Research Director , INRAE


Adress : UMR FARE, 2 esplanade Roland-Garros, 51100 Reims, France
Phone : +33 (0)3 26 77 35 83
Fax : +33 (0)3 26 77 35 99
Mail : sylvie.recous[at]

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Professional employment

Since 2008        Research scientist (senior), INRAE, UMR FARE, Reims 

Since 2019        Vice-chairman of AGROTRANSFERT - Ressources et Territoires$

Since 2017        Editor-in-chief, Agronomy for Sustainable Development.

Since 2020        Full member of the French Academy of Agriculture, section 5  

2011-2019        Coordination of the French Technological Network « Fertilization and Environment »  

1999-2000        Invited visiting scientist at CSIRO, Division Plant Industry, Perth (Australie)

1988-2007        Research scientist junior, INRA Laon - Head of the laboratory (2002-2007)


  • 1999 - H.D.R., University Lyon I
  • 1984 -1988- PhD in Microbial Ecology, University Lyon I
  • 1982 - D.E.A. (MSC) in Microbial ecology of soils, University Lyon I
  • 1974-1978 - BsC Plant biology and Ecology, University Aix-Marseille I

Skills and research interests

Research on carbon nitrogen and sulfur cycles in the soil. Factors of decomposition of organic matter, particularly plant litters. Effects of agricultural practices on the decomposition functions, and the M.I.T (gross N mineralization-immobilization turnover, nitrification), and relations with the soil microbial communities. Stable isotope tracing (13C and 15N). Modeling decomposition.

Nitrogen dynamics in cropped soils and N fertilization of crops. Participation in the development of decision support tools for N management in cropped soils.

Present research focus on SOIL at UMR FARE

Our research concerns the breakdown (biodegradation) of lignocellulosic biomasses in soils and at the soil surface (mulches), i.e. crop residues, aerial plant litter (leaves, stems) and underground litters (root systems) and their effects on the biogeochemical cycles in soils. We seek to improve understanding of the determinants of decomposition, the relationship between the chemical and physical quality (or functional traits) of crop residues recycled into the soil, the functional communities involved in the carbon, nitrogen and sulfur cycles and their effects on dynamic of C, N and S on the short and medium terms, the interactions between these cycles. These objectives are pursued on a variety of cropping systems and types of soil, measuring gross and net fluxes of C and N, mineralization and microbial assimilation, especially using tracers 15N and 13C, and studying enzymatic and microbial dynamics. We use and develop mathematical models of decomposition, of variable complexity according to objectives. The functions associated with the biotransformation of organic matter in soils are crucial for ecosystem services that soils provide in agroecosystems: nutrition and plant biomass production, regulation and emissions of greenhouse gases and carbon sequestration, soil biodiversity.

We particularly specialize in chemical and physical characterization of plant residues, and decomposition studies in controlled (incubation) and natural conditions (litterbags and microplots in fields). 

We aim to improving the management of crop residues and plant litter in agro-ecosystems for soil fertility, favor C sequestration and optimize the recycling of mineral nutrients (especially nitrogen). We participate in the activities of COMIFER, of the RMT Fertilisation & Environnement.

See also Gwenaëlle Lashermes , Hugues Clivot, Guillaume Humbert, scientists in the same lab for further information about our activities.

Links with ongoing European projects: CN-MIP (FACCE-JPI), ResidueGas (ERA GAS)

Recent refereed publications (since 2014)


Sun F., Coulibaly SFM, Cheviron N, Mougin C, Hedde M, Maron P-A, Recous S, Trap J, Villenave C, Chauvat M . The multi-year effect of different agroecological practices on soil nematodes and soil respiration. Plant and Soil 2023, DOI

Sándor R*, Ehrhardt F, Grace P, Recous S, Smith P, Snow V, Soussana J-F, Basso B, Bhatia A, Brilli L, Doltra J, Dorich CD, Doro L, Fitton N, Grant B, Harrison MT, Skiba U, Kirschbaum MUF, Klumpp K, Laville P, Léonard J, Martin R, Massad RS, Moore AD, Myrgiotis V, Pattey E, Rolinski S, Sharp J, Smith W, Wu L, Zhang Q Bellocchi G. Residual correlation and ensemble modelling to improve crop and grassland models. Environmental Modelling & Software 2023, 161, 105625. DOI

