CIAG — A forest an wood-based economy?

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Thursday, 8 December 2016
Faculté des Sciences et Technologies
Amphithéatre 8

The Center for Agronomic Innovation (Carrefour de l’Innovation Agronomique – CIAg) has gained recognition for offering research institutions (INRA and other research and development centers geared toward innovation) a valued platform for disseminating new projects and research results. Through a series of topic-specific forum discussions structured to foster productive and informative exchanges between researchers and actors in private sector development, the CIAg has become an important contributor at the crossroads of socio-economic changes currently taking place in industry and the French territories.

INRA has organized an upcoming CIAg forum dedicated to the emergence of a bio-based economy for forest and wood. This event will take place on December 8, 2016 at the Faculty of Science in Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy. This CIAg forum will involve AgroParisTech Nancy and the University of Lorraine, with support from LabEx ARBRE.

While France is at the forefront in Europe in terms of wood production, trends in net trade balance have shown a decades long chronic deficit (currently close to 6 billion euros per year). In this context, the investment initiative Research Innovation 2025 proposes a series of innovation actions for the forest-wood industry which take into account not only new uses for wood and the role of ecosystem services, but also sets out a new vision towards developing research-innovation relations in this sector

In particular, newly developed concepts focused on the bioeconomy, involving the circular economy, and accounting for cascading value of products, by-products and non-linear interactions between sector actors, together offer a comprehensive analytical framework that could potentially breathe new life into the industry. The CIAg will aim to revisit and illustrate innovation issues related to forest resource management and wood uses.

Registration is free and is open through October.
For more information..


ARBRE Conference — Martin Drechsler

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“Ecological economic modeling for biodiversity conservation”

Martin Drechsler — Research fellow at the Institute of Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Leipzig

Wednesday, 5 October 2016
13h30 — main conference room
INRA Champenoux

LabEx ARBRE and the LEF joint research unit (Forest Economics Laboratory) are pleased to announce the upcoming conference by Martin Drechsler, a research fellow at the Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ in Leipzig. The title of this conference is “Ecological economic modeling for biodiversity conservation”. Dr. Drechsler will provide an overview of the potential uses and application of integrated ecological-economic modeling and will concentrate on four principal axes: (1) analyzing spatial and temporal dynamics within a specific territory with a view to issuing tradable permits promoting biodiversity conservation, (2) developing a formula for assessing the viability of a population in the context of global changes, (3) supporting collaborative management of mobile resources, and (4) designing an online tool to support the implementation process for agri-environment management measures (ECOPAY : Agri-environment measures provide payments to farmers who subscribe, on a voluntary basis, to environmental commitments related to the preservation of the environment and maintaining the countryside).

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Save the date : the LabEx ARBRE annual conference on 18 October 2016

LabEx ARBRE will hold is annual conference this year on 18 October 2016. Special focus will be given to research results from numerous multidisciplinary projects selected from the annual ARBRE call for proposals, those from knowledge-transfer projects funded within the framework of the 2015 ARBRE-RMT AFORCE joint call for proposals, recently launched actions connected to the upcoming merger between the BEF and LIF labs and to scientific mediation projects.

For the detailed meeting agenda please click here :Colloque annuel ARBRE 2016_ programme final

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ARBRE Conference — Christine Farcy

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“Social representations of the forest: paradoxes and challenges”

Christine Farcy— Research fellow and invited lecturer at the University of Louvain (Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium)

Social representations are organized sets of information, opinions, attitudes and beliefs about a given object, in this case the forest, constituting a common sense knowledge shared by members of a society. They are formed from experiences but also from knowledge and thought patterns received and transmitted by tradition, education and social communication. Barometers of perceptions by societies, they are a particularly useful tool in the situations of social changes such as that currently being and that sees forestry subject to powerful drivers of change (urbanization, tertiarization and globalization). After recalling the conditions and processes involved in the emergence of social representations, we will present the results of recent studies, analyze the paradoxes highlighted and discuss the challenges facing forester and more generally forestry.

