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National Research Council

Research Institute on Terrestrial Ecosystems

The IRET pertains to the CNR Department of "Earth System Science and Technology for the Environment".
The Research Institute on Terrestrial Ecosystems is headquartered in Porano (TR), housed in the historical building of the park of Villa Paolina and includes three Organizational Units Support:

  • Headquarter of Porano (TR), already Institute for Agroforestry;
  • Unit of Firenze (FI);
  • Unit of Montelibretti (Rome), already Institute of Biochemistry and Ecophysiology within the Research Area of Rome 1;
  • Unit of (NA), already Institute for Territory Planning and Management within the Research Area of Via Castellino;
  • Unit of Pisa (PI);
  • Unit of Sassari (SS);
  • Unit of Lecce (LE).

The IRET scientific mission, according to the memorandum of association, is to carry out across its Organization Units the activities of basic and applied research on the following thematic:

  • Interactions between plants and the environment;
  • Anthropogenic effects on the ecological balance;
  • Biological and evolutionary processes and mechanisms in plants in relation to the environment;
  • Ecophysiological mechanisms and productivity of agricultural and forest plants.

The IBAF headquarters in Porano occupies a total area of about 1000 square meters, of which 270 square meters are occupied by several laboratories and the remaining space by administration, library, conference hall, representation and technical rooms. The laboratories are almost all organized according to the instrumental and analytical needs of researches within the structured contract organization or "commesse" of CNR research network.

The CNR-IRET of Florence carries out basic and applied research on the structure and functioning of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, with a special focus on the effects of global changes and impacts induced by anthropic pressures. The activities aim at expanding and disseminating scientific knowledge about terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and providing support to the authorities in charge for their protection and recovery.

The research activities at the Naples Division are aimed to increase the knowledge on the stresses generated by climate change, land use, pollution, and urbanization on biodiversity (microbial, plant and animal). The impact of anthropic pollution on human health is analyzed studying the epigenetic mechanisms and remote communication systems (exosomes), potentially involved in the body response to pollutants exposure.

The section of Montelibretti is located in the Research Area of Rome1-Montelibretti of CNR ( and consists of a main building of about 1000 sq.m., divided into offices and laboratories, and of the Mycology Lab that consists of a building of 120 sq.m., hosting the International Bank of Edible Saprophytic Fungi and of two greenhouses, large 64 sq.m. each, equipped with a conditioning system, besides other technical offices.

The IRET-Pisa research activities focus on understanding the soil-plant system and its ecosystem services in the frame of the global change and the dramatic increase of urban areas. This research provides the scientific knowledge necessary to identify the best strategies for i) sustainable management of the environmental resources, ii) mitigation of the anthropic impacts

The IRET section in Sardinia is located in the Research Area of Sassari. The activity is mainly centred on entomology by basic and applicative researches, the first indispensable to the second ones to face and solve specific practical problems.

The Research Unit (URT) is located at the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies at the University of Salento, Lecce. The URT was created in order to give continuity and strengthen the collaboration between the Research Institute on Terrestrial Ecosystems (IRET) and the University of Salento, to conduct activities within the framework of LifeWatch ERIC, the European research infrastructure for biodiversity and ecosystem research.