Albanito F, McBey D, Harrison M, Smith P, Ehrhardt F, Bhatia A, Bellocchi G, Brilli L, Carozzi M,  Christie K, Doltra J, Dorich C, Doro L, Grace P, Grant B, Léonard J, Liebig M, Ludemann C, Martin R,  Meier E, Meyer R, De Antoni Migliorati M, Myrgiotis V, Recous S, Sándor R, Snow V, Soussana J-F, Smith W.N., and Fitton N. (2022) How Modelers Model: the Overlooked Social and Human Dimensions in Model Intercomparison Studies.  Environmental Science and Technology 2022, DOI 

Angers D, Arrouays D, Cardinael R, Chenu C, Corbeels M, Demenois J, Farrell M, Martin M, Minasny B, Recous S, Six J. A well-established fact: rapid mineralization of organic inputs is an important factor for soil carbon sequestration. European Journal of Soil Science 2022,  e13242. DOI 

Abalos D*, Recous S, Butterbach-Bahl K, De Notaris C, Rittl T.F., Topp C.F.E., Petersen SO, Hansen S, Bleken MA, Rees RM, Olesen JE. A review and meta-analysis of mitigation measures for nitrous oxide emissions from crop residues. Science of The Total Environment 2022, 154388. DOI,

Abalos D*, Rittl TF, Recous SThiébeau P, Topp CFE, van Groenigen KJ, Butterbach-Bahl K, Thorman RE, Smith KE, Ahuja I, Olesen JE, Bleken MA, Rees RM, Hansen S. Predicting field N2O emissions from crop residues based on their biochemical composition: A meta-analytical approach. Science of The Total Environment 2022, 812, 152532. DOI

Cannavo P*, Recous S, Valé M, Bresch S, Paillat L, Benbrahim M, Guénon R. Organic Fertilization of Growing Media: Response of N Mineralization to Temperature and Moisture. Horticulturae. 2022; 8(2):152. DOI 

Lashermes G*, Recous S, Alavoine G, Janz B, Butterbach-Bahl K, Ernfors M, Laville P. N2O emissions from decomposing crop residues are strongly linked to their initial soluble fraction and early C mineralization. Science of The Total Environment, 2021, 150883. DOI 

Chaves B., Redin M., Giacomini S.J., Schmatz R., Léonard J., Ferchaud F., Recous, S. (2021) The combination of residue quality, residue placement and soil mineral N content drives C and N dynamics by modifying N availability to microbial decomposers, Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 2021, 108434, DOI 

Thiébeau P, Jensen LS, Ferchaud F, Recous S (2021) Dataset of biomass and chemical quality of crop residues from European areas, Data in Brief, 37, 107227, DOI. Raw data available on open INRAE repository Data INRAE

Thiébeau P, Girardin C, Recous S. (2021) Water interception and release of soluble carbon by mulches of plant residues under contrasting rain intensities. Soil and Tillage Research, 2021, 208, 104882. DOIRaw data available on open INRAE repository Data Inrae

Farina R., Sándor R., Abdalla M., Álvaro‐Fuentes J., Bechini L., Bolinder M.A., Brilli L., Chenu C., Clivot H., De Antoni Migliorati M., Di Bene C., Dorich C.D., Ehrhardt F., Ferchaud F., Fitton N., Francaviglia R., Franko U., Giltrap D.L., Grant B.B., Guenet, B., Harrison M.T., Kirschbaum M.U.F., Kuka K., Kulmala L., Liski J., McGrath M.J., Meier E., Menichetti L., Moyano F., Nendel C., Recous S., Reibold N., Shepherd A., Smith W.N., Smith P., Soussana J.F., Stella T., Taghizadeh‐Toosi A., Tsutskikh E., Bellocchi G., 2021. Ensemble modelling, uncertainty and robust predictions of organic carbon in long-term bare-fallow soils. Global Change Biology, 27, 904-928. DOI 

