Ongoing projects

Main ongoing projects

Main ongoing projects conducted by the Research Unit

Automatic biodiversity sensors in forests
August 2021 – July 2023

This project explores new ways to acquire biodiversity data faster and cheaper than conventional morphological laboratory determination, automating field surveys (by sensors) and species identification (by artificial intelligence or metabarcoding techniques), in a triple perspective of biovigilance, biodiversity monitoring and the study of spatial and temporal biodiversity patterns. This exploratory approach involves two important and relatively unknown forest taxonomic groups (insects and bryophytes) and can be adapted to other groups. The project will develop prototypes of automatic, selective (Agrilus xylophages, flowering insects) or generic (flying insects) sensor devices, and test their operation in the forest. It will create photographic bases (insects of the genus Agrilus, spores of forest bryophytes), and develop neural networks to determine the species sampled by entomological sensors and by airborne spore sensors (cyclone sampler). A metabarcoding feasibility test will be conducted on bryophyte spore samples, and the results compared with the visual recognition method by deep learning.

Partners: INRAE – EFNO ; INRAE-TSCF ; USC LBLGC, USC Ecodiv-Rouen
Funding: Méta-Programme INRAE - Biosefair

Insect biodiversity of dying oak canopies
13/07/2018 – 12/07/2021

The canopy is a particular environment of forest ecosystems, presenting original microclimates and microhabitats and therefore housing an atypical community of insects, with potentially many heritage species. However, it is a rather unknown environment because it is difficult to access and therefore largely under-sampled. With global changes, forest dieback tends to be more frequent and this induces gradual and profound changes in canopies. A certain level of decline, by modifying the microclimates and microenvironments of the canopy, could thus promote or alter forest biodiversity. The CANOPEE project aims to lift a technical lock by using innovative methods, and an original consortium of academic laboratories, natural history museums, naturalist associations, and the NFB to study canopies. The overall objective is to explore the links between the health status of pedunculated oaks and the insect biodiversity associated with this particular environment. The project will focus on the diversity of insects present in the more or less dying oak canopies of the Centre-Val de Loire region, in terms of communities and populations, and using traditional and innovative identification tools, like environmental DNA. The project will also examine the effects of dieback on two factors likely to modulate this biodiversity: canopy microclimates and predation by insectivorous birds.

Partners: Orléans University (LBLGC) ; INRAE – EFNO
Funding: Centre Val de Loire Region (APR-IR 2018)

17/12/2021 - 01/12/2022

In the Entomoc@pt project, we are developing an automatic and connected sensor prototype, based on the instrumentation of a classic green Lindgren trap, dedicated to the selective sampling of buprestes of the genus Agrilus. The project involves mechanical development engineering and mechatronic calibration of the sensor, carried out in collaboration with Cap2020 by adapting their CapTrap and CapTrap Vision technologies for agronomic traps to a non-destructive Lindgren trap. The acquisition of insect images captured in LINDGREN traps will be based on the following modules: optical sensor (camera position, detection of passage, triggering of image acquisition), lighting, communication (modem and GSM/low speed network teletransmission), backup (recording images on a digital memory card), energy saving (rechargeable battery). The camera chamber, with an entrance tunnel and an open or closed exit tunnel, and triggering when passing through the entrance tube, will be suitable for the collector. After detection and imaging, the insects captured will be released by continuous release or regular mechanical release. The objective is to have at the end of 2022 a working prototype allowing to envisage the instrumentation of a large network of Lindgren traps.

