Climate change has observable consequences on ecosystems. In particular, many scientific studies have shown its effects on forests : changes in forest productivity, changes in species distribution over space, mortality events and pathogen attacks, among others. Climate models predict an increase in temperature of +2°C to +6°C by 2100, depending of the considered scenarios (IPCC 2014). In addition to temperature increase, climate change is likely to cause changes in precipitation regimes and to increase the frequency of extreme events such as drought events and storms. Due to the longevity of tree species, forest managers have to anticipate the consequences of these changes : what species should be planted today to face future climatic conditions ? Which forest practices should be promoted to increase forest resilience to such hazards ?

In order to answer these questions, the European Forest Institute (EFI Atlantic) has coordinated the setup of the REINFFORCE infrastructure (REsource INFrastructure for monitoring, adapting and protecting European Atlantic FORests under Changing climatE). It consists of two complementary networks of forest trial sites aiming at a better definition of adaptative management practices. The first network encompasses demonstration sites where alternative forest management options are tested in trials especially designed. The second network consists of 38 arboreta distributed over the Atlantic coast, from the South of Portugal to the North of Scotland, where the same tree species (35) and provenances have been installed under various climatic conditions, according to a common scheme. It aims at a better understanding of tree species capacity to adapt to future climates, by planting the same genetic material under 38 different climates. The study presented here will be based on this arboreta network.

Aim of the study

The aim of this internship is to carry out a first analysis of the health data monitored on the REINFFORCE arboreta (mortality, defoliation, discoloration, presence of pathogens and diseases) over the Basque Country (Spain) and the south-west of France (Grande Aquitaine), in order to assess the susceptibility of the different species and provenances to biotic and abiotic agents in different climatic conditions. The results should help formulate recommendations concerning the species/provenances that should be favored by forest managers in order to limit health damage in the forests of the Atlantic coast.

Health data have already been collected for 3 of the 5 Basque arboreta in 2015, and for one of them in 2014. No health data is available for the 7 French Arboreta. The candidate will contribute to health data collection over the 7 French and the 5 Basque arboreta (in collaboration with Neiker Tecnalia). He/She will then analyze the frequency and nature (biotic or abiotic agents) of health damages for the different species and provenances considered and relate them to the climatic (meteorological data available for each arboretum) and soil (soil analyzes available for each arboretum) conditions encountered at each site.

Detail of the candidate’s work

• Bibliographic study on the ecology of the different species present on the arboreta and their sensibility to different biotic and biotic agents.
• Familiarization with the REINFFORCE protocol of health monitoring
• Preliminary data analysis : First analysis of the health data available for the Basque arboreta in order to identify possible difficulties.
• Field work : health monitoring of the 5 Basque arboreta in collaboration with Neiker Tecnalia (2-3 weeks) and the 7 French arboreta (3 weeks) in collaboration with INRA.
• Data analysis : multivariate statistics relating the frequency and nature of health damage to the species/provenances considered and to the climatic and soil conditions
• Redaction of a report and presentation of the results to the different members of the REINFFORCE network.

Skills needed

• Knowledge in forest science and ecology, forest pathology
• Rigor and motivation for field work
• Skills in statistical analyses and experience with the R software
• Ability to communicate in English and/or in Spanish

Practical aspects

Supervision : Marie Charru, Associate professor in Bordeaux Science Agro and researcher at INRA (ISPA unit)

Partners :
• EFI Atlantic
• Neiker Tecnalia
• Valladolid university

Salary : about 550 euros/month

Localization : INRA, Pierroton site, near Bordeaux + Field work in France and Basque Country

For any information, please contact Marie Charru by e-mail ([email protected]) or phone (+33 5 57 35 86 23).

For application, please send a CV and motivation letter by e-mail to Marie Charru ([email protected])

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Pout toute autre question, vous pouvez contacter [email protected].