Lashermes, G., Bleuze, L., Recous, S., Voinot, R., Lafolie, F., Chabbert, B. (2020) Multiscale modeling of microbial degradation of outer tissues of fiber-crop stems during the dew retting process. Bioresource Technology, 123558. DOI

Raphael, L., Recous, S., Ozier-Lafontaine, H., Sierra, J. (2020) Fate of a 15N-labeled Urea Pulse in Heavily Fertilized Banana Crops. Agronomy 2020, 10, 666. DOI

Sándor, R., Ehrhardt, F., Grace, P., Recous, S., Smith, P., Snow, V., Soussana, J.-F. et al. (2020) Ensemble modelling of carbon fluxes in grasslands and croplands, Field Crops Research, 252, 107791. DOI

Schmatz, R., Recous, S. Weiler, D., Pilecco, G., Schu, A., Giovelli, R.L., Giacomini, S.J. (2020) How the mass and quality of wheat and vetch mulches affect drivers of soil N2O emissions. Geoderma DOI

Bleuze, L., Chabbert, B., Lashermes, G, Recous, S. (2020) Hemp harvest time impacts on the dynamics of microbial colonization and hemp stems degradation during dew retting. Industrial Crops and Products, 145, 112122. DOI

Kyulavski V., Recous S., Thuries L., Paillat J-M., Garnier P. (2019) Investigating interactions between sugarcane straw and organic fertilizers recycled together in a soil using modelling of C and N mineralization. European Journal of Soil Science, DOI

Pinheiro P.L., Recous S., Dietrich G., Weiler D.A., Schu A.L., Bazzo H.L.S., Giacomini S.J. (2019) N2O emission increases with mulch mass in a fertilized sugarcane cropping system. Biology and Fertility of Soils,55, 511–523 DOI

Dietrich G., Recous S., Pinheiro P.L., Weiler D.A., Schu A.L., Rambo M.L.R., Giacomini S.J. (2019) Gradient of decomposition in sugarcane mulches of various thicknesses. Soil and Tillage Research, 192, 66-75. DOI

Lemaire G., Carvalho P., Kronberg S., Recous S. editeurs (2018) Agro-ecosystem Diversity: Reconciling Contemporary Agriculture and Environment Quality. Elsevier. Série Sustainable farming systems. ISBN: 9780128110508, DOI 

Recous S., Lashermes G., Bertrand I., Duru M., Pellerin S. (2018). C-N-P decoupling processes linked to arable cropping management systems in relation with intensification of production.  In: Agro-ecosystem Diversity: Reconciling Contemporary Agriculture and Environment Quality, Gilles Lemaire, Paulo Carvalho, Scott Kronberg & Sylvie Recous eds., Elsevier. Chapitre 3, pp 35-53. DOI 

Weiler DA, Giacomini SJ, Recous S, Bastos LM, Pilecco GE, Dietrich G, Aita C. (2018) Trade-off between C and N recycling and N2O emissions of soils with summer cover crops in subtropical agrosystems. Plant and Soil 433, 213-225. DOI

Sauvadet M, Lashermes G, Alavoine G, Recous S, Chauvat M, Maron PA, Bertrand I (2018). High carbon use efficiency and low priming effect promote soil C stabilization under reduced tillage. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 64–73. DOI

Sándor R, Ehrhardt F, Brilli L, Carozzi M, Recous S, Smith P, Snow V, Soussana J-F, Dorich CD, Fuchs K, Fitton N, Gongadze K, Klumpp K, Liebig M, Martin R, Merbold L, Newton PCD, Rees RM, Rolinski S and Bellocchi G (2018). The use of biogeochemical models to evaluate mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions from managed grasslands. Science of The Total Environment 642, 292-306. DOI