Partners: INRAE TSCF
Provider: Cap2020
Funding: Centre-Val de Loire Region, CPER Valopat

Generating Advances in Modeling Biodiversity And ecosystem Services (GAMBAS) : statistical improvements and ecological relevance of joint species distribution models
01/05/2019 – 31/01/2024

Global changes seem to drastically modify the dynamics and structure of biodiversity and ecosystem services. The international community (e.g. IPBES) has called for the better biodiversity models to improve the conservation of ecosystems and their services. Recently, a new generation of joint species distribution models has been proposed. These models can provide a better understanding and more accurate predictions of species distributions based on environmental variables while taking into account the effects of all other co-occurring species. However, as promising as these models are in predictive ecology, the extensive use of JSDMs is still hampered by several limitations. GAMBAS aims to overcome these limitations both on the ecological and statistical fronts. This will be accomplished with input from stakeholders and policy makers to ensure that the results from the theoretical research can realistically be implemented.  GAMBAS gathers a collective comprised of quantitative ecologists and mathematicians with aspirations in ecology. Together with representatives of the French government and civil societies, they have set the goal of expanding JSDMs and to promote their use in community ecology, biogeography, and conservation ecology.

Partners: CIRAD, Montpellier (Forêts et Sociétés); ECA - CNRS - University Grenoble Alpes - University Savoie Mont Blanc ; INRAE – EFNO ; MNHN, Paris (CESCO) ; Montpellier University ; Paris Sud University
Funding: ANR

Forest management in times of crisis, innovation for action: log operation in Chantilly forest
03/01/2022 - 01/12/2023

The project focuses on the communities of ambrosia beetles and their associated fungi involved in the depreciation of logs from declining oaks. It has several objectives: (i) to identify the entomological and fungal communities colonising dying trees and (ii) to determine the biochemical impacts of this colonisation on the wood - depending on the insect and fungal species colonising the trees.
Logs with bites/seepage or a priori healthy trees will be felled and placed in emergence traps in situ until 2023 and insects emerging from the logs will be collected, as well as the insect communities attracted to the logs through interception traps. Core cores will be taken at different heights, at asymptomatic areas, pitted areas and seeps. From these cores, the molecular compositions of specialised non-volatile metabolites will be analysed in the different zones, carbon reserves (starch) will be measured, and fungal communities sampled by metabarcoding.

Partners: INRAE BIOGECO et URZF ; LBLGC et ICOA (Orléans University)
Funding: Hauts-de-France Region

Integrating the role of soil biodiversity in forestry practices
15/04/2020 – 24/02/2023

In a context of encouraging increased mobilisation of forest biomass and intensification of silvicultural practices, the Insylbios project aims to "better understand and integrate into silvicultural practices the role of soil biodiversity in the functioning of forests in the Massif Central". It has a dual objective:
- To increase knowledge of the biological functioning of soils and the links with forest vegetation, using unmanaged old-growth forests as a reference for subnatural forest functioning.
- To improve managers' consideration of soil sensitivity, particularly biological sensitivity, in order to move towards more sustainable forest management

Partners: CNPF – Direction régionale Occitanie ; INRAE – EFNO
Providers: CNRS-CEFE Montpellier ; Rouen University, laboratory ECODIV ; CBN  Massif Central ; Elisol Environnement
Funding: FEDER – Ademe – Occitanie Region – National Agency for Territorial Cohesion

european union flag
Logo GIP Massif Central


The Insylbios project is co-financed by the European Union. Europe is committed to the Massif Central with the European Regional Development Fund.


Use of artificial intelligence techniques for the classification and automatic identification of insects from photographs
October 2020 – December 2021

Two INRAE units (TSCF and ERFNO) are deepening their collaboration on the theme of "Artificial intelligence for photographic classification", for the automatic acquisition of forest insect images and their automatic classification by neural networks in the I@nsect project. The project aims to implement the automatic method of digital discrimination of species photographs, by constituting (i) a reference photo library that is as complete as possible covering all of the variability of the species studied in the target group of regional Agrilus beetles, and (ii) a customized neural network, developed with tools such as Pytorch or Tensorflow, chosen from the family of CNN (Convolution Neural Network) networks and dedicated to distinguishing between neighbouring species, by means of classification tests.

