Organizing our research
The executive board of ARBRE welcomed the idea of establishing working groups focused around four thematic areas (work packages) within LabEx with the following objectives:
- To facilitate knowledge transfer between different research units by evaluating ongoing research by each thematic area (within research units involved with ARBRE), ultimately to make available current research results and developing methodology.
- To identify the needs and expectations of each proposal to then implement a proactive plan of action for each thematic area (for launching future multi-disciplinary projects, for sharing techniques and work sites, etc.). ARBRE will provide support funding for collaborative projects that promote the LabEx mission.
The group leaders for each thematic area or work project (WP1 : Francis Martin, WP2 : Laurent Saint-André, WP3 : Philippe Gérardin et WP4 : Anne Stenger) have been appointed initially for a period of 4 years; each development team will be permitted to evolve as needed. The role of these thematic area coordinators is to implement operational innovative strategies, to promote research exchange and to organize scientific and technical seminars. Several seminar exchanges will be planned each year per thematic area.
The development of each work package will be monitored with the help of LabEx (accompanied by the project manager and as needed, by the management committee).
WP1: Tree-Microbe Interfaces
Long-term Objectives. WP1 will integrate genomics know-how and toolkits to identify major gene networks controlling soil-microbe-tree interactions as well as tree development and functioning. This will include (i) comparative genomics of model trees (poplars) and forest soil micro-organisms, (ii) population and landscape genomics to identify genes involved in environmental adaptation, (iii) knowledge of the spatial and temporal expression of gene networks, and (iv) a better understanding of the mechanisms determining resilience of trees to abiotic and biotic stresses thanks to their associated microbes and to an improved understanding of their redox detoxication systems and responses to drought stress. The proposed project will determine which circuits affect the ability of trees and interacting microbes to adapt to an ever-changing, frequently challenging environment.
WP2: Forest Ecosystem functioning and dysfunction in a changing environment
Long-term Objectives. Forest research is assailed by requests from stakeholders working on public policies or on forest management to come up with methods to produce more wood while preserving ecological potential and biodiversity of forest ecosystems. To cope with these seemingly contradictory requests, ARBRE, will concentrate its skills and competencies to understand: (i) the processess involved in ecosystem responses to a changing environment; (ii) the variability of these processes considering internal (soil properties, composition of microbial communities) and external factors (climate, water stress, forest management); (iii) the role of species diversity and its spatial variability in the resilience of forest ecosystems; and (iv) the conditions for up-scaling these processes from molecule to ecosystem, landscape and country.
WP3: Increasing the competitiveness of the wood sector
Long-Term Objectives: The WP3 will aim for: (i) better understanding of microbial wood decay machinery, (ii) improved control of the natural resistance of wood to microorganisms, as a key property for durability without chemical preservatives, (iii) new tailored innovative green products from the wood biomass and (iv) decision support tools for analyzing environmental and economic impacts of changes in forest-wood production chains. The added value of ARBRE will be to stimulate interdisciplinary research between wood scientists, biologists and economists, in order to promote interactions between wood and forest scientists, engineers and stakeholders, and enhance the competitiveness of the French forest sector, taking into account the diversity of forest production systems and hardwood species.
WP4: Economic valuation of forest ecosystem services
Long Term Objectives: WP4 will aim to design original economic methods to enhance the role of biodiversity as an environmental service, relying on robust biotechnical indicators developed at various spatial scales. The originality of WP 4 is based on a dialogue between economics and ecology. This work project will focus first on biodiversity as this service represents more global concerns in terms of both public policy and social demand. The methods developed in this WP 4 could be extended and adapted to other services such as carbon storage (in connection with WP 2, task 2), with the view of addressing more global issues related to forest multifunctionality.