Pinheiro PL, Recous S, Dietrich G, Weiler DA, Giovelli RL, Mezzalira AP, Giacomini SJ (2018). Straw removal reduces the mulch physical barrier and ammonia volatilization after urea application in sugarcane. Atmospheric Environment 194, 179-187. DOI

Ehrhardt F, Soussana J-F*, Bellocchi G, Grace P, McAuliffe R, Recous S, Sándor R, Smith P, Snow V, de Antoni Migliorati M, Basso B, Bhatia A, Brilli L, Doltra J, Dorich CD, Doro L, Fitton N, Giacomini SJ, Grant B, Harrison MT, Jones SK, Kirschbaum MUF, Klumpp K, Laville P, Léonard J, Liebig M, Lieffering M, Martin R, Massad RS, Meier E, Merbold L, Moore AD, Myrgiotis V, Newton P, Pattey E, Rolinski S, Sharp J, Smith WN, Wu L, Zhang Q. (2018) Assessing uncertainties in crop and pasture ensemble model simulations of productivity and N2O emissions. Global Change Biology 24, e603-e616. DOI

Bleuze L, Lashermes G, Alavoine G, Recous S, Chabbert B. (2018) Tracking the dynamics of hemp dew retting under controlled environmental conditions. Industrial Crops and Products 123, 55-63. DOI

Aslam S, Iqbal A, Lafolie F, Recous S, Benoit P, Garnier P. (2018) Mulch of plant residues at the soil surface impact the leaching and persistence of pesticides: A modelling study from soil columns. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, 214, 54-64. DOI

Schmatz R, Recous S, Aita C, Tahir MM, Schu AL, Chaves B, Giacomini SJ. (2017) Crop residue quality and soil type influence the priming effect but not the fate of crop residue C. Plant and Soil 2017, 414, 229-245. DOI

Recous S, Lashermes G, Bertrand I (2017). Couplages et contrôles des cycles du carbone et de l’azote par les communautés microbiennes dans les sols cultivés. Les sols et la vie souterraine: Des enjeux majeurs en agroécologie„ Editions Quae, 328 p., 2017, Synthèses (Quae), 978-2-7592-2651-1. DOI

Pellerin S, Bamière L, Angers D, Béline F, Benoit M, Butault J-P, Chenu C, Colnenne-David C, De Cara S, Delame N, Doreau M, Dupraz P, Faverdin P, Garcia-Launay F, Hassouna M, Hénault C, Jeuffroy M-H, Klumpp K, Metay A, Moran D, Recous S, Samson E, Savini I, Pardon L, Chemineau P. (2017) Identifying cost-competitive greenhouse gas mitigation potential of French agriculture. Environmental Science & Policy 2017, 77, 130-139.  DOI

Machet JM, Dubrulle P, Damay N, Duval R, Julien JL, Recous S. (2017) A dynamic decision-making tool for calculating the optimal rates of N application for 40 annual crops while minimising the residual level of mineral N. Agronomy 2017, 7, 73. DOI

Dietrich G, Sauvadet M, Recous S, Redin M Pfeifer IC, Garlet CM, H Bazzo, Giacomini SJ. (2017) Sugarcane mulch C and N dynamics during decomposition under different rates of trash removal. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 2017, 243, 23–131. DOI

Brilli L, Bechini L, Bindi M, Carozzi M, Cavalli D, Conant R, Dorich C, Doro L, Ehrhardt F, Farina R, Ferrise F, Fitton N, Francaviglia R, Grace P, Locola I, Klumpp K, Léonard J, Martin R, Massad RS, Recous S, Seddaiu G, Sharp J, Smith P, Smith W, Soussana JF, Bellocchi G. (2017) Review and analysis of strengths and weaknesses of agro-ecosystem models for simulating C and N fluxes. Science of The Total Environment, 598, 445–470. DOI

Lashermes, G., A.Gainvors-Claisse, S. Recous and I. Bertrand (2016). Enzymatic strategies and carbon use efficiency of a litter-decomposing fungus grown on maize leaves, stems, and roots. Frontiers in Microbiology, 7: 1315. DOI

Coudrain, V., M. Hedde, M. Chauvat, PA. Maron, E. Bourgeois, B. Mary, J. Léonard, F. Ekelund, C. Villenave and S. Recous (2016). Temporal differentiation of soil communities in response to arable crop management strategies. Agriculture Ecosystem and Environment 225: 12-21.