Funding: Pari scientifique du département INRAE Ecodiv

Identification of silvicultural itineraries reconciling biomass production, soil biodiversity conservation and carbon sequestration in the soil
2019 - 2021

The ISY-BIOC project proposes to quantify the effect of two important factors present in new productive silvicultural itineraries in French lowland forests: the density of the forest stand; the mixture of forest species on :
(1) the abundance and diversity of soil organisms (complete soil food web: macrofauna, mesofauna, microfauna and microflora);
(2) organic carbon sequestration in soils (balance of soil carbon inputs and outputs, and characterisation of soil organic carbon stocks and their biogeochemical stability).
The project is based on an experimental OPTMix (Oak Pine Tree Mixture) in the Orléans forest.

Partners: Laboratory ESE Paris-Sud Orsay, laboratory Ecodiv Rouen University ; Project led by INRAE, UR EFNO
Funding: MTES

Proposal to Improve the Forest Biodiversity Monitoring System
01/09/2019 – 30/05/2022

The purpose of this project is to propose different options for a forest biodiversity monitoring system for metropolitan France. This observatory will be composed of different assemblies of elements already existing or to be created, designed in relation to different monitoring objectives. The objective is to ensure continuous monitoring of biodiversity in forests for public policy purposes, based on the problems specific to this environment and linked to the monitoring of biodiversity in other environments.
Current forest biodiversity indicators are mainly indirect indicators, targeting species habitats and mainly using dendrometric data; it is important to acquire information that will make it possible to (i) better identify the status and dynamics of forest biodiversity directly and (ii) better assess the link between public policies in forests, management practices and biodiversity.
One important choice concerns the data mobilised - existing or to be added - and the way in which they are analysed. This involves thinking about the taxonomic groups whose biodiversity is monitored, the ecological and management variables, the sampling plans and the analysis methods.

Partners: INRAE-Biogeco ; INRAE – EFNO ; MNHN, Paris (CESCO et UMS Patrinat) ; GIP-Ecofor
Funding: MTES

Maximising the services of forest (re)plantations in the context of climate change
11/09/2020 - 10/09/2023

In the context of climate change, forest plantations appear to be a means of mitigation (through carbon sequestration and storage) and/or avoidance of CO2 emissions through the production of local bio-sourced materials replacing other more energy-intensive materials (concrete, etc.). They are also a means of adapting more quickly than locally present species, but the species planted will themselves have to adapt (water deficit, increased risks: parasites, fires, etc.). Their presence and their future face brakes and obstacles that Plantaclim aims to identify and overcome, by looking at forest plantations in the Centre-Val de Loire Region, using the example of pine and poplar plantations. The aim is first to draw up an inventory of these (re)plantations and the services they provide, and then to study their environmental (soils, biodiversity, pests), economic (regional supply and demand for wood) and socio-cultural (leisure activities, the way in which plantations are perceived) characteristics. Scenarios for adaptation to climate and socio-economic changes will be proposed.

In this project, the BIODIV team is studying the plant diversity (vascular plants, bryophytes and lichens) associated with the two species studied (poplar and maritime pine) as a function of stand age, in comparison with the diversity associated with native hardwoods (mainly pedunculate oak) in the same environments. The objective is to understand the effect of ageing and the risk of loss of diversity if these plantations were to replace native species, and to evaluate the interest of leaving islands of old trees and mixed hardwoods in these plantations.

Scientific partners: UMR CITERES - team DATE ; INRAE – EFNO ; EA 1207 LBLGC (Laboratory for the Biology of Woody Plants and Field Crops, Orléans) ; UMR 7327 ISTO (Institute of Earth Sciences, Orléans) ; MSH Val de Loire
Socio-economic partners: Arbocentre ; ONF ; CRPF ; Duramen ; Peupliers du Centre-Val de Loire ; Association of Forestry Contractors Centre Val de Loire ; SEPANT ; PNR Loire Anjou Touraine ; A2RC ; Centre Sciences
Funding: Centre-Val de Loire Region (2021-2024)

Guarantee the renewal of the forest resource by ensuring the forest-game balance
2016 - 2021

ReForest is a research and development project whose objective is to produce methodologies and tools to improve the management of the forest-game balance in the Centre-Val de Loire region.

