AMAP conducts research on plants and vegetation at disciplinary interfaces (Life and Earth Sciences, Mathematics, Computer Sciences, Physics), at different scales (from cell to landscape) and in various research fields (Plant Biology, Agronomy, Ecology, Systematics, Palaeobotany). This interdisciplinary culture has been built over several decades. It originates with the creation by Philippe de Reffye of the Plant Architecture Modelling program in the 1980s at CIRAD-GERDAT. It was strengthened with the association of INRA (the French National Research Institute in Agronomy) in 1999 and later with the hosting of teams of botanists, ecologists and paleobotanists from CNRS (the French National Center for Scientific Research), IRD (the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development) and the University of Montpellier in the early 2000s. This expanded partnership formed the basis for the creation of the Joint Research Unit (UMR - Unité Mixte de Recherche) in 2001, a basis that will be strengthened with the association of the IRD herbaria of Nouméa and Cayenne in 2009. The lab has now 5 supervisory bodies (CIRAD, CNRS, INRAE, IRD, University of Montpellier). The cohabitation in the same place and over a long period of time of multiple disciplines and research fields has made it possible to bring out innovative and structuring, even transdisciplinary approaches. More importantly, this diversity has forged a strong collective identity that continues to this day.
The unit is hosted by CIRAD in two nearby buildings (PS1 and PS2) at the Parc Scientifique Agropolis, boulevard de la Lironde at Montferrier-sur-Lez, over a total area of 1274 m2. The two herbaria, whose scientific management responsibility has been entrusted to AMAP, are secondary sites of the unit, located on the IRD campuses of Nouméa in New Caledonia and Cayenne in French Guiana.