Tahir, M. M., Recous, S., Aita, C., Schmatz, R., Pilecco, G. E., Giacomini, S. J. (2016). In situ roots decompose faster than shoots left on the soil surface under subtropical no-till conditions. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 52 (6), 853-865. DOI : 10.1007/s00374-016-1125-5

Attard, E., X. Le Roux, X. Charrier, O. Delfosse, N. Guillaumaud, G.Lemaire and S. Recous. (2016) Delayed and asymmetric responses of soil C pools and N fluxes to grassland/cropland conversions. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 97: 31-39.

Iqbal A., Aslam S., Alavoine G., Benoit P., Garnier P., Recous S. (2015) Rain regime and soil type affect the C and N dynamics in soil columns that are covered with mixed-species mulches. Plant and Soil 393:319–334. DOI 10.1007/s11104-015-2501-x

Redin M., Recous S., Aita C., Dietrich G., Skolaude A.C., Ludke W.H., Schmatz R. Giacomini S.J. (2014) How the chemical composition and heterogeneity of crop residue mixtures decomposing at the soil surface affects C and N mineralization. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 78, 65-75.

Redin M., Guénon R., Recous S., Schmatz R., de Freitas L.L., Aita C., Giacomini S.J. (2014) Carbon mineralization in soil of roots from twenty crop species, as affected by their chemical composition and botanical family. Plant and Soil, 378, 205-214. 

Aslam S., Iqbal A., Deschamps M., Recous S., Garnier P., Benoit P. (2014) Effect of rainfall regimes and mulch decomposition on the dissipation and leaching of S-metolachlor and glyphosate: a soil column experiment. Pest Management Science, 71, 278-291, DOI 10.1002/ps.3803

Moorhead D., Lashermes G., Recous S., Bertrand I. (2014) Interacting microbe and litter quality controls on litter decomposition: A modeling analysis. PLOS ONE 9, 9,e108769. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0108769

Ph.D. supervision  (since 2013)

A. Iqbal (2013). Rôle des mulchs de résidus végétaux dans les fonctions écologiques attendues des systèmes de culture en agriculture de conservation. Université de Reims-Champagne Ardenne.

M. Redin (2014) Produçao de biomassa, composiçao quimica et decomposiçao de residuos culturais da parte aerea e raizes no solo. Tese de Doutorado, UFSM, Santa Maria, Brésil

M.M. Tahir (2015) Destino de carbono de raizes e parte aerea de culturas de inverno enriquecidas com 13C em solo sob plantio direto. UFSM, Santa Maria, Brésil

L. Bleuze (2019)  Rouissage au sol du chanvre industriel (Cannabis sativa L.). Dynamique sous environnement contrôlé et modélisation. Université de reims Champagne-Ardenne, Reims, France

R. Schmatz (2019).  Processes involved in the degradation of crop residues mulches as affected by their physical characteristics and chemical composition. UFSM, Santa Maria, Brésil

N. Lafouge (on-going) Airborne imaging and hyperspectral image processing for the characterization of crop residues on soils. URCA, Collaboration CReSTIC Reims

B. Chaves (on-going) Simulation of the degradation of plant residue mulch using the STICS model. These de Doutorado, UFSM Santa Maria, Brésil

Other duties

2017 - on-going:  Member of the Program Committee  PERSYST division of CIRAD (Performances des Systèmes de production et de transformation tropicaux)

2017- on-going:  Chair of the Platform's Scientific Steering Committee AnaEE Biochem-Env, INRA

2017- on-going : Member of the scientific board RITTMO Agroenvironnement 

2010 - 2017        Associate editor journal Soil Research

1997-2005          Field editor journal Plant and Soil 

Modification date : 16 May 2023 | Publication date : 01 August 2013 | Redactor : S. RECOUS