Friday, 30 September at 13h30 in the main conference room at INRA Champenoux


EIFFEL — An experimental forest in Nancy

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Experimental Initiative for the Future of Forest Ecosystems in Lorraine

EIFFEL is an incentive research project launched with support from the LabEx ARBRE 2015 call for proposals. The EIFFEL 3-hectaire experimental forest planted on site at the Jean-Marie Pelt Botanical Garden in Nancy will serve as a valuable tool for studying the effects of climate change on Lorraine.

The current context of global climate change has led to new generation of questions focused on the future of forests. Climate being the most influential factor affecting the distribution of forest biomes and tree species, bioclimatic zones and forest types are expected to change in response to higher temperatures and more frequent drought scenarios. This will invariably call for new adaptation strategies to safeguard ecosystem services and maintain wood and timber production.

EIFFEL is a 3-hectare experimental forest planted on site at the Jardin Botanique Jean-Marie Pelt (the Jean-Marie Pelt botanical gardens) for the purpose of studying how forest species will adapt to climate changes in Lorraine. This forest will be divided into three sections populated by (i) a mix of species representative of forests in the Lorraine region, (ii) assemblages of thermophilic trees species (which thrive at higher temperatures) also currently found in Lorraine, and (iii) species native to the Mediterranean region which require higher temperatures and are more tolerant to drought conditions.

Follojardin botaniquewing an initial growth phase of several years, the EIFFEL forest will be a valuable tool for studying the effects of climate change on Lorraine forests’ structure and functioning. The EIFFEL project is long-term and ambitious in scope. It aims to implement a dual purpose infrastructure for research and education for future generations of students and researchers from Lorraine and around the world, while providing the public visiting the botanical gardens and the University of Lorraine with unique access to ongoing research.


For more information, read the  Projet EIFFEL Presentation

Scientific supervisor : Daniel Epron
Technical and financial project manager : Maude Antoine



Research at the heart of Europe

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NFZ.forestnet is a European research and higher education network which gathers French, German and Swiss institutions conducting research in forestry, forest ecosystems and forest-related fields. Its aim is to create and develop collaborative research and educational projects. The network currently includes the University of Freiburg, the Forest Research Institute of Baden-Württemberg (FVA), the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL), the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ), the National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), AgroParisTech and the University of Lorraine.

Founded in 2006, the NFZ network is celebrating its 10 years this year! To mark the occasion, several new actions have recently been proposed and a renewed framework agreement was signed on September 2, 2016 at the University of Freiburg.

Representatives of the different partner institutions gathered for this event which included a historical look at NFZ with presentations of the networks flagship projects, highlights of European and international collaborative projects developed through the network, and a forward look at challenges expected for the near future. Among the networks numerous collaborative initiatives, two research projects in particular have garnered attention recently: ‘BlackSecret‘ focused on mycorrhizal fungi, and ‘Interdrought‘ on severe drought scenarios – both lead through cooperation between INRA, WSL and LabEx ARBRE.


The signbioforing ceremony was held at the end of this year’s NFZ 2016 Summer School on “Bioeconomy – a challenge for European forestry and the bio-based sector” (BioFor). This unique week-long interdisciplinary and international program ended with PhD students presenting their work on all aspects of forest sciences and fields closely related to bioeconomy (from social sciences to natural sciences, material, wood and engineering). The students’ innovative style combining role-playing, criticism, controversy and humor made this event all the more memorable. Another example of the quality of exchanges taking place within the NFZ network.


Symbiotic fungus helps plants to withstand drought

champignon symbiotiqueTo understand the beneficial effect of ectomycorrhizal symbiosis on the resilience of trees to drought stress, an international consortium, led by INRA and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL), sequenced the genome of the root symbiont Cenococcum geophilum and characterized its gene expression in symbiotic roots upon high drought stress.

Scientists describe how comparative analysis of 60 fungal genomes allowed them to track the evolution of this mutualistic fungus, the most abundant symbiont found on forest trees. The reported findings provide a better understanding on how trees and fungi developed symbiotic relationships, and how the mutualistic association provides trees with beneficial traits for adaptation to climate change, such as drought stress. The consortium published these results in Nature Communications on 7 September 2016.

