules available to represent a process and hence to be able to build models with various degrees of complexity or subtlety in the description of the soil and in the numerical representations of the phenomena.

You will get more details on the platform and its developement as well as some small videos illustrating the concepts in the pages of the site. Perhaps will you be interested in joining the community of users to share your tools and use those already available. Sol Virtuel is not reserved to INRA or French scientists. All willing persons are sincerely invited to join the group of users . You can still e-mail us your remarks, they will be wellcome.