Partners: INRAE, Géo-Hyd, ONF, CRPF-IFCVL, FRCCVL, Fibois, OFB, DRAAF CVL, DDT 18, DDT 28, DDT 36, DDT 37, DDT 41
Funding: Regional Council, Centre-Val de Loire

Precision and connected silviculture
March 2021 - June 2024

The Ambition Research Development Centre-Val de Loire (ARD CVL) SyCoMore project (Precision and connected forestry) coordinated by the INRAE Val de Loire centre is fully in line with the objectives of the PRFB (regional forest and wood programme) 2019-2029 and brings together all regional partners studying trees, forest and insect pests, both in the academic (CNRS, INRAE, INSA Centre Val de Loire, University of Orléans, University of Tours) and socio-economic (Fibois, CNPF-IDF, ONF, UNISYLVA, Dream, VEGEPOLYS VALLEY, AgreenTechValley, CybeleTech) fields The Studium and Centre Sciences are also partners in this project.

Its strategic objectives are as follows
- To structure an academic forestry cluster of national and international scope around the notion of sustainability of forestry production in the context of climate change,
- Strengthen synergies between academic and non-academic actors in the region around this same objective and regional economic development,
- To consolidate education and training in the region on the forestry-wood sector and more widely on agrobiosciences.

Its operational objectives are to :
- Develop technologies (smartphone applications for professionals and the public) and set up participatory monitoring to characterise and monitor the state and dynamics of forest ecosystems,
- Monitor, manage and prevent the decline of the main tree species in the Centre-Val de Loire region and contribute to their marketing,
- Develop methods and tools to assist decision-making and know-how for precision and connected silviculture, which is multi-performing (economically, ecologically and socially) at regional, national and European levels.

During the three years of the programme (mid-2021 to mid-2024), research will focus on oaks and pines, the main species of economic interest.

The SYCOMORE programme is made up of 5 actions (Governance; Socio-economic development; Partnership dynamics; Scientific and technical culture; Training) and 3 research projects on the decline and renewal of the region's forests to make them more resilient to climate change.

RECONFORT Project - Preventing and managing forest dieback
- Detecting and mapping forest dieback
- Modelling tree growth and dieback processes

RENOUV Project - Renewing the region's forests to make them more resilient to climate change
- Proposing and evaluating innovative renewal techniques
- Create innovative tools for diagnosing and monitoring renewal

GENFORFUTUR sheet - What forest genetic resources for the future and their resilience to climate change?
- Characterise the genetic resources of the Centre-Val de Loire region
- Study the social representations and perceptions on the issue of new provenances, varieties and species

Partners: CNRS, INRAE, INSA Centre Val de Loire, Orléans University, Tours University, Fibois, CNPF-IDF, ONF, UNISYLVA, Dream, VEGEPOLYS VALLEY, AgreenTechValley, CybeleTech, Le Studium, Centre Sciences
Funding: Centre-Val de Loire Region (ARD)

Testing and appropriation by operational actors of new technical and economic models for a sustainable harvest of forest biomass
2019 - 2021

The objective of the TAMOBIOM project is to rapidly make it possible for professional harvesters to implement recommendations for the long-term preservation of forest soils and their fertility in particular. This translates into 3 sub-objectives: 1. to formalise economically viable harvesting practices that are compatible with the sustainable management of soil fertility, based on the recommendations of the Gerboise project; 2. to identify the obstacles and levers to the implementation of the recommendations; and 3. to develop a strategy for the implementation of the recommendations. Identify the obstacles and levers to the implementation of these practices among the actors in the decision-making chain from forest management to harvesting, taking into account current harvesting practices and the understanding of the recommendations by the actors in the field; 3. In the end, set up an influence strategy and tools to support change among all of these same actors.

Partners: FCBA, INRAE, ONF, GCF, COPACEL et GIP-ECOFOR ; Project supported by FCBA
Funding: ADEME

Modification date : 24 January 2024 | Publication date : 30 June 2021 | Redactor : SL