Ectomycorrhizal fungi include some of the most conspicuous forest mushrooms, including the iconic Fly Agaric, Golden Chanterelle and King Bolete and also the hidden delicacies, the truffles. The fungal lineages containing mycorrhizal species are separated by tens or hundreds of millions of years, but their symbiosis with trees share remarkable morphological and metabolic similarities. The symbiotic association between the roots of forest trees and ectomycorrhizal fungi is a universal rule; it is essential for the establishment and sustainability of forests, as well as their productivity.

The genome of the most common symbiotic forest fungus is decoded!

The ascomycete Cenococcum geophilum is the most common and globally abundant symbiotic fungus on tree roots in the arctic, temperate and subtropical zones, and particularly in extreme environments. The mycorrhizal root tips are highly resistant to desiccation and are strikingly abundant during soil drought conditions when other mycorrhizal species decline, suggesting an important role in drought resistance and resilience of host trees.

A team led by INRA and WSL and including researchers from the Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute and other academic partners characterized the complete genome of Cenococcum geophilum. They identified the genes and their expression products, molecules at the origin of proteins. Their analysis revealed several surprising details. The research team found that two of the three most highly induced Cenococcum genes in symbiosis are coding for water channels (aquaporins). This dramatic induction of water channel genes is fine-tuned under drought conditions and they likely play a key role in drought adaptation of host plants. The fungus genome also encodes a large set of genes to communicate with the host plant via signaling proteins, including small secreted effectors highly expressed upon symbiosis.

Cenococcum has lost hundreds of genes as a result of its intimate and secular alliance with trees. For example, it lacks most of the genes required for breaking down plant cell walls, a critical ability for free-living saprotrophic fungi that feed on dead organic matter in forest soils. The ectomycorrhizal symbiont has therefore become highly reliant upon the availability of a continuous flux of photoassimilates from its host plant. Interestingly, these genomic adaptations to the mycorrhizal lifestyle are shared with ectomycorrhizal basidiomycetes indicating a striking convergent evolution in fungal lineages separated by several 100 million years of evolution. By combining genome sequences with rigorous physiological and ecological studies, we are entering a time where linking the presence, composition and abundance of soil mycorrhizal communities with important soil processes and forest productivity at an ecosystem scale is possible. This should facilitate the identification of drought-adapted Cenococcum geophilum strains, which can be used to efficiently support their host trees threatened by the forecasted increase in drought periods in many parts of the world.


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LabEx ARBRE — PhD & Postdoc Day

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The LabEx ARBRE PhD & Postdoc day will be held this year on Monday, October 17

This annual event is designed to highlight the work of young and upcoming researchers currently working in the four LabEx ARBRE thematic areas — Integrative Biology, Functional Ecology, Wood Material and Forest Economy / Ecosystem Services. Organized by the PhD and postdoctoral students themselves, participants working in different disciplines and research areas will have a chance to share the focus and dynamics of their own projects and to learn about projects happening in other labs via a series of presentations, discussions, and a scientific poster exhibit.

This year’s organizing team

  • Océane Nicolitch (PhD Student, UMR 1136 IAM + UR 1138 BEF)
  • Remi Wortemann (Postdoc, UMR 1137 EEF)
  • Maira Pereira (Postdoc, UMR 1136 IAM)
  • Julien Sainte-Marie (Postdoc, UR 1138 BEF)
  • Van Tho Nguyen (PhD Student, UMR 1092 LERFOB)
  • Nicolas Valette (PhD Student, UMR 1136 IAM)

About registration

The deadline to register for all participants (including visitors) is Friday, September 16. The deadline to submit abstracts is Friday, September 23. All abstracts should be written in English (maximum 300 words). A number of participants will be selected to give oral presentations (15 minute presentation + 5 minutes for questions). Other participants will present a poster. If you are selected to present a scientific poster, please plan for a shorter presentation of 3 minutes.

As a reminder, for all PhD students and postdocs supported by LabEx ARBRE, registration is mandatory. PhD students and postdocs working with LabEx partner labs / institutions are welcome and highly encouraged to participate as well. The selected presentations and the full conference program will be made available at the beginning of October.

