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24, chemin de Borde Rouge –Auzeville – CS52627
31326 Castanet Tolosan CEDEX - France

Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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GEN4X network (Forest Genetics Network for Research and Experimentation)

Network and its devices names
GEN4X network (Forest Genetics Network for Research and Experimentation)
Coordination : INRAE, Avignon
The entire France metropolitan

Localisation des plantations comparatives par espèce

Location of comparative plantations (by species) composing part of the infrastructure. Their management is carried out by 3 INRAE experimental units: GBFOR [North-Central-East], UEFP [Atlantic coast], UEFM [Mediterranean area].  Note that not all the maritime pine and poplar systems are shown on the map.

Network description

The network is made up of all types of devices known as "common gardens", which make it possible to compare species or several genetic units of the same species (geographical origins, families, clones) under varied but controlled environmental conditions. The initial objectives of these tests were the study of the natural diversity of different forest species and the creation of improved reforestation materials. In 2009, part of these devices (comparative plantations) had been recognised by the department in charge of forest ecosystems at INRAE as a network called "PlantaComp". In 2018, the INRAE genetic network becomes the GEN4X network (forest genetics network for research and experimentation) and includes all devices from the arboretum to the clonal test and improvement population.

The network is host to an exceptional inter- and intra-specific heritage. Since the first plantations were set up in the 1960s, nearly a thousand tests have been installed on more than 2,000 ha, representing about 2.5 million trees planted. Plant material from several dozen species has been tested, of which about fifteen are currently being closely monitored (oak, poplar, cherry, beech and ash for deciduous trees and maritime pine, Douglas, larch, Scots pine, fir, Mediterranean pine, cypress and cedar for conifers).

The main scientific issues addressed by the network are related to the mitigation and adaptation of forests to climate change, the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and protection against health risks.

Services offer

The network offers services for experimentation, observation, conservation of biological resources and data production and management. Examples include: measurements of height, radial growth; observations of survival, phenology, fruiting, pest and disease resistance; leaf and seed harvests; technical files of metadata and data.


The network's experiments have been set up throughout mainland France and are managed by the various experimental units ( UE ) of INRAE's ECODIV department (see map), in close collaboration with the researchers (one reference researcher per species or group of species).

Work description and access modalities

The sites of this network are open to INRAE researchers and other French and international research organizations, within the framework of research projects, to answer research or development questions, within the framework of formalized collaborations (collaborative project or research agreement). The sites are also open to teachers and trainers, for all levels of training. Other access needs are to be discussed on a case-by-case basis.

Access unit and cost

Marginal costs for INRAE ECODIV research units and their partners in research projects.


Detailed technical records of existing genetic units and sites and of the observations and measurements made. The data are maintained and partially integrated in local information systems specific to ECODIV and a national information system "GnpIS" ( Some sites are equipped with dismountable weather stations.

Data set

Michotey, Celia; Vauthier, Denis; Fady, Bruno, 2021, "Phenotypic trait dataset of Pinus pinea measured in the common gardens of the Forest Genetics Network for Research and Experimentation (GEN4X)",, Portail Data INRAE, V1

Ducatillion, Catherine; Lamant, Thierry; Bellanger, Richard; Bouttier, Valentin; Bastien, Jean-Charles; Michotey, Celia; Gautier, Laurent; Fady, Bruno; Musch, Brigitte, 2021, "Survival and growth of 711 forest tree taxa in eight French arboretums from three different climate regions",, Portail Data INRAE, V1