Follow this link to register : Registration Form
For additional information please contact Océane Nicolitch or Remi Wortemann

Appel à projets 2017

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L’appel à projets 2017 a pour objectif de soutenir des projets originaux en accord avec les quatre actions thématiques d’ARBRE, se situant sur des fronts de science ou présentant un potentiel de valorisation important. Une attention particulière sera portée aux projets venant conforter l’ouverture à l’international du LABEX ainsi qu’aux projets montrant une ouverture vers la R&D en accord avec les recommandations du plan Recherche et Innovation 2025 de la filière Forêt-Bois.

Un objectif prioritaire d’ARBRE est également de promouvoir le couplage entre recherche et formation. Les actions de formation et de médiation scientifique mobilisant les activités des équipes du LabEx sont donc aussi fortement encouragées.

Date limite de dépôts des projets : 3 octobre 2016
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En savoir plus

ARBRE Publication — PNAS


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Unexpected origins of photosynthesis

The conversion of light solar energy into chemical energy, a process named photosynthesis, is one of the most important biological reactions on earth. An international team of researchers from the Université de Lorraine and INRA, together with the Universities of Freiburg (Germany) UPMC (France) and the University of California at Berkeley (United States), has obtained evidence of unexpected origins of photosynthesis. Using the moss Physcomitrella patens as an experimental model, the researchers have shown that throughout their evolution, organisms belonging to two different biological domains have contributed to the elaboration of modern photosynthetic organisms able to fix CO2. This result, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), marks the completion of research initiated more than forty years ago.

Oxygenic photosynthesis occurs in land plants, algae and some photosynthetic bacteria called cyanobacteria. In this process, oxygen becomes liberated from water molecules and CO2 incorporated into organic molecules as sugars. Photosynthesis is the origin of the fossil energy and organic matter available on earth today. It also plays a key role in maintaining constant oxygen levels in the atmosphere and in reducing CO2 levels, thereby minimizing the greenhouse effect.

Screenshot 2016-07-04 10.06.03In plant cells, CO2 fixation involves several enzymes in the Calvin-Benson cycle. The efficiency of CO2 fixation notably conditions agronomical yields. Studies of two of these enzymes, fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase (FBPase) and sedoheptulose-bisphosphatase (SBPase), began more than forty years ago. By performing biochemical and genetic analyses in the moss Physcomitrella patens, the researchers have gained access to the molecular structures and catalytic and regulatory properties of these enzymes allowing them to trace back the evolution of the photosynthetic systems.

Surprisingly, the two moss enzymes are rather similar in structure and catalysis but they differ in their regulatory properties and phylogenetic origins. They were found to likely derive from two different biological domains. Indeed, one of the sequences is predicted to derive from alpha proteobacteria while the other one is closer to Archaea. These results support unexpected  hypotheses  concerning the origin of photosynthetic organisms which seem to consist of a patchwork of genes inherited from more primitive non-photosynthetic organisms which later adapted to constraints linked to the functioning of oxygenic photosynthesis. This work represents an important step toward understanding the functioning and regulation of photosynthesis and to gaining further control on plant yield.

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The results presented in this study were obtained principally from a collaboration between the Unité mixte de recherche Inra-Université de Lorraine « Interactions Arbres-Microorganismes » (IAM) and the laboratories of Plant Biotechnology in the Biology Faculty, and Biochemistry in the Chemistry and Pharmacy Faculty of Freiburg University. Additional cooperation involved laboratories at the Institut de Biologie Physico-chimique (IBPC) in Paris and the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology at the University of California, Berkeley.

This article corresponds largely to the doctoral work of Désirée Gütle in a co-tutelle between Nancy and Freiburg with help on the French side through a doctoral grant from MENRT and from LabEx ARBRE, and on the German side through funding from Excellence Initiative of the Bundes Republik Deutschland including the structures SGCBM, BIOSS, FRIAS from Freiburg. The Université franco-allemande contributed funding to both sides.